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Daniel.S313

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12 hours ago, Marhelorpe said:

Yes, really. For some inexplicable reason, the park are now using the ride's exit for both disabled and Fastrack users.

I did notice the queue for RAP had gone up massively over my last two visits. Just gives me another excuse to never touch Colossus, ever, once I get on Stealth and Saw.

12 hours ago, Marhelorpe said:

they decided to fill two entire trains (56 people max) of guests to cut it down.

Jesus Christ...

12 hours ago, Marhelorpe said:

The 3 back rows of seats were allocated to the disabled guests

This is new, usually it's only two and they only use three if one group has three people. I've never seen any of this even as a RAP user.

12 hours ago, Marhelorpe said:

I am seeing the disabled entrance as nothing more than just another Fastrack queue given many people through my eyes don't look like they have a disability. And for those with a genuine disability such as being in a wheelchair, I find this incredibly unfair for them, just like the father at the example with Th13teen I mentioned above.

Yeah no. As far as I know, you don't decide who does and who doesn't have a disability or how 'genuine' their disability may be. Someone with, say, autism may look 'fine' to you at that point, but you don't see what goes on at every other point in their life. Not every disability is visible, there's signs at the park that'll tell you that. Let's focus on these people: 

rather than people that, in your eyes, don't look like they have a disability, who most likely genuinely do.

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Wheelchair users only make up around 15-20% of Disabled people and to only consider those with a disability is just ludicrous.

 

Not all disabilities all visible, there are plenty of invisible disabilities such autism/Aspergers, ADHD, learning difficulties etc. 

 

I do think something desperately needs to change with the park’s RAP systems though as the queues for it have become considerably longer during the last couple of years and it begs the question whether some are abusing the system for what it is. At times I have seen as many as seven people with a group of 1 RAP which is quite a lot.

 

Whatever the system currently is, it needs changing to system which becomes something a guest needs, not wants and analyses whether the user 100% needs the service. Despite the high number of current users, some who need the system still to fall below the lines. I once spoke to a woman with an autistic son and was shocked to learn they hadn’t been given RAP as he certainly looked like he needed it.

 

Changing the system may not be an easy job though, especially at a time when things are so sensitive and fragile on this subject. At least a quarter of people would likely resort to noisy complaints through social media, to the point the daily fail are contacted.

 

It is not an easy one.

 

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3 hours ago, Benin said:

10 years ago we were told as staff to batch a ratio of 60:40 for standard to Fastrack... One can only assume this has changed significantly over the years

This has definitely changed now, while I worked at a Merlin park we were told not to do any ratios but to try and keep the fasttrack queue at a third of the queue time of the main queue (at a maximum, usually there were nowhere near enough people for this to happen).

14 hours ago, Marhelorpe said:

For some inexplicable reason, the park are now using the ride's exit for both disabled and Fastrack users.

Saves a member of staff, so no-one will be at the fasttrack merge point (which will be deemed as a non-essential position).

14 hours ago, Marhelorpe said:

Here it's the same old story. The 3 back rows of seats were allocated to the disabled guests and staff were not batching the main queue into these rows, meaning 25% of every train was reserved just for those with priority passes.


Now, this would be alright for the most part given only a handful of people were using the queue on the day, but when it was empty on a couple of dispatches, the staff still refused to fill these seats with guests from the main queue to keep things in full swing and so, I saw two trains dispatch with 6 empty seats in the back after each other which I found incredibly frustrating, as if they weren't fenced off for those disabled guests, I could've happily filled those empty seats.

This is purely one or more of the staff being lazy, I've worked on this ride and it can be a bit stressful to try and make sure that the batching is done right but it's really not that difficult, but some people just don't bother at all and keep the lanes blocked off regardless.

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Just to point out Colossus fastrack through the exit is far from the normal - I also rode it Saturday and there was a batcher at the normal point with the normal fastrack queue in use.

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As @Marc I went through the usual fastrack entrance on Saturday too. Isn’t the fastrack via exit just on what they class off peak days? Least it always used to be. 

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A LOT of the invisible ones do not directly mean a person cannot queue, hell I've even seen group trips for Down's Syndrome people go through the normal queue because they want their day to be as 'standard' as possible...

