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Thread: Transport Issues for Disability Awareness

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Transport Issues for Disability Awareness

    I've just had an email from the founder of Disability Champions - see below. Can you help?

    I’ve been tasked with writing a short disability awareness course for the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, RMT. They want a course that focusses on transport related disability issues in order that they can provide a better service for disabled travellers and also understand their employers obligations in order that they can get this important issue on to their negotiating agenda.

    As a Disability Champion you could be in an ideal position to help me with examples of real issues that I can include in the training. What I am looking for are:-

    • Examples of good travelling experiences
    • Examples of problems / potential problems you have encountered or witnessed
    • Things that cause problems / annoyance when using public transport
    • Things that can make travelling a positive experience

    There may also be other things you feel may be relevant that I could use. Feel free to respond regarding yourself, or disabled friends / colleagues or family members you have travelled with. Everything submitted will, of course, be used anonymously.
    If you have any examples please post below and I will pass them on.

    This is regarding all public transport: trains, buses, ferries, trams etc

    Many thanks for your help,

    Paul
    Motability Car History
    05/09-05/12; Nissan Qashqai 1.5 Diesel Tekna; 36,500 miles; avg 41.1mpg
    06/12-07/15; Ford C-Max 2.0 Diesel Titanium Powershift; 35,400 miles; avg 37.8mpg
    07/15-09/17; Skoda Octavia 1.6 Diesel SE-L DSG; 28,200miles; avg 43.9mpg
    09/17-Present; VW Touran 1.4 Petrol SEL DSG; 11,600miles; avg 35.9mpg (28.6 - 43.9mpg)

    Click here to send me an email with any private Motoring questions you may have. Replies usually within 48hrs

  2. #2
    Senior Member beau's Avatar
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    Buses are the bain of my life. Although not in a wheelchair I do have to use a walking frame all of the time to hold myself upright.
    The drivers do not pull up to the high kerbs properly leaving a large gap so I can't wheel on, they expect me to be able to lift the frame on and often only move and lower the bus reluctantly after being asked. Too much like hard work to press a button or get the ramp out.
    Many of our buses have the lowering mechanism not working, I have complained numerous times about this via phone, email and letter giving routes and times so they can ascertain which vehicle it is but in spite of them saying it will be sorted it never is.
    I have had many a fall off and on buses due to these problems.
    I have, also on occasions been insulted by drivers, eg told to get off to the hospital for a transplant, told to leave my trolley at home or get a taxi. Complaints have gone in and drivers given warnings.

    I often now avoid using buses and have a taxi instead as I am no longer allowed to drive myself.

    There are many other incidents and I will post when I bring them to mind.
    Last edited by beau; 13-09-12 at 14:28.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for sharing, I will pass this on.

    Please keep them coming, the more the better and don't worry about repeat stories - as it highlights the significance of the issues.
    Motability Car History
    05/09-05/12; Nissan Qashqai 1.5 Diesel Tekna; 36,500 miles; avg 41.1mpg
    06/12-07/15; Ford C-Max 2.0 Diesel Titanium Powershift; 35,400 miles; avg 37.8mpg
    07/15-09/17; Skoda Octavia 1.6 Diesel SE-L DSG; 28,200miles; avg 43.9mpg
    09/17-Present; VW Touran 1.4 Petrol SEL DSG; 11,600miles; avg 35.9mpg (28.6 - 43.9mpg)

    Click here to send me an email with any private Motoring questions you may have. Replies usually within 48hrs

  4. #4
    Senior Member beau's Avatar
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    More on buses.
    Before our area got the low floor design on all routes I used to have to go for 2 buses earlier than the one I really needed in the hope I would arrive at my destination in time.
    This is a positive, and the only time it happened. The bus turned up and it was one of the old style so I turned away. The next thing was the driver was out of his seat and helping me on, lifting my frame and even brought me my ticket to my seat. At my destination he helped me off. He was one in a million.

    Another negative for buses: the disabled seating and space is often filled with pushchairs and in spite of notices saying that they have to be folded if the space is required for a disabled person this does not happen and the drivers do not enforce it. I have been refused access to a bus because it was full of buggies.
    Once I was told by another passenger I had to move my frame to the other side of the bus so a person could put one of these huge twin buggies in the space, sorry I can't walk without it so it needs to be next to me, that particular journey was spent with my frame folded and wedged on my lap. Again the driver took no action, surely he shouldn't have let it on knowing the space was in use.

