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accessible transport | The view from down here

Tag: accessible transport

I’ve been busy

I have a lot to say, but a combination of tired and still busy means this will be a quickie. But I’ve missed blogging so here I am.

It’s been a very disability week after a fun weekend.

Starting with:

While visiting a friend on the weekend I was asked to be part of a news story on the rather ridiculous closure of a lift to three platforms at the busiest interchange in Sydney for 10 weeks to upgrade the lift. The lift upgrade is great but 10 weeks? C’mon. Anyway, here’s the piece.

Apart from being refereed to as wheelchair bound I like it. I got to state the obvious and pose for a bit.

It may not sound that big a deal, but I’m right:

“I need to use Town Hall station almost daily to get to business, medical and other appointments,’’ she said. “I’m not sure how I’m going to organise my life for the next three months. It’s just going to add cost, time and inconvenience.’‘

.

And after sitting at the station for 20 minutes to wait for the photographer and hearing the announcement of the lift closure several other times since, this article is the first time anyone from RailCorp has apologised to me for the inconvenience.

The annoying thing is not so much the increased distances but the fact that if I have to change trains it is another point at which I must seek permission to board a train at convenience other than my own. Something that most if not all other  taxpayers don’t have to stoop to.

It was posed but this is how I feel. Thanks for the photo Melvyn.

Joanna waiting at the bottom of staires

awkward again

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Good ol’ Brits

BBC News – One in ten ‘cannot use London Tube or buses’.

The study claimed:

  • Only 10 of London’s 270 Tube stations are completely step-free all the way from street level to train.
  • Just one third of London’s 300 rail stations have step-free access from street to platform.
  • While all London’s buses now have ramps, only half of London’s 17,476 bus stops meet the criteria for full accessibility.

Despite this I still found it easier to use transport in London when I was there 7 years ago, then I did until very recently here. Why with all the claims to history and tradition in the UK was I able to use transport and buildings like I was supposed to be there?a train

Two London transport moments stick in my memory as defining life moments, catching my first cab right out of St Pancras station – with taxi driver almost traumatised — not because he had to pick me up; but rather because he (the very next cab that came along) had picked me up – I cried for joy for 10 pounds worth, and couldn’t tell him why or where I was going! The second moment was when I could even then catch a bus, any bus I wanted before I had caught one as easily in my homeland. I was floored that nobody looked askance.

I accept that the London tube was then and seems now to be all but useless to a be-wheeled being and am glad to see they are doing something about it as it would’ve useful then, but I get the sense they are working from a rights based mentality, not a “she’ll be right”s based one and that will make all the difference, then, now and in the future.

Why do I get a lovely buzz in my tummy (because it’s so rare) when, even now, here in Australia, the right bus is the first bus that comes along and it’s accessible? After a couple of weeks in London all those years ago, I simple assumed it would work and it did!

The other thing that occurs to me as positive is that the Pommes seem willing through their mainstream media to have the discussion about access based on a report, not based on the case of some poor brave headline making person with impairment. Based on a report on the topic, transport, not the minority, disability.

The Governments here in contrast would if I’m not wrong be claiming that 90% was good enough and such a report would never have elicited this response:

Val Shawcross AM, chairwoman of the transport committee, called the situation “simply unacceptable”.

It isn’t perfect but it’s a start. The right start.

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as the train flies

The ironic thing is that according to this and the accessible bus timetable for the inner west of Sydney on a Saturday I could probably get to lunch in Melbourne some 963 km away faster than I can travel from outside a depot next door up the road to lunch 4kms away.

To the extent that I had to once again schedule my day around the bus timetable, given that I want to look after the planet too.

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