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I wonder what the ratio is of RAP users to Disabled ticket purchases (free carer so essentially a 2-4-1). Might make for some interesting reading.

 

Honestly not sure what the parks can do short of ACTUALLY ENFORCING THEIR RULES. So often we've not had the RAP signed, so that in of itself opens it up to abuse and that's before we look at the actual hand out system.

 

To say that the increase of RAP distributed is down to the "snowflake society" is utter nonsense. It'll be tied into an increased awareness (and detection/diagnosis) of mental health issues. I doubt many kids first thought when being diagnosed with ADHD or severe Autism is "omg I can jump the queues at Thorpe Park". 

 

I don't really think that the sort of people who would be termed as "snowflakes" would be the sort of people abusing this as a system.

 

I'm intrigued as to how the systems will work in the States this year. But I think the amount of people using RAP here is a culture thing rather than any fault of the parks. And I'll imagine Disney is the worst for it, hence why their modern rides in the States make wheelchair/mobility scooter users go in the main queue.

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4 minutes ago, Benin said:

Honestly not sure what the parks can do short of ACTUALLY ENFORCING THEIR RULES. So often we've not had the RAP signed, so that in of itself opens it up to abuse and that's before we look at the actual hand out system.

I know that at one point over the past couple of years, Thorpe considered linking the scanners they use for Fastrack in with the RAP system. The idea being that you would have a card, staff would scan it, and it would let them know when the card could next be used. The system itself couldn't be linked together properly, so didn't work out.

 

Another major issue is that the park's queue times are rarely accurate. So even if they had that system correct, the incorrect queue times would mess with the system. 

 

AND even then, most staff checking RAP won't have access to the displayed queue time, which is why they don't bother signing it / give wildly incorrect estimates. 

 

Better training needs to be given to the staff there really. As well as greater accountability for making it work.

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I honestly doubt that as much abuse really goes on as some here are suggesting.

The issue is that the RAP rules are not being abided by. Those who do abuse it (like having more than 3 carers) should have action taken against them by the staff. Be that a removal of the RAP or having to reapply with different documentation.

On the whole though, I'd say the problem here is the opposite of a "snowflake society". It is still this prevalent belief that if you don't *look* disabled, you can't be disabled. My disability can only been seen in my brain, so unless you're walking around with an MRI scanner in your back pocket, you can't see it.

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33 minutes ago, TarinMaria said:

On the whole though, I'd say the problem here is the opposite of a "snowflake society". It is still this prevalent belief that if you don't *look* disabled, you can't be disabled. My disability can only been seen in my brain, so unless you're walking around with an MRI scanner in your back pocket, you can't see it.

 

Just to clarify my "snowflake society" comment as I do fear I may not have made myself clear.

 

I am in no way shape or form trying to say that mental health/disorders should not be eligible for a RAP. No way would I say that especially as a guy who lives with ADHD. What I'm simply trying to voice is my agreement on what JoshC said in relation to how they have backed themself into a corner with how they have distributed it. I feel that people just rock up and the parks will literally give them the pass for fear of offending people and not wanting the backlash. That is what I meant in my comment. I am somebody who very much supports the steps society is taking to support mental health given how close to the heart I hold the issue. I am simply saying that it now feels that there is a huge amount of people faking doctors letters getting away with cheating the system purely because the park does not want to risk coming across as offensive. That in my honest opinion is down to this culture of "everything is offensive" and that's where I was coming from with my snowflake society comment. In regards to "not being able to wait in a long line", again I refer to my point regarding the massive cattle pen queue just to get the pass or indeed the sizeable queues the RAP queue gets during busier times at the parks for that matter.

 

I do hope I've worded that OK and am in no way trying to call those genuinely disabled who need RAP snowflakes if that is what my previous comment has come across as.

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Agreed that the staff really need to do their bit properly! I see so many posts in the FB group about staff not signing the card at all, and also not enforcing the plus 3 rule. The honest RAP holders are having to do their job for them.
Some have also witnessed guest services issuing passes even when people haven’t had the correct evidence!

This is the kind of crap needs to be sorted out. When I worked at Thorpe back in 2007 - 2008, I saw other staff members not bothering to fill out the cards and not sticking to the plus 3 rule. It’s been going on for far too long. 
 

EDIT: The 2 year thing actually came into place last year (so those who registered in 2019 are on the system for 2 years, whereas previously it was just 1 year). It is NOT new for 2020. 

