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Lift access policy and monitoring

(19 Posts)
NoHaudinMaWheest Thu 09-Feb-17 18:23:40

Dd is 16, doing A levels and a wheelchair user. One of her classes is on the ninth floor of a tower block. The building is probably 60s/70s and not built with disabled access in mind. There are two small lifts and two staircases.
At lesson change over times it is extremely busy (large FE college). Dd often has to wait for ages for a space in a lift and is frequently late for her class. She says that though some fellow students will let her into the lift and tick off other students who are ignoring her, she is mostly invisible or the others are too engrossed in their phones to notice.
There is small notice by the lift asking that disabled users are given priority but this is not enforced in any consistent way.
I have spoken to the person in charge of equal access at the college who said that they were aware of the problem but didn't think they could do much about it.
I suggested a pass system. Obviously it would still need to be monitored but it would flag up that some people have a real need to use the lift. The college person was concerned that a pass would be stigmatising. confused
AIBU to think that the college really needs to tackle this issue more pro actively? They could designate one of the lifts, use a lift pass scheme or at least do some awareness raising in pastoral tutorials.
I am interested if anyone has experience of implementing policies regarding lift use in large buildings so that I can pass ideas onto the college.

joangray38 Thu 09-Feb-17 18:30:17

I had the same problem as your daughter - uni did put a supervisor in each lift at peak times for a trial period but stopped it as it cost to much to have someone doing it when they should be teaching etc and students resented it, starting saying they had invisible disabilities and it was unfair.

MrsMoastyToasty Thu 09-Feb-17 18:34:15

It is possible to have a PIN system added to a lift (we had one at a place in used to work at). Surely they could install something like that or something like a radar key. ....

NoHaudinMaWheest Thu 09-Feb-17 18:43:58

joan sorry you had the same difficulty. Yes dd has had people claiming invisible disabilities. I am sure some do and it must be even worse for them trying to gain access to the lift but on one occasion it was obvious that they had just made the claim in order to use the lift. I am rather shocked at how selfish young, fit people can be.

mrsmoasty a PIN system sounds like a good idea.

Lozzy5790 Thu 09-Feb-17 18:53:56

When I went to college we had a pin to access the lift. If you had a reason to use the lift you went to reception and requested the pin number. They never asked why you needed to use the lift, so no problems with having to explain yourself or hidden disabilities, but people in general wouldn't go and get the pin if they didn't have a good reason to use the lift. I think the pin changed approx every 6 months, and if you definitely needed the lift (such as your daughter) then they would email it to you when it changed as well.

NoHaudinMaWheest Thu 09-Feb-17 19:04:11

lozzy that sounds like a good system. I think college feels that it is unreasonable to expect people to walk up 9 or 10 flights of stairs so the lifts need to be available to everyone. However the vast majority of students are 16-18 and although some of them will have medical or disability reasons which make using the stairs impractical, for most it would just be good exercise surely?

Lozzy5790 Thu 09-Feb-17 19:19:25

Honestly at that age I don't see why they shouldn't. I'm honestly appalled that people are pushing in front of your daughter to get on the lifts. I'd hate to do 9 flights of stairs now but I still would if it was space for me or a wheelchair in a lift. I've got a choice to be lazy, wheelchair users don't have a choice on whether to use the lift or not.

I'd say get on at them again. And keep on at them until they sort something out.

NoHaudinMaWheest Thu 09-Feb-17 19:30:04

Thanks lozzy it is hard to get perspective sometimes.
I want to put something in writing but feel I need to have positive suggestions or it will just be ignored hence this thread.

Lozzy5790 Thu 09-Feb-17 19:49:07

Well, I hope you get it sorted.

BlackeyedSusan Thu 09-Feb-17 20:01:14

the legal ruling about bus wheelchair/pushchair may be relevant here. the bus company did not do enough.

dd does have an invisible disability but we can prove it with a folder full of appointment letters. (as does ds) so a pass system would be good.

NoHaudinMaWheest Thu 09-Feb-17 20:39:40

susan in the bus case the space is dedicated for wheelchairs with others allowed to use it if no wheelchair user needs it. The lifts have been installed for everyone to use so it is more a case of trying to get priority of some kind. I am not sure how much the principle will transfer (though it ought to).

Rainydayspending Thu 09-Feb-17 20:45:41

College I worked at restricted access for one lift in each building for staff and students who applied for an "accessability pass". No stigma attached.
Entirely to tackle the issue of timeliness for students who could not use the stairs (and staff when escorting visitors around/ urgent messages etc). I'd be pushing the course rep/ student rep/ student services/ equalities officer very hard to implement something practical.

PuffedPastry Thu 09-Feb-17 21:18:14

Aren't the college required by law to make 'reasonable adjustments' to allow your daughter to fully participate in her course?

helpfulperson Thu 09-Feb-17 21:23:33

On a tangent I would ask the college what procedures are in place to get your daughter out in an emergency when lifts can't be used. Rearranging her classes to lower floors may be a more sensible Reasonable Adjustment than getting her in a lift.

confuugled1 Thu 09-Feb-17 21:46:48

I would also be asking why she is expected to just suck up being consistently late for these lessons - it means that over the course of a year or two she will have missed a lot of lesson time which isn't fair on her. As it's a result of her disability I'd have thought that there would have been a way of arguing that they need to make arrangements to ensure that she doesn't have to miss lesson time due to the lift problems and that by not doing so they're not fulfilling their obligations under the law...

NoHaudinMaWheest Thu 09-Feb-17 21:59:52

helpful they do have emergency evacuation procedures.

I get the feeling that college consider the mere provision of a lift and changing her class from the 10th floor which isn't served by the lift to the 9th sufficient adjustment. But as you point out Puffed and confuulged that isn't enough to allow her to fully participate. She also gets very anxious about the inevitable daily battle.
Lots of ammunition for a strongly worded letter thanks all.

MidniteScribbler Thu 09-Feb-17 22:24:44

It sounds like the facilities are inadequate for their needs. Nine/ten floors is a quite a lot of stairs to walk, and someone walking up or down that many flights of stairs is probably then going to be late for their classes too. Or if they are all waiting for the lift, then there's still going to be many who are late. Whilst those with a disability should have priority, it doesn't seem like it would solve the lateness issue for all students.

Could an option be that classes end five minutes earlier and start five minutes later? Therefore giving everyone time to access the different levels, either by stairs or lift? Alternatively, if there is two lifts, could one be designated for disability access and the other for general use?

NoHaudinMaWheest Thu 09-Feb-17 22:31:24

They have 15 mins between classes which is enough for most people. The difficulty is that a wheelchair is quite bulky so she can't just squeeze into a lift. I suggested having one lift designated for disabled users but college didn't think that was possible in terms of traffic flow.

melj1213 Thu 09-Feb-17 23:35:16

She should not have to miss out on lesson time because other people are being ignorant and refusing to let her in the lift ... if the issue is always having to wait, is there any chance she could be allowed to leave the class before the one on the 9th floor a minute or two early so she can get there first and through empty corridors?

It's not quite the same but when I broke my leg when I was in Sixth Form and was on crutches, I was allowed to leave classes a couple of minutes early so that I could navigate the halls/stairs safely to my next class without having to worry about getting barged into by the hundreds of other students trying to do the same thing.

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