Trains, buses, toilets (and Glastonbury!) our Ambassadors discuss accessibility

Stay Up Late Ambassadors discuss accessibility

Recently, the Stay Up Late Ambassadors met to talk about accessibility. The discussion was led by Jason. Jason has a physical disability as well as a learning disability.

Jason: “Some places are quite crap on accessibility. It could be access with public toilets. It could be access for wheelchair users.”

Jason tries to make sure his disability does not stop him having new adventures or trying new things though – like going to Glastonbury last year.

Jason: “With Glastonbury it was pretty challenging with my back. I was born with Scoliosis and accessibility can be quite challenging if you’re walking too far or sitting down too much. So getting around Glastonbury would be quite hard if I didn’t use the mobility scooter. It also depends how many people are about as well. Luckily enough we didn’t have much rain last year so there was no mud. I think in some areas they could improve. But otherwise my experience of Glastonbury was really good.”

Daniel also has mobility issues and requires assistance on public transport, particularly trains where he needs a ramp to access the carriage.

Daniel: “I’ve had a number of mobility and accessibility issues. A few months ago I got to the station, got to the platform, said to the guard will you put the ramp out? He said ‘No, it’s too dangerous. I had to make an official complaint and the train company apologised.”

Daniel: “And if you go on the platform sometimes the guard will come and say come down to this end please. And I end up walking about half a mile down the platform.”

Unfortunately, sometimes the ramps are not even there at all.

Daniel: “Even though ramps have been ordered they haven’t always been there for me.”

And booking the ramps can be a bit of a palaver.

Daniel: “I do see the point of booking it but having to book it 24 hours in advance is stupid because you have to work out what you’re doing the day before.”

Jason: “I think you should be able to plan a ramp on the day. Because you don’t always know how long you’re going to be or how early you’re going to come back.”

Buses can also be a hassle, particularly some of the passengers.

Jason: “It’s more about getting a seat to sit on with me. That’s the only issue I have with the buses. When I have to ask someone to move and they don’t which annoys me. Then I have to speak to the driver.”

Daniel: “I ask people if I can sit down on the bus and they stare at me as if I’ve got two left legs or two left ears.”

Sophie is clear that changing attitudes is important, though she thinks things are slowly improving.

Sophie: “People with pushchairs have got to put pushchairs down if a wheelchair user gets on the bus. Attitudes are starting to get a bit better.”

Jason: “People need better training.”

Sophie mentioned a couple of really important initiatives.

Sophie: “A couple of years ago Mencap and Learning Disability Wales did a campaign about Changing Places. Where people with disabilities who are incontinent and have got really severe learning disabilities can use toilets accessibly. So they’ve used disabled toilets and made them bigger and got equipment for people.”

You can find more information about the Changing Places campaign here.

Sophie: “For those who have got a hidden disability there is a sunflower lanyard and if people have got a hidden disability and may need help then others can see them.”

What are your thoughts on accessibility? Let us know.

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