9 August 2012 To Ramp or Not To Ramp
A few weeks ago on 26 July, about 16:00 I headed out again after an earlier outing because the weather was so lovely. I went back to Westfield Stratford on the Central Line from home to go watch the new Batman film with my sister.
However, I got stuck at Leytonstone for over 40 minutes (as the train suddenly terminated) because I couldn't get off the train since they didn't have a ramp.
Leytonstone LU Staff were talking about having to get the fire brigade to help, as they didn't know what to do! Though, thanks to an LU Staff member who brought a ramp from my home station (also on the Central Line), he helped get me off, cross the platform, get me on the other train and then finally make my way to Stratford; but, I had to get off myself with no ramp as there was only one LU Staff member. Thanks TfL: HURRAH, welcome to London!
Once at Stratford and FOUR lifts later, I made it to the cinema! At that point, when buying my ticket with my sister at the box office, the sale person says there's actually another lift upstairs to screens with disabled seating, but as it's not working I had to sit right in the front of the screen. Great.
Though, after a bit of a fuss because I didn't want to sit right in the front (for obvious reasons), he spoke to his manager and now says the lift is working only that someone snapped off the key from the lobby. So I could use the lift but someone just had to call it from upstairs. And that was that.
Thankfully, I made it just in time for the film.
What a day indeed: All in just one day in the life of Mr. Sulaiman Khan!
A scenario like this is another strong case why ramps should be used but it now makes me think to slightly revise my recommendations to TfL in my recent article for Disability Horizon that ramps should be made available at all station. This is because in this specific example despite me not being even able to get out of Leytonstone station since it's not accessible, if they had a ramp at least I could get off the train, cross the platform and to get on to another train in situations where the trains suddenly terminates.
In my opinion, ramps are a definite positive for all.
By Sulaiman Khan