End of the Line - Evidence
Stats in the area
In one in three journeys made in the South East of England the Trailblazers found some problem with the accessible facilities at the station, on the vehicle or with staff members’ lack of disability awareness training.
Judith Merry - Worminghall, Aylesbury
The only major negative point about the Oxford Tube coaches, like most coaches around the country, is that they only allow for one wheelchair user per bus. When travelling with my sister, who is also a wheelchair user, this means that we have to go in convoy and ensure we both get off at the right stop. This has caused problems on occasions.
One time the bus driver didn't stop at my Notting Hill stop where I needed to get off at. This was because the bell that notified him had failed to work. Luckily I was with a friend and on her insisting that we needed to get off immediately the bus driver eventually stopped five minutes later. Had I not been with a friend, I would have gone on into central London and not met Laura and my other friend at our meeting point.
Also to my annoyance the bus driver patronised me once he stopped the bus, saying that I hadn't pressed the call button properly enough, which I replied that it hadn't worked in the first place. The driver didn't believe me and went to check the button himself to discover to his 'surprise' that the indeed the button did not work. He did let me off but making a show of looking harassed, and there were no apologies from him being patronising.
Another incident was on my journey back to Oxford when the bus driver refused to let me on the bus at London Victoria. He thought the batteries in my electric wheelchair would self-combust. I pointed out to him that I had travelled previously on this exact bus service without any problems and it was how I got to London that morning.
I also informed him that my batteries were 'gel' batteries and that I've flown to Japan with my wheelchair just to make a bigger point. It was 12 at night and this bus was my only transport home, to say the least I wasn't very happy.
After radioing a 'higher authority' who then confirmed that it was fine for me to travel on the bus the bus driver apologised saying he had mistaken my chair for a scooter. It is not possible to mistake my wheelchair for a scooter.
Stephen Liney - Aylesbury
When using the train to London I have to stick to the times arranged 24hours in advance. If the right facilities, such as lifts, for example, were installed I would able to leave and enter the station without assistance.
I have previously asked for assistance in advance but sometimes I've either been ignored or been told that somebody would help in a couple of minutes. Fifteen minutes later there has still been no help. I know this is not uncommon and takes place across the country.
When at college I was always taught that the customer is the priority and their needs come first. It's great that Aylesbury has a new station but personally I believe that the old station should have been made accessible to all first.
Finally my question is one of equality. Why should any disabled person have to wait around for assistance or have to ring 24 hours in advance to use a station? If money is being spent on new stations let's make sure people abide by the law and spend some money on making old stations accessible too.
I also once got wedged between the doors of a bus because the driver assumed I would be faster at moving than I was able to. On another occasion I got on a bus after showing my disabled person's bus pass, but then wasn't given the chance to sit down before he had driven off.
Lottie Luckman - Romsey
I have not used public transport for many years, but one example from when I did is that some of the buses were not accessible for me due to large steps, however there were hourly buses that had smaller steps. On one occasion though this bus was not running. Luckily I had a friend who could help me onto the bus otherwise I would have been unable to get on.
I live in a rural area and have never been able to get the bus into the nearest town due to the fact that it had large steps. I am unsure whether this is still the case, but as far as I'm aware the same bus is still in use.
Read the full End of the Line report.