 

Perhaps the change should be more towards the 'branding' rather than rules, as the system as it is works well but perhaps isn't used properly by staff? Amount of times staff don't sign the passes it's no wonder people feign stuff to get it...

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For the past 2 seasons (2017/18) I’ve had a RAP due to anxiety which at times is really bad.  I guess I “look” “normal” but then so do a lot of other RAP users so in that respect, you can’t just assume someone is not disabled if they aren’t in a wheelchair.  

 

However I agree with a lot of what has been mentioned here - filling up trains with RAP users is a complete joke and something I experienced on Vampire a couple of months ago - it shouldn’t get to the point where they fill and entire train up while people from the main queue who have been physically queuing have to stand and watch and probably quite rightly get annoyed.  Also in the event of a breakdown or evacuation, a train full of RAPs would potentially be a nightmare, hence why it SHOULD be just one RAP user per ride.

 

Another issue is that not all staff will sign the RAP card and put a time on it, essentially making it equivalent to fast track in a way.  Some staff are really on the ball and others just don’t bother - the point of RAP is that it is a virtual queuing system but if cards aren’t being signed then you can essentially go straight from one ride which may have a 90 min queue onto another ride and that is extremely unfair on those in the main queue line.

 

I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if they changed the rules around obtaining RAP and also the amount of helpers - currently you can have up to 3 helpers on one pass but I can see this changing to just one helper which I personally wouldn’t have a problem with but I’m sure a lot of RAP users would kick off.  The park I think are generous allowing up to 3 helpers but maybe if they adopted a +1 helper maximum it would make a difference to the lengths of the queues.

Currently they accept a doctors note as long as it states specifically that the person has problems queuing etc - the problem with this is what’s to stop someone from literally forging a doctors note?  Due to patient confidentiality there is no way that Thorpe (and the other parks) could find out a persons medical problems and I do wonder how many people would actually be ok in getting a RAP deceitfully - probably quite a few.  The only thing I can think is to ask for a doctors note and proof of disability (PIP etc) but then not every disabled person gets PIP so it’s a tricky one.

 

Since using RAP I’ve witnessed a couple of things which really peed me off - one occasion being Galactica at AT - not only did the staff member not sign the RAP card but the RAP user took 5 people on with him (2 more than should be allowed) so there was a RAP on the back row with helpers and the other 2 joined a different row which is pretty much queue jumping.  Another time a woman was with 2 kids, got the RAP card signed (she was wearing the wristband) and then she walked off and the kids went on the ride?!

 

Another thing is merging RAP and fast track which  I think is unfair on both parties - it extends the queue which most RAP users struggle with and, on the flip side you have people who have PAID to get on a ride quicker being put in the same queues as RAP users which extends their wait.

 

Wow I’ve typed an essay 👀

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Benin said:

A LOT of the invisible ones do not directly mean a person cannot queue, hell I've even seen group trips for Down's Syndrome people go through the normal queue because they want their day to be as 'standard' as possible...

I've seen this a few times, for example Kevin Chapman, his son struggles with queueing but they A. Weren't allowed a RAP for some reason and B. They use it as social training sort of thing. It does vary between people.

11 minutes ago, Han30 said:

 

Another issue is that not all staff will sign the RAP card and put a time on it, essentially making it equivalent to fast track in a way.  Some staff are really on the ball and others just don’t bother - the point of RAP is that it is a virtual queuing system but if cards aren’t being signed then you can essentially go straight from one ride which may have a 90 min queue onto another ride and that is extremely unfair on those in the main queue line.

This is especially true at Thorpe and Alton, a lot of the time they sign it but either put too short a time or sometimes even put a time that has already passed. Whereas at Chessington you get staff members who will add time onto your card when you get to that next ride, because it "says 1:60pm and that isn't a time (It didn't) so I'll write over it with 2:10pm (?)"

16 minutes ago, Han30 said:

 

I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if they changed the rules around obtaining RAP and also the amount of helpers - currently you can have up to 3 helpers on one pass but I can see this changing to just one helper which I personally wouldn’t have a problem with but I’m sure a lot of RAP users would kick off.  The park I think are generous allowing up to 3 helpers but maybe if they adopted a +1 helper maximum it would make a difference to the lengths of the queues.

