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To think public transport with a disability is a nightmare

(24 Posts)
Littleallovertheshop Wed 02-Dec-15 15:50:37

I travel frequently by public transport to avoid driving in the city/environmental issues etc - whenever I travel alone I'm constantly reminded of the disabilities I have because of difficulties faced. I strive to be independent and become really frustrated by little things which companies forget can cause major problems. Issues I've come across include:

No signage on trains to show where its going/the LED screen is showing the wrong information (it's easier to recall times it has worked on journeys than not)
Verbal announcements to say the train is missing stops/terminating early/delayed - i've sat on a train confused as to why it is emptying with no one to ask!
One lift to get to a platform which is at the opposite end of the station so you have to walk the length and back again
Having to book to get a wheelchair on and off a train in advance (no longer a problem for me, but it takes away any sense of freedom when everything demands such meticulous planning)
Toilets down flights of stairs and the disabled toilet out of order

Why is it that we have moved on so much as a society and yet still can't "do" disabilities so often? AIBU to think that there are little things which can be done and should be mandatory which would make life much easier for a lot of people?

I know public transport can be a pain even when you dont have a disability, but it's often taken to a whole new level when you do!

Samcro Wed 02-Dec-15 15:52:17

its why I never take dd on it. she is a WC user, so buses are even out.

AndNowItsSeven Wed 02-Dec-15 15:53:43

Yanbu unfortunately majority rules.

DonkeyOaty Wed 02-Dec-15 15:57:04

It's flipping awful. Yanbu.

Want2bSupermum Wed 02-Dec-15 16:06:46

Having DC and trying to get around with a stroller really opened my eyes to the plight faced by the disabled. It is so hard getting around with a stroller and the most I push these days is 90lbs (2 huge kids). I can't imagine trying to push a heavy adult. I don't take the bus with the kids unless its with DD4 and we take the umbrella stroller. The train is far better but still a challenge as the double doesn't fit in the new elevator at the station in the city.

There was an article I read a few years ago about a wheelchair user in London who was proposing a special badge for wheelchair users. I don't know enough about the whole disability badge scheme but it has surprised me that they don't categorize wheelchair users as a separate group given their needs are unique within the disabled badge population.

elliejjtiny Wed 02-Dec-15 16:13:11

YANBU. I sometimes get the bus with my disabled DC's. It's a nightmare. One of the reasons DH started working at home was because of the public transport problems (he can drive, I can't). He had to take a huge pay cut but it was worth it.

cleaty Wed 02-Dec-15 16:17:30

I agree. But you don't actually need to book a ramp onto the train now, just arrive a bit early and staff will help. My one annoyance is not being able to book a wheelchair space on a train over the internet. I can do it for the cinema, so no idea why I can't do it for a train.

SauvignonBlanche Wed 02-Dec-15 16:17:46

YANBU, it's a nightmare!

madwomanbackintheattic Wed 02-Dec-15 16:22:48

Social model of disability. People are disabled by the environment. Yes.
I once took dd2 to London in her wheelchair and in the end two transport police physically carried her and her chair up about six flights of stairs to get out of the underground as no one (including them) could work out where the alleged lift for disabled access was....

cleaty Wed 02-Dec-15 16:22:54

And honestly, pushing DCs in a stroller, is not the same as being disabled. I am an adult for a start, and so want to go places without another adult accompanying me.
Also people who park over dropped kerbs really annoy me. It causes major problems if you use a wheelchair or scooter and can't physically get out of it.

cleaty Wed 02-Dec-15 16:24:52

I have had to pay for expensive taxis in London as there was no way physically to use public transport to get to my destination.

ElfontheShelfIsWATCHINGYOUTOO Wed 02-Dec-15 17:20:12

op i feel your pain, its awful, awful.

