[UK Law] Rail Byelaws - question or discussion

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MisterSpock
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13 Jul 2015, 12:36 pm

This is regarding UK laws and byelaws. There isn’t a section on here for that, but I wanted some facts and opinions on the below. Actual knowledge is as welcome as sheer discussion.

Anyway, I saw an individual board a train as the doors were closing. The train driver then refused to board/drive the train until the individual was removed. He asked (loudly) through the doors that the individual leave the train. The individual refused, and went to sit down. The driver then called for the Transport Police, who (politely) removed the individual from the train.

This got me wondering about the legality of it all. There seems to be a common law right to refuse service, which may or may not have been written in to legislation. I should probably say at this point I’m not a lawyer or have any associations with lawyers. If all businesses have the right to refuse service, they cannot do so if it contravenes discrimination laws. Why bring that up? Could it be argued that since the train driver referred to the individual (for numerous witnesses to hear) as “that idiot”, implying that the driver took the individual as having low intelligence, that the driver unlawfully discriminated against the individual?

However, if an individual needs to commit an offence according to the byelaws of carriage in order to be lawfully removed from a train (or denied service), was one committed? The national conditions of carriage are no more specific than “likely to act in a riotous, disorderly or offensive manner”. The specific byelaws state:
No person shall behave in a disorderly, indecent or offensive manner on the railway.
It also states:
In the case of automatic closing doors, no person shall enter or leave by the door when it is closing.
Why didn’t I mention that earlier? The doors are not physically closed by hand, but are motorised and the process is initiated by a human (you know how train doors work). They can be started and stopped at any time. Plus, no one, and I mean no one enforces the byelaw on letting all people leave the train before boarding. Oh, they may shout down the platform to please let people get of first, but no action is taken and no one is removed from the train afterwards.

I’m not sure an offence was committed. However the driver is a representative of the rail company, and if it is believed that an offence was committed, then it is their decision.

The individual was asked to leave, and didn’t, and therefore breached that byelaw. But was that a lawful request in the first place?


Thoughts? Opinions?



0_equals_true
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13 Jul 2015, 12:53 pm

The train is private property. The ticket is a contract. The train driver has right to refuse to take a passenger especially on safety grounds.

It isn't really a "by-law".

There is a mandate to provide public transport as part of their contract, however they are free to set the rules with regard to individual journeys and trains.

The individual is trespassing and committing a public order offense by not moving according to the law.



Grebels
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13 Jul 2015, 12:57 pm

Might they determine the passenge was not a responsible individual in terms of Health and Safety.



0_equals_true
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13 Jul 2015, 1:01 pm

People who rush in when the doors are closing can cause delays. It can also damaged the, and cause injury to the person. You can be fined.

I'm not saying I have never done it (or have been close), but I can see from their perspective.

There is a warning noise, and safety mechanism built in. However it is not full proof. People have go serious injury. A woman was dragged under an Underground train becuase she got off and her coat got stuck in the train. The coat was too thin to trigger the safety release.

There is a boarding time, and departure is soon after. There needs to be these margins to run a successful service.



Last edited by 0_equals_true on 13 Jul 2015, 1:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Marky9
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13 Jul 2015, 1:03 pm

You raise a very good question. While one can always argue in favor of any point, I would think the chances of successfully arguing that the company did anything improper here are quite small.



MisterSpock
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13 Jul 2015, 3:14 pm

0_equals_true wrote:
The train is private property. The ticket is a contract. The train driver has right to refuse to take a passenger especially on safety grounds.

It isn't really a "by-law".

There is a mandate to provide public transport as part of their contract, however they are free to set the rules with regard to individual journeys and trains.

The individual is trespassing and committing a public order offense by not moving according to the law.


On safety grounds, could that one act be taken as an indicator as to the individual of being any current harm (or threat of harm) to themself or others?

If it's a contract, then isn't any breach civil, and therefore no police action is necessary? And I like the idea, by the extension of your trespass comment, that a theif breaking in to your car can be charged with trespass as well as breaking and entering and theft. The actions of the individual were not directly affecting the train, but indirectly, as the driver refused to drive.

I'm assuming that the request for the individual to leave the train did not affect their ability to board other trains on that service. The ticket was still a contract, and would therefore be valid - so the contract still exists, surely? Can you say "you can travel on any train, except I've just now decided not this one"? It's probably in the terms and conditions, and I personally am finding it quite hard to locate the actual 'conditions of carriage' for this particular train provider (not rail provider - they have their own).



MisterSpock
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13 Jul 2015, 3:18 pm

Grebels wrote:
Might they determine the passenge was not a responsible individual in terms of Health and Safety.


By an (albeit questionable) extension of that thought, are they deeming the individual unfit to function in society? If someone is mentally unable to use a train (and consideration of one's own health is a mental consideration), are they able to do anything else?

