Blind teenager 'left wandering unfamiliar tube station' after TfL staff refuse to guide him

30 September 2020, 15:04

Kelsey told LBC it was a "stressful and unnerving" experience
Kelsey told LBC it was a "stressful and unnerving" experience. Picture: Twitter

By Maddie Goodfellow

A blind teenager was forced to feel his way around an unfamiliar tube station and FaceTime a family member to guide him after TfL staff refused to help him to his train.

18-year-old Kelsey Trevett was forced to feel his way around Harrow on the Hill station in west London after TfL staff refused to help him to his next train due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Kelsey explained that he had to ended up having to video call his dad who then guided him around the station and onto his connecting train to Oxford.

He told LBC: "TfL say that they are offering assistance from a social distance.

"With this in mind, I requested at the start of my journey, at Northwood Underground station, for the staff member to phone ahead to Harrow on the Hill, to request that someone met me off my train at a safe social distance, to verbally guide me to the platform of my next train. "

Kelsey said he was left to '"wander" Harrow on the Hill station
Kelsey said he was left to '"wander" Harrow on the Hill station. Picture: Google

Kelsey explained that TfL refused to provide said assistance, and told him to get a taxi from Northwood to Harrow, which they would pay for.

However, Kelsey said: "Waiting for, and then taking, a taxi through London during morning peak takes significantly more time, which I had not factored into my journey, so this was not possible."

He said the same problem occurred arrived at Harrow on the Hill.

"After I decided to get the tube, I asked the staff at Northwood to let Harrow on the Hill staff know I would need assistance when I arrive.

"But no one met me at Harrow, so I was forced to rely on other passengers, which is difficult at this time, as well as FaceTiming a family member, to navigate the station.

"This station was completely unfamiliar to me, and I have absolutely no sight, so this was an extremely stressful and unnerving experience.

"Additionally, I had no one to assist me boarding my next train, which meant no one phoned ahead to my destination station, Marylebone, so I was also left without assistance there.

"I'm heading back through London shortly — and I'm dreading it to be honest."

TfL has since apologised to Kelsey for what happened.

Brian Woodhead, London Underground’s director of customer service, apologised directly and said "clearly something went wrong here,"

He said: "We are very sorry Mr Trevett was not offered the assistance he required and are looking into what happened in this case.

"Clearly something went wrong here as Mr Trevett should have been verbally guided around the station as requested.

"We will be contacting Mr Trevett to apologise to him directly and will make sure assistance is offered to any of our customers that need it."

However, Kelsey told LBC that after he emailed TfL to let them know what had happened, they told him he will have to "leave more time" in case he has to get a taxi.

He explained: "A TfL staff member said they have spoken to the area manager, but advised me next time to leave more time for my journey in case a taxi is necessary, or in case staff members are busy and I need to wait for assistance.

"But I have already explained to them that this is not a solution, I would have still have needed help getting to the platform."