tflhandsfi 800x425 - Victim of TfL's disability discrimination

Victoria tube station opened its new accessible lifts recently. Today I went to investigate. There are a few problems with the claims Victoria tube station is the tube’s 75th accessible station. I wanted to relate how this claim is problematic and discuss errors with the new accessible lifts. However I very soon learnt Victoria tube station is perhaps the best of all the tube stations in London for discriminating against people like me.

I have a eleven minute video recording and its the first ever such I have taken. I switched the camera straight into video record mode as soon as I realised a problem was occurring. There have been so many incidents with TfL staff, however the problem is, I don’t know how to record such situations because I need my hands for communicating for writing, indicating etc.

At the behest of possibly losing a few followers, it concerns me that I have to publish another post about discrimination so soon after the Selfridges one, but a lot do not realise the issues and discrimination many of us face, and that is why I decided to write this post, especially as its also the first time I’ve decided to record a video too. I am sorry this one is a bit more disjointed but then I am quite at a loss as to how to explain it all really.

Quite a few discriminating staff in TfL have thus got away with it and organisations and news journalists don’t believe me in the slightest because I don’t have videos. But there’s the catch 22. How do people like me record video when our hands are very important? We haven’t got speech so we haven’t go this clever Geoff Tech or other blogger style (Casey Neistat or a few others as another examples) where people can say all sorts of information and walk about with video camera pointing at themselves (and earn a few grand too!) When it comes to situations like the one I am about to describe we simply have not got the means to challenge staff (who ever they are, whether it be TfL or main line staff, bus staff, shop staff, anywhere else staff) and get them to understand what they are doing wrong. Its all one way traffic. We are the problem.

In fact I have been discriminated against at Victoria tube station a number of times, today is the I think the fifth in less than three months, far more than that in an entire year, and now twice in relation to preparing blog posts on the new accessible lifts. And its the second time at Victoria tube station TfL has invited the BTP along for the ride too. You see, when your TfL staff find we have a particular disability you just don’t want to know, but you want to treat us in some bizarre way that is most unacceptable and one that flies right in the face of your stupid disability equality claims.

Certainly since I began this blog I have come to find out what a very discriminating organisation, you TfL are. Its shocking. Gants Hill (where your staff tried to ban me from communicating in sign language because TfL prefers people who can communicate properly with nicely spoken voices), Great Portland Street, Hounslow West, Heathrow, Bank, Vauxhall, Warren Street, Paddington, many other locations and the latest at London Bridge just last week. Victoria tube station countless times of course.

TfL – you and and your staff are too damn lazy to want to bother with the effort or even understand what might be going wrong. And its not right that huge number of your staff are paid custodians of the public is it? Its either attack us even more, make us feel totally uncomfortable or we simply walk away because its better than even remotely trying to reason with them, and explain how their bias is simply awful. In other words we stay in our comfort zone and do not challenge anyone, dont complain, do not even stand up for ourselves, just let it all wash over until the next incident which comes pretty soon enough sometimes the same day, sometimes the next and so on.

tfllift - Victim of TfL's disability discrimination
Aw isnt that nice! Anyone can use the lifts – except me! Guy goes into the lifts as TfL calls the BTP (Clip from the video I took.)

Yes TfL staff you called the police because I switched on my video camera and refused to back down. But you didn’t want to know or wanted to bother to listen, lip read, try to understand what I was trying to explain. I am sorry TfL, next time your do it, whether it be tomorrow, next week, at any tube station anywhere on the network there will be a camera recording away – I am adamant that the record button should be switched on immediately a situation occurs. Even if you TfL staff don’t like it I am not turning the camera off. You need to end that awful attitude.

You brought the BTP in too, a police force who were in that particular element clearly and absolutely in breach of the law themselves as TfL were. So you think I am going to be scared and back down because you called the police? Well I would have been (probably like so many others similar to me) right up until now, but ironically just a few moments before I had reminded myself to be on guard for TfL staff who somehow didn’t like the look of me and perhaps might have had a tendency bound to give huge heapings of misunderstandings and biased judgements upon me – especially as Victoria has been a major discrimination hotspot. I had in those few moments before also practiced turning the camera’s video mode on and off.

I have always had doubts because when I watch videos like this on You Tube, there is invariably a two way traffic of conversation, but how would that work with me? In those sort of videos both sides views can be seen and people can often see what might have gone wrong. However in my situation I would have to write things down and explain stuff, or gesture, and how would I do that when I have a camera in one hand recording? Just a few moments later I immediately sprang into action as soon as I sensed one of these ‘famous’ uncomfortable situations I have so regularly encountered was beginning. I didnt know what to do so I just stood there recording. Just because you type of people are so superior in your ablest aspirations that you can say practically anything you like and the police will believe you. You at TfL can get away with shit because your disability ratings will still look good. Well I am sorry, its about time this kind of crap needs to end.

btpvictoria - Victim of TfL's disability discrimination
Isnt that nice! Three BTP officers and four TfL staff present just becos I decided to stand up for myself… (clip from video)

You at TfL claim you are fully conversant in disability needs, you have training sessions, you have disability guides, managers who listen to disabled people and ensure all their needs are met. You have loads of publicity on this, you have disability panels too. You bang on about all this stuff. You bang on about the work you are doing with disabled people but it is quite tiresome because people like me, in despite of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and the Equality Act 2010, invariably get short shrift. And for years and years it seems there has been nothing we can do because having your communication abilities are is so superior that whatever we do, say, however we act, it is going to be wrong, and you can do all these fantastic things, call other staff, call the police etc, and sort the abomination (meaning me or others) that exists in front of yourselves. I cant do the same as you. None of us can. So you have the upper hand, in fact you have a massive upper hand. And that is an awful kind of hate, an awful kind of discrimination that has for years been condoned, applauded and the rest of it and practised by TfL and a large part of society too.