I suppose that's more of a rhetorical question, as the answer seems somewhat obvious.



0_equals_true
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13 Jul 2015, 3:52 pm

MisterSpock wrote:
On safety grounds, could that one act be taken as an indicator as to the individual of being any current harm (or threat of harm) to themself or others?


Sometimes rules are based on principles rather than the one instance being unsafe, otherwise it may end up being impossible to manage. That's not to say they don't get it wrong.

MisterSpock wrote:
If it's a contract, then isn't any breach civil, and therefore no police action is necessary? And I like the idea, by the extension of your trespass comment, that a theif breaking in to your car can be charged with trespass as well as breaking and entering and theft. The actions of the individual were not directly affecting the train, but indirectly, as the driver refused to drive.


Police action wasn't necessary until he refused to leave.

A few things he has in his favour is there are strong customer/commuter pressure/interest groups, also this a publicly regulated industry to some extent. There should be a the company compliant procedure and an ombudsman.



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13 Jul 2015, 6:27 pm

I should post a considered, thoughtful reply but I just can't stop laughing. This must be one of those UK/US differences. If you force your way through the New York City subway doors as they are closing, the other passengers will be annoyed but the transit police could not possibly care less. The very thought of the conductors delaying the train until the individual left/was forcibly removed is truly hilarious.

I considered posting some youtube links of the insanity that takes place inside the subway cars, but I couldn't find a single clip that didn't feature scary people yelling f-words at fellow riders, thus violating what's allowed to post. The very thought of holding up a train because somebody squeezed through closing doors just seems so over-the-top.

Having ridden both the London tube and the NYC subway, I will say that the London experience was much calmer.

Here is a compilation of (non-swearing) NYC subway annoyances. Squeezing between closing doors is one of them.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/mrloganrhoades/16-passenger-behaviors-that-should-be-banned-on-the-subway#.nmaRZPxM9



0_equals_true
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14 Jul 2015, 4:16 pm

Janissy wrote:
I should post a considered, thoughtful reply but I just can't stop laughing. This must be one of those UK/US differences. If you force your way through the New York City subway doors as they are closing, the other passengers will be annoyed but the transit police could not possibly care less. The very thought of the conductors delaying the train until the individual left/was forcibly removed is truly hilarious.


Janissy trust me we have that insanity on the Underground. Like you say they aren't doing to delay more than they have to. If the doors are forced open sometimes the diver goes on the PR, to tell them to so being a idiot and the could be killed, then moves on. We have trains every minute or less, and trains are crammed during rush hour.

This isn't the underground being talked about here. This is the rail network.

It is probably not a suburban commuter train either, it is some scheduled train to a longer distance. Some of these trains are quite plush, and it not cheap. You might have 10-20 minutes to board.



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14 Jul 2015, 4:36 pm

One of the downside of the NY subway, is lack of east/west connectivity in Manhattan. Also is the amount of heat that comes off the roads, due to dig and cover, it is cool on the trains but the stations not so much especially china town/soho area (we have the exact opposite problem). I remember visiting in 2001 and there was massive holes in the road falling down to the subway. They pinned half inch steel plates to the asphalt as a temporary measure. Never seen that before or since. I also remember coming up on the the road, crossing it just to make a connection.

I understand the things have improved though, and there is more tunneling. London is mostly tunneling, but we have London clay, which is a dense material perfect for tunneling.

Trivia the central line in it longest route is longer than the channel tunnel.



chapstan
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14 Jul 2015, 8:10 pm

It seems in the original scenario that the train driver wanted to make the point that he had the power to enforce his decision. Are the Transit Police employed by the Rail Line or are truly Law Enforcement Officers? Either way, they backed the decision of the train driver.

Like when too many people do stupid things while planes are in the air, at that point the pilot, airline stewardesses and crew have final say on what is wrong.



DeepHour
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14 Jul 2015, 10:57 pm

I don't know whether anyone who has posted so far in this thread is familiar with the following incident, but it certainly seems relevant to the matter under discussion:

link



0_equals_true
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15 Jul 2015, 12:33 pm

chapstan wrote:
It seems in the original scenario that the train driver wanted to make the point that he had the power to enforce his decision. Are the Transit Police employed by the Rail Line or are truly Law Enforcement Officers? Either way, they backed the decision of the train driver.

Like when too many people do stupid things while planes are in the air, at that point the pilot, airline stewardesses and crew have final say on what is wrong.


Transport Police are a separate police force not administered by the Metropolitan Police, but other police force also have have jurisdiction to carry out their work on the networks to stop crime, in thier area.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Transport_Police

They are employed by the public.



0_equals_true
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15 Jul 2015, 12:36 pm

Historically however the railways companies did employ "police", but this what in the infancy of the concept of national police. A long time ago.