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37 minutes ago, TarinMaria said:

I honestly doubt that as much abuse really goes on as some here are suggesting.

The issue is that the RAP rules are not being abided by. Those who do abuse it (like having more than 3 carers) should have action taken against them by the staff. Be that a removal of the RAP or having to reapply with different documentation.

On the whole though, I'd say the problem here is the opposite of a "snowflake society". It is still this prevalent belief that if you don't *look* disabled, you can't be disabled. My disability can only been seen in my brain, so unless you're walking around with an MRI scanner in your back pocket, you can't see it.

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Unfortunately there really is abuse and it is not over exaggerated. Some of us here spend a lot of time in the park and both see and hear it. I have encountered many a group clearly talking about there fake medical letter and sadly have even had a group of my friends use a disability that doesn't in any way shape or form mean they cannot queue up to their advantage. 

 

We aren't just talking about faking of letters either. At TPM meets for example we have witnessed a lot of abuse. For example we witnessed 8 people go in with one RAP on Gruffalo last year. As well as people talking about how great it is to skip the queue because they cut there leg and had a bit of a limp. 

 

We are all for it being utilised be invisible disabilities if it warrants it, just not if it doesn't. Like Martin Doyle says he has ADHD and can qualilfy for it, but he doesn't need to utilise it as he can queue, just like many others with ADHD (obviously circumstances that mean they can't queue is acceptable, there are some cases). Another one of our members is diabetic and could qualify for it but again doesn't choose to as they can still queue perfectly fine. 

 

As has been said with the culture that exists in the UK it will never be easy to change, as so many people will no longer be granted it and will kick off threatening to take it to press etc. 

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2 hours ago, Martin Doyle said:

I'm sorry but when I saw them queuing in a massive cattle pen just to get the damn thing last season, the only thing going through my mind was "No way on this earth can you not wait 10 minutes for rapids when you are standing in this"

Exactly this.

 

Too often when I visited the park last year and in 2018, the first sight I am greeted with every morning when leaving the dome into the park is this definition of pure irony:

 

B2293BB5-AB86-47D0-9E5B-AB86E1CDCFBB.thumb.jpeg.822003715508e3d194faaf5faea947d5.jpeg

 

How the bobs at Thorpe Park/Merlin can look at that, nod their heads and smile saying “Yep, nothing at all wrong with this!” I don’t understand one bit.

 

How the park are going to fix this broken system I cannot answer, but something has to be done soon.

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1 hour ago, Marhelorpe said:

Exactly this.

 

Too often when I visited the park last year and in 2018, the first sight I am greeted with every morning when leaving the dome into the park is this definition of pure irony:

 

B2293BB5-AB86-47D0-9E5B-AB86E1CDCFBB.thumb.jpeg.822003715508e3d194faaf5faea947d5.jpeg

 

How the bobs at Thorpe Park/Merlin can look at that, nod their heads and smile saying “Yep, nothing at all wrong with this!” I don’t understand one bit.

 

How the park are going to fix this broken system I cannot answer, but something has to be done soon.

On a hot summers day it’s not unreasonable to assume there would be a couple hundred people on park who are eligible for an access pass - 90% of eligible guests would be arriving in the morning so there would be bound to be an initial surge of people all collecting their passes at the same time.
 

The system isn’t perfect, and I’m not sure a “perfect” solution even exists  - but it’s hardly one of Thorpes / Merlins top issues.

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2 hours ago, Marhelorpe said:

How the bobs at Thorpe Park/Merlin can look at that, nod their heads and smile saying “Yep, nothing at all wrong with this!” I don’t understand one bit.

I know some people like to act like the people who run the park are idiots, but I'm sure you know that no one thinks this...right?

2 hours ago, Marhelorpe said:

How the park are going to fix this broken system I cannot answer, but something has to be done soon.

I'm not for one second suggesting that you should have an answer, but I want to bring up a fair point: what can they do to fix it? People on forums and within the community are quick to pipe up when they have an idea which they think works for pretty much anything theme park related, but I don't think I've ever seen a half-reasonable / implementable solution on how to improve the system for RAP users, and ensure that only people who truly need it use it.

 

Getting staff to understand, explain, run the system properly is a start. But that's truly only the beginning.