But with this particular kind of disability you do not care. You do not care that you are in breach of the law because the superiority of your abilities means you can surpass and subvert people like me and therefore the law ultimately does not matter, because the law is in huge favour of people like you and not people like me. So the law, the police regularly condone the discrimination of people like me, well, because we don’t fit in, and the police like to discriminate against us too. Fantastic isnt it!

Now a question many might wonder, is why have I not published the video. Well, its boring, its just me videoing the staff and then them calling the police and the BTP entering the fray and me just desperately trying to explain so uselessly what was wrong. Obviously I had done no wrong. In fact BTP understood that like the officers themselves, TfL too needs to up its game and improve its understandings when it comes to people like me. Plus I checked with someone this evening and it turns out the video has no sound, so that’s very good isn’t it? A numbskull like me with no clue how to record sound 🙁

btplift - Victim of TfL's disability discrimination
Isnt that nice! As BTP question me loads of abled people are seen using the accessible lifts. It seems TfL has an accessibility policy that’s biased…

Now why did I film you TfL? Well it was because you let others use the new accessible lifts, they were every conceivable range of person from the elderly to the businessperson, but you would not let me use the new lifts (my video shows other people using the lifts too.) And when I tried to explain I was disabled and had a right to use lifts for the disabled you at TfL still refused. Yes there was a crowd problem and you were telling people to go a different way but the fact is the lifts were in use and you let others use them. That is why I walked straight towards the lifts, it was clear to me there was no issue because others were using them. And I got stopped by you, TfL.

When I tried so very hard to explain about myself and how I had seen other people allowed to to use the lifts you TfL rudely dismissed me out of hand. And at that point I thought right I am filming you. And then you said no I am not allowed to film you or something like that. I thought to myself, well that’s too bad isn’t it? For the first time ever I thought that. Just too bad isn’t it that I am filming you. Just think I actually had the confidence to think that. After all, what had I done wrong? I couldn’t see what wrong doing, if any, I had committed. When the police came I filmed them too. What was I doing wrong there too? Nothing. But what is probably clear was everyone’s bias, or perhaps as some would say total misunderstanding and mishandling of the situation and others trying to see me as a perpetrator of some sort.

I expect Dale Smith, Head of Customer Services (Victoria Line) whom with I have had a brief meeting last month regarding TfL staff on the Victoria Line, London’s number one discrimination tube line, will no doubt be pleased his staff are continuing to make their best efforts to ensure people like me are marginalized and misunderstood.

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UPDATE 31 October 2018.

I did some research and found this quote. I agree totally with it.

“The problem I have with TfL’s missives is the self-congratulatory tone. It makes it seem as if the unequal, second class treatment many disabled people receive from it should somehow be considered good enough.”

That was from a report made by a disabled person who had a distressing experience, and it was reported in The Independent.

I have also tried to change the text in places to give it a bit more clarity and urgency, as I originally wrote it quite raw and published it straightaway, this being about two and half hours after it had occurred . Yes its still a bit messy I apologise, but I am no good at this sort of thing or setting points, facts, categorising different elements etc (as I have been told many times to by others but simply cant understand how to do it.)

This tweet below is so typical. We are controlled by the desires of TfL staff becos we cant communicate effectively. Has happened to me too on buses and even worse than this…. The boot is always on their foot…

Tch! Tch! Has there ever been such a rule that these lifts are only for the disabled – or only for the able bodied instead?

There’s no look in for people like me on public transport as my tweet to Doug says. Its a 99.99% speech culture and the fact anyone can speak makes their world go round so much more better! Not communicating (or failing to reply to TfL orders/questions) means:

  1. Terrorist planning an atrocity
  2. Up to no good
  3. Shifty
  4. Shouldn’t be on the fucking tube!

I have every desire to write about Gants Hill tube station who were the guys in question when this particular incident occurred earlier this year. They obviously thought it would be so much nicer if I spoke to them…. wouldn’t want people waving their hands about would they? FFS!

I’d also like to add that at several tube stations (even when trying to procure a simple inquiry and pointing out my disability) and then as I begin my attempt to communicate TfL’s staff look to the floor, cock their ear and listen intently and then look back at me after perhaps half a minute or more and wonder why I haven’t said anything. It shows TfL have absolutely NO TRAINING/NO AWARENESS at all despite what TfL claims. Its a totally bastardised organisation.

Yes I own the Regent’s Canal did you not know that? CRT have been trying unsuccessfully for years to regain control of it from me. That’s why they at CRT are not nice to me, its yet another universe where I too do battles – as if TfL weren’t simply enough woe for me lol 🙂

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