Mother and baby denied first class seat by fellow passengers during Southern rail strike

'I don't want to sit next to a screaming baby,' says first class passenger

May Bulman
Wednesday 14 December 2016 07:35
Mother carrying baby denied first class seat by passengers

A row has broken out after a mother carrying a young baby was told she could not sit in a first class priority seat on a Southern Rail train because she didn’t have the right ticket.

Footage taken on a mobile phone shows the young woman, who has her baby in a sling carrier, rowing with an older woman after asking her to remove her bag from the seat next to her.

The mother can be heard saying: "I asked you nicely to put your bag on the floor and I offered to put it up [on the rack]. I'm carrying a baby, you should respect me."

The first class customer responds by saying: “You have to respect your elders and your betters. People have actually paid to sit in first class."

She sits down and the woman continues: “And I don’t want a screaming baby next to me,” despite the fact that the baby doesn't appear to be making any noise.

The mother fires back: "He's not screaming. He's behaving better than you."

Other passengers in the carriage then become involved in the dispute. One woman can be arguing that the mother doesn't have the right to sit there because it is not a 'priority seat' as the woman argued, while a man disagrees with her, saying: "She's got a baby, so she can sit where she wants."

A third customer then chimes in and says: "There are no rules anymore. They said at the last station that, because of the Southern problems, you can travel on any part of the train."

The mother then makes the sarcastic remark: "I'm sorry for breathing your first class air."

The incident occurred on the first day of strikes by Southern Rail staff over the roll-out of driver-only trains, which they claim are a risk to passenger safety.

The strike, which started on Tuesday leaving many commuters unable to take their usual routes into work, is set to continue into Wednesday and then again on Friday.

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