The only thing with that, though, is what about families with one member who can't queue? Maybe they could make it so that on the bigger rides, coasters and the like, it's one helper only but family rides it's still three?

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42 minutes ago, Marc said:

Just to point out Colossus fastrack through the exit is far from the normal - I also rode it Saturday and there was a batcher at the normal point with the normal fastrack queue in use.

I’m not sure when you rode Colossus that day, but I can say with absolute certainty when I queued there was a period in the early afternoon where the merging point was not being used and no staff member was present, causing a longer queue and people to use the ride exit as their Fastrack/disabled entrance.

 

But something I’ve noticed quite recently is Saw and Inferno have now combined the disabled queue with the Fastrack one if you look at the entrance signs. Whilst on paper this might sound good to keep there being only two queues for each ride, isn’t that a testament to show just how many people are now using the RAP’s?

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5 minutes ago, Marhelorpe said:

I’m not sure when you rode Colossus that day, but I can say with absolute certainty when I queued there was a period in the early afternoon where the merging point was not being used and no staff member was present, causing a longer queue and people to use the ride exit as their Fastrack/disabled entrance.

 

But something I’ve noticed quite recently is Saw and Inferno have now combined the disabled queue with the Fastrack one if you look at the entrance signs. Whilst on paper this might sound good to keep there being only two queues for each ride, isn’t that a testament to show just how many people are now using the RAP’s?

I saw exactly the same thing recently at Chessington on Tomb Blaster. It was a very busy day and fastrack has been oversold. Everyone was queuing from the exit and the operators did exactly the same thing. Two full trains of fastrack & RAPs were dispatched. I agree it should never happen. When the normal queue is effectively closed off for priority only, there is a real problem with the system. 

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I think there is a huge problem with the RAP, and no, its not people who 'look normal', ADHD/Autism/ECT are all conditions that in some cases are viable and do need the RAP, though the way the system means it very easy to get one and abuse it!

 

I had a friend who had epilepsy and got a doctors note a few years ago, since then she has had the all clear- when she last went to Thorpe she simply changed the date of the note and got a RAP..

Another issue is staff, when I last used a RAP the staff didn't sign once! There was two hours queue on Colossus that day so they really should of signed it, but no, they CBA..

I think group numbers should be capped too.. I have seen groups with 1 rap user and 5 friends tagging along.. The system really needs a shakeup..

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2 minutes ago, JoshuaA said:

I think there is a huge problem with the RAP, and no, its not people who 'look normal', ADHD/Autism/ECT are all conditions that in some cases are viable and do need the RAP, though the way the system means it very easy to get one and abuse it!

 

I had a friend who had epilepsy and got a doctors note a few years ago, since then she has had the all clear- when she last went to Thorpe she simply changed the date of the note and got a RAP..

Another issue is staff, when I last used a RAP the staff didn't sign once! There was two hours queue on Colossus that day so they really should of signed it, but no, they CBA..

I think group numbers should be capped too.. I have seen groups with 1 rap user and 5 friends tagging along.. The system really needs a shakeup..

I did wonder if staff have been spoken to recently as on Saturday my RAP card got signed at EVERY ride which has never happened before.   

 

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Certainly sounds like a combined number of issues making the problem worse... general conclusion thus far seems to be better staff awareness/checking so cards are signed and secondly reducing the number of helpers per RAP. I think these two factors corrected would make a massive difference :)

 

Of course what also doesn't help is when guests complain, the normal "compo" (sic) procedure is to give them a Fast-track pass or 5... which compounds the problem. Perhaps try and push some free food or drink vouchers instead if they can instead (and if they will accept them).

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Flamingoland has a +1 carer maximum, Efteling it varies per ride (so Flying Dutchman is +2 carers, others +1, some +3, no disabled on Dreamcred), but it depends on the person in question... Sure some would need 2/3 carers to ensure safety throughout (plus I think the numbers is more to aid with evacuation procedures as well, as in some cases 1 would simply not be enough) though so it's hard to pin-point an exact number...

 

Saying that, I always used to turn a blind eye to groups of 5/6, but at the same time the amount of people I had to explain how it worked to was ridiculous... Always a lack of communication on these matters...

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