This afternoon my wife, Mrs. Brace was travelling with me back to the Wirral. We both have passes so waited in the queue to go through the barrier. I went through alright and the ticket barrier closed behind me. However Mrs. Brace swiped her pass to go through the barrier and it opened.
As she was part way through the barrier closed on her grabbing her walking stick in the process. With nothing to hold she collapsed. Now on the wrong side of the barrier I went back through another barrier and (sadly) didn’t arrive in time to catch her before she fell to the ground.
The Merseyrail staff offered her first aid and asked if she wished them to call an ambulance. We both went to an office, where two staff asked her details. She was a little shaken up by what happened, but most of her injuries were caused by the fall. The suspicion is that the walking stick triggered a motion sensor which then closed the barrier. Clearly something needs to change as there are plenty of elderly and disabled passengers with passes that are going to have trouble otherwise.
Merseyrail also said they’ll be reducing the staff at the ticket barriers as they move to more automation. Previously pass holders (and others such as those pushing a push chair) went through a side gate. Personally I don’t have any trouble when going through using my pass but I can understand how a walking stick could trigger a motion sensor.