Want2bSupermum Wed 02-Dec-15 17:32:32

Cleaty Sorry if my comment offended. It wasn't meant that way. To be clear, I am saying how I was not fully aware of just how hard it is to get around when you are in a wheelchair until I was trying to get around with a stroller (stupid ignorant me!). A stroller is a million times easier to maneuver compared to a wheelchair and, as you say, you are an adult who values their independence. You should be able to go about your day without the need for someone else being there.

velourvoyageur Wed 02-Dec-15 17:44:06

YADNBU. I don't know anyone who uses a wheelchair & have no experience of being disabled but it does sometimes strike me what a pain it must be, when it could be easily fixed. Annoys me too when I see how few disabled access signs there are on the tube map.
Either fix the underground or introduce a subsidised taxi fare for those who need it.

SilverDragonfly1 Wed 02-Dec-15 18:47:22

Yes it is a nightmare. So much so that I can't write a long post about it because the anxiety and anger of thinking about it will keep me awake all night.

OhSoggyBiscuit Wed 02-Dec-15 18:52:47

Absolutely not being unreasonable. The lack of information at train stations frustrates the hell out of me too. (London Victoria has little to no information once you pass though the Oyster gates and the fucking Southeastern trains sometimes don't bother to tell you where you're going on the actual train either.)

Sirzy Wed 02-Dec-15 20:06:42

Thankfully we don't need to use buses but do use trains, what amazes me is the amount of people who think the wheelchair area is for luggage or their empty pram.

Thankfully Ds is in a SN buggy so at the moment I can still just about lift it onto a train, won't be as easy when he gets bigger though. One train station near us the lift is only just big enough to fit me and his buggy in so mind boggles what an adult in wheelchair with a carer is supposed to do!

BlueJug Wed 02-Dec-15 20:20:52

I agree. It is shameful. I am not disabled but even I can see how appalling it is.

A campaign?

Lizawithaz Wed 02-Dec-15 20:30:13

Muscular Dystrophy UK have a young disabled campaigners network called Trailblazers. They are currently investigating young disabled peoples experience of using public transport for a campaign that will be launched next year.

So if you are disabled and under 35 years, or you are a parent of a disabled young person, please fill in their survey.

cleaty Thu 03-Dec-15 09:10:45

Sirzy, you can ask staff to help you on the train. They will bring a ramp and get someone onto the train. You can also request assistance with luggage. Although that help materialising is a bit more hit and miss.
I have found trains a lot better than any other form of public transport. And way better than the old days when someone in a wheelchair had to ride in the Guards van.

TeaStory Thu 03-Dec-15 12:07:49

Yup. I'm disabled and some time ago I arrived at a local train station on a Saturday evening, bought my ticket and went through the barrier. Only when I got round the corner did I discover the lift was out of order (the only other way to the platform is up a huge steep flight of stairs). The station had no staff on, either.

My DH carried me up the stairs.

Okay, so lifts sometimes break and need repairs that can't happen immediately. But why not put a sign up outside, before the ticket machine and barrier, to let people know? Perhaps have a shuttle bus to take people to the next accessible station? Or even a member of staff to provide assistance?

UptownFunk00 Thu 03-Dec-15 12:18:40

It's a nightmare as a VI person it really is.

Small/no signs
No announcements(or irregular)
As I'm not completely blind it's a bit of an invisible disability I.e you've got nothing wrong with you
Not being able to see big lAndmarks as people stand in the way.

That's without a toddler in tow smile

ZebraOwl Fri 04-Dec-15 11:03:01

Oh, it's a mare.