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Yeah I think Merlin are in a bit of a corner with the RAP. The system sucks, but even when enforced properly it would still be abused and flawed. They can't really win, we live in a culture where its the norm. Even some of my 'suggestions' to improve the system would honestly just open more cans of worms (like making it blue badge only for example). I think no matter what Thorpe do with the RAP it will be flawed.

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There isn't a lot they can do, but putting in place some kind of sanctions for those who do abuse the system would be a good idea. However, that won't happen unless the staff are trained in the system and how to cope with guests who do choose to abuse it.

They could make it so that you need to have 2 forms of proof, but that would cause mass uproar, just as changing it to only blue badges or PIP/DLA would.

Actually timing out cards would make it less attractive to those who are simply just using it as a fast track, meaning that only people who need to use it will. I still think, however many people have been overheard in parks *possibly* talking about fake doctors letters, it is a minority who do abuse it, and if it is not, please do provide receipts for this data.

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Is it only a doctors note that's required? I would have thought that asking people to present a blue badge/PIP letter would be safer and weed out people who just want to milk the system. For example I go to tons of concerts every year and most venues grant early access for people like myself with disabilities, most of them just requiring you to email them a copy of your PIP letter and you're on the list. 

 

That picture above of the queue to get the ride access pass is genuinely worrying, I'm on the fence wether or not I want to go back to Thorpe this year after already having not been since 2015 and the whole system just seems like it's being abused to the point where it would impact my day. 

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I just feel sorry for those who genuinely need it and have a crap day as a result, of waiting around to get on rides.
Personally I'd have a doctor on park to give the yes/ no. But that would just give me invisibility abuse.
 
 
That's kind of what Paulton's have, they send you to first aid and a nurse checks your proof... Anyone with a legitimate need for RAP will probably have multiple things stating that (I have a card that states I have MS, I have a treatment card, I have a doctors letter and I have a blue badge) so even invisible disabilities should have enough proof.

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16 minutes ago, Lewis. said:

Is it only a doctors note that's required? I would have thought that asking people to present a blue badge/PIP letter would be safer and weed out people who just want to milk the system. For example I go to tons of concerts every year and most venues grant early access for people like myself with disabilities, most of them just requiring you to email them a copy of your PIP letter and you're on the list. 

 

That picture above of the queue to get the ride access pass is genuinely worrying, I'm on the fence wether or not I want to go back to Thorpe this year after already having not been since 2015 and the whole system just seems like it's being abused to the point where it would impact my day. 

One of the options is a doctors letter. There are many options. Just open the link on the post on the previous page that stems all this discussion. 

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Having a medically trained person checking the documentation is all well and good in theory, but any half-decent GP in the country will write a strong enough letter to convince someone else that they're in need of a Ride Access Pass.

 

There's obviously the other issue of having enough medically trained staff to check the documentation at a busier park, whilst also being available to tend to any medical emergencies. 

 

10 minutes ago, TarinMaria said:

That's kind of what Paulton's have, they send you to first aid and a nurse checks your proof...

Presumably at Paultons it is just a member of the First Aid team who only needs a basic First Aid course to work there (though likely has an interest in First Aid and is studying other medical courses), rather than a qualified 'nurse'?

 

Nurses don't get paid enough as it is, I can't imagine how little a theme park nurse would be paid! 

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Yeah if the queues are bad now, imagine how bad they would be if they full in depth checked every guest if they were worthy of the pass, it would take ages and would slow things even further. I think the only thing Thorpe can do is enforce things better, even with that some fake doctors note will slip through. They will always be fraud and abuse of the system.

Having medical staff on hand is great on paper, but imagine how long it would take to examine each person who wanted a RAP (somewhere in the 100's range on busy days..)

 

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The only way to fix this is to have a system where there is no meaningful advantage to using RAP over not using it.

Those genuinely using it do not want preferential treatment, just equal access as the name suggests. 

 

Difficult, because even if staff use the system as they should guests abusing it can get their card marked then go and use other attractions while they wait, that turns it into an advantageous system akin to fastrack. But if someone can work that out it's got to be the only way to go.

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Right hello a user of RAP systems in multiple parks here and let me tell you it is completely flawed. In Thorpe you should only be able to take on three “Carers” which is something I stick to because I understand this as something that can wind people up and this is the damn rule. I can remember being about 7 and people were yelling abuse at me in Flamingoland because I used their equivalent system. They must’ve received enough complaints over the years as in around 2010/2011 they no longer accept GP letters. I get that GP letters can be faked (my new one looks awful but I can’t turn round the receptionist and say “can you actually make this look professional?”) but if you remove them, you are removing those without a disabled badge or benefits. 
 

