Arriva Trains – the much-complained-about, German-owned, rail company which operates all the trains into and out of Penarth – says it does not have “a formal policy on priority-seating for pregnant women”.
Arriva has been responding to criticism from an anonymous woman who is pregnant with her second child but who has to travel every day on the 07.55 or 08.10 from Caerphilly to Penarth.
The mother-to-be – who wishes to remain anonymous – has told WalesonLine she is being forced to remain standing on ram-packed Arriva trains because there are no vacant seats. Usually, rather than getting up and offering their place to her, all the other passengers just remain sitting.
Arriva is required by law to give priority to disabled people – and does – but apparently has no policy when it comes to the needs of pregnant women . The Penarth-bound mum now even wears badges to make sure fellow commuters are made aware that she’s expecting – but they make no difference; other travellers just take no notice.
She says “Everyone wants to sit down, but pregnant women really struggle. I have swollen feet, bad pains and the bigger I get, the more I lose my balance. I also feel sick with the smell of standing so close to some people.”
The situation has allegedly been made worse by the train company’s decision to reduce the length of trains to just two carriages rather than four – and those standing can’t usually get a seat until the crowded train has disgorged passengers en route at Queen St Station.
Arriva Trains says “Whilst we do not have a formal policy on priority seating for pregnant women, we would encourage our customers, out of common courtesy, to give up their seat to pregnant women where required.”