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Anahita explains why inaccessible transport make her feel isolated

Blog by Anahita Harding who is a Trustee of Transport for All. This blog and its content reflect the views of the author only.

Anahita is a wheelchair user. In this blog, she explains the issues she faces while travelling every day.


Buses:

“There aren’t many occasions when there hasn’t been an incident with a buggy or luggage being placed in the wheelchair area on the bus, especially in London where it is so busy. A few weeks ago, while waiting for a bus, a bus driver said I couldn’t get on because there was a buggy on board. I have this exchange with drivers so often that I didn’t have the energy to have an argument.

However a passenger demanded that the driver made more of an effort to tell the mother to fold her buggy, as the wheelchair is a priority in the wheelchair space. An argument ensued, with the passenger questioning the driver’s attitude, the driver claiming that he was doing the right thing and following procedure. After a while the driver asked the mother if she could fold the buggy (this is what he should have done first), and she claimed “it wouldn’t fold”. The driver decided I couldn’t get on and just drove off. It felt humiliating, but because it happens so often I try to stay calm and not to be too upset. As a result, I missed my train that morning and had to take a later one”.


Tube:

“On many occasions when I lived and studied around Central London, I was invited to friends’ houses, to parties and events. But as I couldn’t take the Tube, and it would take two or three buses there and back, I would end up not going at all. This made me feel extremely frustrated.

I tend to avoid the tube as much as possible. I know that the majority of stations aren’t accessible, and even when they are shown as accessible on the Tube map, there are issues such as lifts frequently breaking. I can’t take the risk so I have to take alternative forms of transport such as the bus.

It makes me feel quite isolated at times- I just know that I will have to have a stressful journey, where I am worrying about whether there will be a ramp or not at the stations that are accessible, or whether or not the lift will break down”.

Street:

“There are many occasions when a lack of drop kerbs on pavements causes problems for my journey. For example a couple of days ago I was on my way to a presentation for people interested in volunteering for hospital radio, but as I went along the pavement- on a main road- I was faced with a huge kerb. There was a small road between this kerb and another huge kerb to make it to the other side. If I have someone travelling with me- which I usually don’t- they could have helped me down and up the kerbs. But I was on my own, and had to turn back.


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