Don't go by train, mum-to-be told
Katherine Kent complained about repeatedly having to stand on packed peak-time Thameslink trains on her 40-minute journey from her home in St Albans, Hertfordshire, to work near London Bridge.
She had been prone to fainting during pregnancy and had twice had to sit down on the floor to avoid collapsing. Other passengers had not given up seats for her.
A letter written in reply to Ms Kent from a Thameslink customer relations officer told her: "In the interests of your safety, I cannot, in conscience, recommend that you travel at peak times."
Ms Kent, who now has a four-week-old daughter, said: "It was very, very condescending and patronising. I thought the tone of it was very unhelpful." She added that she had hoped Thameslink might have suggested giving her a seat in first class or changed its policy to allow people with health problems to sit in seats reserved for passengers who were elderly or disabled.
The Maternity Alliance said Thameslink had handled the matter "very insensitively". Its director, Christine Gowdridge, said: "The days of giving up seats seem to have gone.
"We asked Thameslink to fund a campaign to equip pregnant travellers with badges but the company turned us down. The badges would have warned other passengers, `Stand, or I'll deliver'."
A Thameslink spokesman said: "We did apologise ... but we could have expressed ourselves in more sympathetic terms."
He went on: "Our trains are very crowded and we cannot force people to give up seats for those in most need of them. If people could vary their journey times, even by 15 minutes, they would be able to get on less-crowded trains."
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