    At times there are so many of these buggies on a bus that the gangway is blocked and folk have to climb round them to get off, this is dangerous and against policy, again no action by the driver, ie refusing access to those in excess of what he is legally allowed to carry.

    Also able bodied folk sit in these seats and refuse to move and I have had to leave the bus and wait for the next. Again the drivers will not do anything about it.

    Trains.
    I have occasionally had to use trains. I have had nothing but help. Our local station willingly get the ramp out and ring my destination station telling them which carriage I am in. I am then met with the ramps. The only complaint I have about the trains is that the disabled space is often taken by suitcases so I end up sitting on the pull down seats in the entrance way. All in all, train travel is a much better experience than bus travel.

    Air Travel: I fly several times a year on my own and have never had any special assistance problems at the airports I frequent other than being made, only once though, to go through the full body scanner. There are no support handles and I had to be held up by a security person on one hand and another passenger on the other. I have no problem with going through the scanner, it is for our own safety but the design hasn't been very well thought out. Following times I have been through this airport I have been searched and swabbed instead, as was usual before they got the scanners. It looks as if they now realise the problems.

  5. #5
    littlebib
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    ryanair charge a wheelchair supplement! to everyone so at least its not desrimination

  6. #6
    Senior Member RaeUK's Avatar
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    I just wanted to bump this thread back up. So I'll do so with a happy tale.

    I live in rural West Dorset. For the last six months I've been stuck without a car (it was stolen by a garage, long story). I don't walk that well or that far but for emergency shopping - electric key charging, that sort of thing - I can get the bus from my village (no facilities) three miles to the next village (civilisation, it has a shop). Over the months, the drivers have got to know me and got used to me. They are patient, giving me time to get my breathing sorted whilst I try and get my bus pass out. And as they have come to understand my slight drawbacks, so they have proved to be quite caring. On the rare occasions I get a bus to the next village (it's also where my GP is) but arrange a lift back, then I have to make sure I let the driver know otherwise they'll be looking out for me and getting worried that I haven't made it to the return journey. Maybe bus drivers are all like* that or maybe it's a rural country thing. Either way, it's good old fashioned customer service and a thumbs up from me.

    * apparently not, I've just been reading beau's experiences. I am lucky, if there are a dozen people on the bus it's considered a very busy trip!
    Last edited by RaeUK; 23-09-12 at 02:28.

  7. #7
    littlebib
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    beats the london underground, used it once but never again. just too busy

  8. #8
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    Virgin trains attendants have helped me with my luggage and when I have bought things from the shop back to my seat... Again I am not in a wheelchair, so the awareness has come through customer service based training. I've had good experiences on trains although some smaller stations have no lifts, which is fine if I have no luggage.

    Buses ok, although not within walkable distance (for me) from my house. Bus drivers do not wait until i am seated to pull away which can be quite scary as my 'balancing' skills aren't the same as non-disabled - that's my only bus negativity!

    Rachael

  9. #9
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    Thanks for all the replies so far, I'll pass them on.

    Thanks again.
    Motability Car History
    05/09-05/12; Nissan Qashqai 1.5 Diesel Tekna; 36,500 miles; avg 41.1mpg
    06/12-07/15; Ford C-Max 2.0 Diesel Titanium Powershift; 35,400 miles; avg 37.8mpg
    07/15-09/17; Skoda Octavia 1.6 Diesel SE-L DSG; 28,200miles; avg 43.9mpg
    09/17-Present; VW Touran 1.4 Petrol SEL DSG; 11,600miles; avg 35.9mpg (28.6 - 43.9mpg)

    Click here to send me an email with any private Motoring questions you may have. Replies usually within 48hrs

  10. #10
    Whilst on holiday in Torquay Devon 2010 we got the route 32 to Torquay Circus. The disabled bay was occupied by others who were asked to move so i could get my wheelchair in the said space. Nothing too much trouble even helping us off at the destination.

    Next day the wanted to get the same bus to the same destination to get a bus to Exeter. Same driver came along and there were just three people on the bus. That same driver refused us entry and shut the doors and drove off. Hence we didnt get to Exeter The company are Stagecoach.

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