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30 Jun 07, 8:46 PM - Going for a spin

Posted by Seahorse

The road to truly accessible transport for all is a needlessly long one. But I am really glad to read below in Zephyr's post of positive action by the authorities and the effect of a very visable disabled presence in Vancouver.

Zephyr, could you write to Gordon Brown please?

I don't use my disabled travel pass here in the UK very often.

The reason being that a bus journey for me more often than not feels like what I imagine being shoved in a washing machine and put on spin may feel like. Going for a spin, indeed.

It is in part to do with how my impairments affect me in the big beyond. So it may just be that I'm not up to travelling by bus. A bus is something of an assault on my body and senses. It's noisy, it shakes, vibrates, lurches, leans...all things that hurt if you are already in pain or have sensory difficulties.

At present if I have to travel, I travel by taxi. Sometimes taxi drivers smoke, have the radio on loud or ask if you sleep naked. But it's one-to-one, so you can generally politely sort it out.

There are opportunities for disabled travellers to be supported with their travel needs, as I recently discovered through Marmite Boy on Toast.

I am planning a short train journey in the summer to see a friend. I haven't been on a train for probably four years. It will be a momentous ten minutes. The GOJO site (for young people who have difficulties using public transport) had all the links I needed to plan assistance at stations, the route, everything. And I got to reduce screen glare by turning the background pink :-) Go GOJO!

Buses, hmmm. Just not sure I can be persuaded. I'm not sure how much more accessible they could be in my case. They do drop to kerb level on my route, and when I was using them I normally found a disabled seat as I was travelling in off peak times.

Back at GOJO, you get to see what other disabled travellers think. Lack of room for wheelchairs because parents with pushchairs are in the space was one concern. Parents need room too, so surely there needs to be more room altogether on very busy routes. Longer buses. Like in Amsterdam. Trams even. Monorails elevated above the street scene would be good - a very smooth ride, so to speak.

But seriously, a lot of people were concerned about more accessible transport and more public transport options. Gordon are you with us? Um, not until about 2020 apparently.

And how about training for drivers? Whether you are disabled, elderly or a parent with a buggy, there is nothing worse than hectic driving. It is dangerous. And being greeted by bad manners or (even worse) disablist impatience is just not on.

A system whereby bad drivers can be reported would be good.

Or a button to press near your seat that delivers a loud and clear message. How about my favourite from childhood?

"When will we be theeeere?" Recorded in a high-pitched nasal whine with the instructions Press Repeatedly.

Ah, revenge would be sweet.

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