15 Apr 2009

Trains and Disability

As an impaired person myself, I frequently suffer discrimination that I consider people without impairments wouldn't even consider.

The details on accessibility to trains today on You & Yours come under this category.

I have problems with my hands. Carrying, lifting and stability are paramount to me. The obvious things to effect me in public are shopping, driving, typing, etc. So what, you may ask, is affected at Train Stations?

When I first graduated I had to go to a remote station for work. I needed to take my laptop and files. But the train station had an over pass with stairs. No slopes. I developed a good relationship with the guard and he would carry my case over for me. But He was only in place from 6am to 2pm. So when I finished work I was effectively discriminated against as I could not get my case home.

Current legislation on UK trains are to allow impaired customers to prebook and therefore have accesibility needs met when arriving. I consider that this in itself is discrimination. Why should I have to be treated differently? It prevents me from spontenaity, attending meetings by public transport and makes me feel isolated in the presence of able bodied passengers.

Fascinatingly the EU does not impose legislation on this, merely advises. But if you compare, the UK is far behind services in other countries.

Not only that, but a number of charities and committees on the behalf of disability and accessibility quote statistics as high as a third of customers are failed by rail services, including being left on trains, left on empty platforms and generally not receiving the required assistance.

Take into account the highest train fares in Europe I do wonder what exactly customers are paying for, disabled or otherwise.

An aside, yes there are disability concessions IF you are the highest mobility rate but this actually means you need a 24hr carer and cannot be alone; so the likelihood of rail travel is greatly decreased.

It would be wonderful to see this changed, but the bitter truth is unless it is a pledge of a potential government, impaired persons do not have the demonstrative impact of other minority groups, let alone the energy.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hi, thanks for commenting. I moderate all comments before publishing, hence your comment will not appear immediately! But I will get to it sooner or later!