Chessington introduced a grading system last year so that might still be in effect where depending on your disability, you were able to ride without a career. Blackpool operate EVE alongside 10 rides being on Speedy Pass which works best imo because it’s all digitally tracked in a way other parks don’t as well as also allowing the guest on without a companion. 
 

I’ve seen multiple people abuse the system and do challenge them on it because I’m scared that their actions will lead to me losing my pass. I can’t enjoy parks without the passes because otherwise I’m in too much pain to keep going. I would say the system of return time for next attraction works however (if they provided accurate queue times) over return time for that attraction which Walt Disney World operates. I welcome any discussion about the systems because I’ve seen both extremes, a park that doesn’t have one and parks that allow too much, an industry wide standard should be applied but I’ll eat my RAP if that ever happens. 

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Tbh yes the Rap system is currently stupid in terms of how many tides rap users can get on due to staff not filling out cards, or not putting the full queue time on, or guests that swap there cards around

 

I have to say that Legolands system is the best one for ensuring that the system isn't abused in the sense of staff not filling in cards

 

when you arrive the park set you up with an app on your phone which you use to ride (QBOT for RAP), so none of cards that need completing by hosts etc and then your forced to wait queue time.

 

 

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17 minutes ago, RobF said:

when you arrive the park set you up with an app on your phone which you use to ride (QBOT for RAP), so none of cards that need completing by hosts etc and then your forced to wait queue time.

 

 

This exactly what BPB do for its top 10 (maybe 9 this season) and I found it’s definitely been a vast improvement. Merlin work with acceso for ticketing so maybe they can work with acceso for this too and expand a q not or similar system. They wouldn’t even have to have that many Q bots as most will just be able to use their phones. 

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There's a few alternative options the parks can alter to improve the system that whilst would have some complaints it's not something that would particularly be a problem in terms of preventing anyone using it.

 

Main thing is one carer. That's all you get. Perhaps in special circumstances you can have two but that's when you can really go all out on PIP/DLA as the majority of disabled guests will only need the one carer (plus on most rides you've only got two seats in a row anyway). Majority of parks seem to use this so why not ours?

 

That being said, it would be problematic towards families. But as carers need to be 16+ (iirc) then it's a weird situation. There's some leeway there as things can also be combined with parent swap in order to accommodate some families with it. 

 

Making the system Blue Badge or benefits only is a minefield and should not be considered. Some people can't get benefits but can have a blue badge, and probably vice versa. Hell some severely disabled people are now considered fit to work and have their benefits cut. But that's the government for you.

 

Perhaps DLP's tiered system could be looked at. Temporary injuries like leg casts have one method, whereas permanent disabilities have another. I've not really used it so can't be sure.

 

There's no one answer as you cannot encompass every disability under the sun. However it's clear it's an UK issue, as when using it in places like Efteling or Toverland (not Walibi as it's not the best system, though technically the fairest as you stand at the exit for the same length of time as the queue, but with no real waiting areas), as there aren't as many using it compared to Merlin ones. Didn't see many use it at other parks in UK but I wonder if it's as widely known or if the max one carer system prevents abuse?

 

As for those early morning queues, it's the same at Towers, though at least Thorpe have a separate area. The early morning rush can't really be avoided if everyone turns up on time can it?

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I'm fairly certain at one point Thorpe trialled the idea of only 1 carer, with 2 in special circumstances (might have been around 2010/11?). Wasn't successful, as I think in the end most people made cases to have more than 1 carer that the park couldn't reasonably refute.

 

A tiered system would be interesting. Certainly could solve some of the issues that the system has these days. Obviously there'd be other issues which arise and I could see a PR backlash, but it could still work..

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18 hours ago, Martin Doyle said:

 

Snowflake society has won. Simple as that.

 

The people cheating the system should be ashamed of themself.

 

A signed letter from "Doctor Kelman" should do the trick.

 

Isn't snowflake more a right wing buzz word relating to people caring for others or being emotive. People from the right wing often struggle with the idea of caring for others outside of their social circle because the idea of being nice to each other is so alien and foreign, it deserves to be ridiculed. See 'woke' and 'SJW' also.

 

People abusing a system full of flaws and potholes is not snowflake. It's scummy, it's taking the mick but it isn't 'snowflake'. 

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