When using my wheelchair:
* I've had buses not stop to let me on & not put out the ramp to let me off either.
* I once had a driver claim he wasn't - LEGALLY - allowed to reverse at the bus stop to bring the bus into a position where he could deploy the ramp & thus allow me on. Please report all drivers you see reversing their buses near bus-stops from now on, because it turns out it's illegal for them to do so...
* lost count of number of times people have rammed their prams into my feet & seemed surprised when I found it painful to have said appendages crushed...
* innumerable counts of people getting hufty about my wanting to use the wheelchair space
* have had to be carried off the train to prevent my being carried away by the train as SEFail staff haven't showed up (thank you, burly & not-so-burly strangers)
* been carried over the stairs to the ticket office & exit (by my Daddy, with A Nice Man carrying my chair) after train came in on Wrong Platform - "lucky" I only weighed a smidge over seven stone then, thanks to the feeding tube I've gained about a stone since...
* had a member of the public rather than a member of staff intervene when someone decided to shriek ableist abuse at me on the first time I went out by myself in my wheelchair (such a nice lady, I really didn't mean to cry all over her)
* struggled to negotiate the pavements & "dropped" kerbs
* felt basically LAUGHED at by the tube map
* I can't self-propel very well as my "lightweight" chair is still 15kg & I'm prone to upper body dislocations & dubious spinal antics. So I need someone with me when I go out. So people stop talking to me & start talking to whoever's trundling me around. So on the occasion Daddy carried me over the railway bridge, HE was asked what help HE needed including "do you want me to carry her for you mate?" Daddy absolutely won't have any of that (like when hospital staff try to discuss my treatment with him despite the fact I am a grown woman & I've not lived with him since I was 20!) & politely says they need to ask me as he's just following my directions...
* people casually moving me out of their way/trying to... It boggles the mind, it really does...

When bopping about sans wheelchair (which is most of the time & I'm working very hard to keep it that way - clearly not meaning other wheelchair users are lazy slackers!):
* falling over on public transport because I don't "look disabled" & people don't want to know... That's happened less since I've had the end of an NJ tube plastered across my face though, I have to admit...
* finding myself, 5'4" & 7 stone & not meant to try to lift heavy objects for a whole range of reasons, hauling a man a foot taller & (at least?) twice as heavy off the tube when TFL staff didn't show up to help him off. It was at London Bridge where there's a huge drop to the platform. We attracted quite a crowd of interested observers but no offers of help & the poor chap was convinced he was going to kill me but terrified he & his broken leg we're going to be whisked away to the far reaches of the Northern Line. The casual stroll into the platform of the staff with the ramp as I was rearranging my joints & reassuring the poor bloke it really was ok & they did it all the time was somewhat infuriating...
* stairs at tube stations... I'm not lazy, I promise, stairs just make me want to cry in pain & I'm much more likely to fall on them than on the flat
* the shovitty-jostling at crowded stations can't be much fun for anyone, but due to the nature of my disability it doesn't take very much to knock me right over &/or dislocate a joint (or several) &/or cause extensive bruising (boo associated bleeding disorder, boo)

As a London Resident I have a Taxicard, which gets me cheaper cab fares through ComCab. I pay £2.50 for a fare of up to £11.50 (I think that's what it is) & I live in one of the Boroughs that allows double-swiping (using your card twice in one journey). You can book your cab online or over the phone or pick them up at a rank/hail them in a street (you need to look for the ComCab logo & check they're willing to take a Taxicard fare). £11.50 on a taxi meter isn't an awfully long way a lot of the time though, especially in central London's heavy traffic; and you get allocated a set number of journeys per year. I worry so much about using all my journeys & not having any left when I desperately need them that I of course never use all of them! I also worry about ending up in a cab journey I can't afford, so keep pressing on. Or just stay at home, which of course is a huge issue for many people with disabilities. Not my staying at home, though clearly that means you are all being deprived of the chance to meet me in person & marvel at my wit charm & radiant good looks etc - social isolation is a really big issue & a rubbish public transport system certainly isn't going to help...

BeyondThirty Fri 04-Dec-15 11:18:52


Think i've told this before - toilets at one end of a vague place were womens/mens only, womens up a flight of stairs. Told disabled toilets are at the other end or i can use the mens. Wheel myself bloody miles up to the other end to find disabled toilets are locked (non-radar), no attendant nearby hmm have to go in ladies, which is at least possible at this end, though i have to pee with the door open and there are no rails so it is bloody hard work.

Return journey, there is an attendant around. I compain about the locked toilets as he unlocks them for me, he says it is to stop other people trashing the place. I point out that i'd rather pee in a filthy toilet than wet myself because i cant get in to a nice clean one! I get the hmm look.

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