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Thread: Public Transport

  1. #21
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    For the OP - my experience, as a wheelchair user of bus travel (or not as the case maybe) in particular.

    I live in a village between two major towns which has a 'reasonable' (i use the term loosely) bus service of one bus each way every two hours. Investment over the past few years means the buses are modern low floor buses with ramps, wheelchair spaces x2, etc and all the bus stops on the route have been nicely adapted with raised bits so the buses ramp comes down at nice a shallow angle for wheelchairs etc etc. The drivers are even very friendly and helpful. Great you may say and it is.

    Except however, it is now the victim of its own success.

    The improvements to the service has led to an increase of wheelchair users using the bus. The problem of course being you wait at the village bus stop, and the bus comes along only to find both wheelchair spaces are already occupied by people who got on in villages before my village. The the driver although apologetic is not allowed to let on any more wheelchair passengers. If lucky enough to get on the bus in the wheelchair, further wheelchair users are often left behind further down route.

    Now, in big cities like London, this isn't really a problem, as the next bus is 5 or 10 later. However where the buses run at two hours intervals and there are only 4 of them per day, it is a problem.

    In my village alone there are three wheelchair users. I have actually been waiting at the bus stop when the other two wheelchair users have appeared also wanting to go into town on the same bus. All of use were disappointed to find the two wheelchair spaces were already in use!!

    If you happen to be in town, it is a bit like wheelchair 'whacky races' to be first to the bus, before other wheelchair users get to it, particularly if it is the last bus of the day (at 4.45pm).

    Having spoken to the council and the bus company often, the problems are that the route is only used 'moderately' by 'foot passengers' so the company and the council cannot justify more services on the route, even on Market days/Fridays and Saturdays when the bus is very busy and all seats are occupied all day.

    The bus company has made inquiries but no bus manufacturer of 'general purpose' buses makes them with more than two wheelchair spaces - and if the bus company tried to 'convert one' itself it would have to meet all crash worthiness, accessibility and god knows how many other rules and regulations which makes it impractical. Also add in the fact that 'Double Deckers' cannot be used - too may low bridges and weight restrictions along the whole route.

    So, despite having a new shiny bus pass - I take the car. at least I know I won't be stuck anywhere!!

    Paul.
    Last edited by PaulG; 03-11-14 at 14:38.

  2. #22
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    if the bus company tried to 'convert one' itself it would have to meet all crash worthiness, accessibility and god knows how many other rules and regulations which makes it impractical.
    I suspect that this is a 'dont want to do it' excuse, because they don't want to lose the seats.

    With a modern bus the seats and poles make very little difference to the structural integrity of the vehicle, you could remove the lot and the Vehicle Type Approval would still be valid. And next time you're on the bus take a look at how easily they could be unbolted and removed or repositioned.

    The bus company has made inquiries but no bus manufacturer of 'general purpose' buses makes them with more than two wheelchair spaces
    Again what they are telling you is wrong.
    Just had a quick look on the website of Alexander Dennis, the largest bus manufacturer in the UK.
    The first 'general purpose' single decker I looked at is advertised with an option of "quickly removeable seats to accommodate multiple wheelchairs."
    http://www.alexander-dennis.com/products/enviro300/

    They just dont want to lose the seats, more seats = more passengers = more money.

  3. #23
    Senior Member beau's Avatar
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    nukecad, very valid points. Besides which to make more wheelchair space would mean more prams would be able to get on still limiting places for those who really need them.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by s7even View Post
    London busses have a button on the side that makes a ramp pop out and it makes a suitably retarded alarm noise so everyone within 50 yards knows to stare at the unfortunate wheelchair user trying to do something as mundane as ride a bus.

    What would be ideal is if that system existed on trains. Relying on people to get a ramp set up when you embark is mildly inconvenient and irritating. Being stuck on a train because the assistance you booked and were on time for didn't have a ramp ready is frustrating.
    I have been that person stuck on a train at Euston waiting for a ramp. I've also been on London buses. But you are never going to get such a system on trains. Varied stock through out the country means carriages are differing HEIGHTS so varied angle of descent.
    And the gap is most definitely larger in some stations! I've been to Euston, Bham, Wolverhampton, Bath, Bristol, Blackpool, Shrewsbury,Manchester,Lancaster,Preston and Telford this year, with electric wheels by train, and can vouch for that.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by reddivine View Post
    I have been that person stuck on a train at Euston waiting for a ramp.
    But that was just an inconvenience, it could have been worse. Imagine a scenario that the carriage you were in at Euston was on fire and there was no one on hand to get you out !!!!


    Quote Originally Posted by reddivine View Post
    Varied stock through out the country means carriages are differing HEIGHTS so varied angle of descent.
    Not quite. It's the platform height which is the variable, not so much the height of the trains.


