I have a work meeting on Thursday and Friday of this week in London. This means travel by train. I’m much more able to get around if I have my bike with me, so I wanted to book a bike space to take my bike with me. My mobility impairment mentioned in previous posts makes using the tube and walking very difficult and tiring. While taking my bike with me sounds pretty simple, it has not been.
First, I contacted virgin trains through facebook:
As you can see, I wasn’t terribly happy with their response. I emailed their customer service email address to make the same request and then decided to investigate their special assistance process. It turns out the form for special assistance is pretty long. Despite taking the booking number which has all the details of the trip, you have to manually input all those details too. Plus your home address – which is relevant why? Nevertheless, I duly filled out the form and sent it off. The response?
“Thank you for your assistance request.
Have you reserved bicycle space on your journey as there is no storage on board for a bike?
Not especially helpful, or hopeful. I replied:
“I have attempted to book a place for my bike, however, I have not been able to online. I booked the ticket through work and there was no option to add my bike to the booking. My bike is a mobility aid, and I need to take it with me so that I am able to get from Kings Cross to my meeting at the Oval. I can’t walk far enough to get there on the tube. I understood from your website that there were 3 or 5 spaces for bikes on your trains? Is this not correct? How are other mobility aids stored?”
I’m disappointed by how difficult it is to use public transport with a bike, and even more disappointed that rail companies aren’t supporting disabled passengers to bring mobility aids with them. I hope I manage to bring my bike with me so I don’t have to pay for expensive taxi’s in London and lose my autonomy. Time will tell, watch this space….