Following the report on The Wire which told the story of a 12-year-old girl, Eniola Falade, being removed from a tram in the dark to walk alone, despite having a valid ticket, Nottingham City Council’s Corporate Director for Children and Adults expects policy changes from the operator to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
Eniola had a valid £1.10 single tram ticket that had been pre-purchased on the day before travel by her parents.
She was removed from a tram at the High School tram stop after a conductor deemed the ticket to be invalid.
She was on the way to an evening weekly drama workshop at New Art Exchange when a conductor carried out ticket checks on the tram.
She couldn’t show the ticket because of connectivity issues, but did have a text message receipt for proof of purchase of the ticket.
After being removed she had to make her way to her destination by walking for 15 minutes which included going past the Forest Recreation Ground which was where a 22-year-old woman was brutally assaulted and raped 6 years ago.
Alison Michalska, Corporate Director for Children and Adults at Nottingham City Council, told The Wire: “We completely understand why Mrs Falade was upset about what happened to Eniola and we share her wider safeguarding concerns about children being asked to leave the tram when travelling alone.
“The matter has been taken up with NET to find out how this situation arose and how it could be avoided in the future, as we would expect unaccompanied minors to be allowed to continue their journey in such circumstances.
“The tram operator has worked well with us in the past to change policies to keep children safe, including when youngsters have accidentally boarded a tram without their parents or been left behind at a stop. We know NET take these matters very seriously and we look forward to working with them on this.”
However, in a letter responding to a complaint made by Eniola’s mother, Mrs Leanda Rastarella Falade, Alison Michalska accepted that NET’s policy already is that children are not meant to be removed but in Eniola’s situation she was removed.
The reply reads:
‘The Tram Operator has worked with us before to change policies to provide a service that keeps children safe, particularly when children are either accidentally put on the tram without parents or left by their parents at a stop, so we know that they take concerns about child safety seriously.
‘Your point about the procedure response to adults and whether this should differ for children is well made. We have raised this with the Operator and their policy is that children will not be expected to leave the tram if there is a problem with their ticket, however, as this clearly didn’t happen in your daughter’s case I have asked the Operator to brief their staff to reduce the risk of other children being placed at risk.
In response Mrs Falade told us:
‘I would like a formal apology from NET Trams to Eniola and their policies should be reinforced to all their onboard staff so no child has to go through this again.
Adding: ‘NET Tram was wrong to remove my child and that the outcome could have been very different. All children deserve to feel safe aboard Public transport.’
NET declined to comment.