    Quote Originally Posted by reddivine View Post
    And the gap is most definitely larger in some stations!
    Yes you're right. The 'gap' at stations has to cater for the envelope of the widest trains approved to operate over that section of line, and will also be greater when the platform edge follows a curve in the track, i.e. the track alignment through the station platform is not straight.


    Chris

  6. #26
    Senior Member Lighttouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmyS View Post
    Britain is about twenty years or so behind other western countries.

    I recall the transport system in New York City, their rail and buses were impressive, this was back in April 1993. Seems we have a long way to catch up.
    Well I never - I was in New York for a week about 1996 just at the time Frank Sinatra died as the Empire State Building was lit up in blue to honour him - old blue eyes.

    I remember that the subway had been totally cleaned up and the mayor at the time had a 'zero tolerance' on crime.

    Besides using yellow cabs we used the subway and if I remember the platforms were raised to the same height as the subway for easy accss. They were using something like an Oyster card then so when you hoped off the subway you could use a bus for free if it was within the last 30 minutes of your last journey by bus or subway.

    In Manchester, they've only just opened a new piece of metro link up from Cornbrook to Manchester Airport - a year in advance.

    The Metrolink is very accessible with raised platforms and bobbled paving to tell blind people where the disabled access point is. There are platform screens that tell you what's coming next and how long it will take to get there.

    The driver announces each station as approached too. The Metrolink is free to use after 9.30am if you have a GMPTE discretionary pass card.

  7. #27
    Senior Member beau's Avatar
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    "bobbled paving" the correct name for this is "tactile paving" according to the chap who is in charge of its installation at our County Council.

  8. #28
    Senior Member AmyS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lighttouch View Post
    They were using something like an Oyster card then so when you hoped off the subway you could use a bus for free if it was within the last 30 minutes of your last journey by bus or subway.

    In Manchester, they've only just opened a new piece of metro link up from Cornbrook to Manchester Airport - a year in advance.

    The Metrolink is very accessible with raised platforms and bobbled paving to tell blind people where the disabled access point is. There are platform screens that tell you what's coming next and how long it will take to get there.

    The driver announces each station as approached too. The Metrolink is free to use after 9.30am if you have a GMPTE discretionary pass card.
    Exactly. Twenty years and we've still not come up to the standard.
    London is pretty good i.e. underground, though very slow to access. Buses, love the announcements, you know where you are, also they seem to be on a electrical 'thingywhatsit' so you have an idea when they are due to arrive. They must trigger something as they pass the previous bus stop.

    Where I live, most of the bus stops have digital signage - except, the fact they say the bus is due in 2mins, 10 minutes later it says 2mins, 30 mins later sign still says 2mins. When you are really lucky it might turn up - the longest 2mins (2mins or 4mins etc...) I've ever known and I live in a major city. Very disappointing.

    Sundays are worse. They only run every 30 mins and I'm about the 10th/12th stop from where they set off i.e. a small terminus that they change over the bus number. It's already full when it gets to me. Any wheelchair or person with walking sticks - no chance of a seat. Every bus only has ONE space for a wheelchair.

    Tuesday morning I did my usual - taxi to the GP, was going to order one to come back but thought I'd take a chance with the bus. It was an absolute nightmare it arrived with 60+ students, 40 seated and the rest standing. I had no choice but to stand - no chance of getting a seat, after all we're invisible (disabled or elderly etc).

    Apologies that's my rant, will stick to taxis and soon my car.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisD View Post
    But that was just an inconvenience, it could have been worse. Imagine a scenario that the carriage you were in at Euston was on fire and there was no one on hand to get you out !!!!


    Not quite. It's the platform height which is the variable, not so much the height of the trains.


    Yes you're right. The 'gap' at stations has to cater for the envelope of the widest trains approved to operate over that section of line, and will also be greater when the platform edge follows a curve in the track, i.e. the track alignment through the station platform is not straight.


    Chris
    If you read the number of stations I've been to, and I've travelled with Arriva, London Midland, Virgin, South West, Cross Country, Northern Rail then i have to disagree, in part. The height of the carriage door varies from line to line. The angle of ascent of a ramp has definitely varied.
    As for an inconvenience - bear in mind i book assistance days in advance. The train staff speak to me when on board. And yet, EVERYONE including the staff gets off before I can, even the cleaning staff are trying to work round me. I know they have a lot of folks to deal with but I've been waiting 10 minutes. Everyone else has left the platform, to mis-quote Elvis!

  10. #30
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    Reddivine I know the feeling. Every couple of months work requires me to have a day in London, I'm in Manchester. It mostly works OK but this week I was ages waiting for the ramp at the end of both journeys. Late and cross, a letter has been written.

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