A Not So Accessible Public Transport Network?

Here’s the article that i talked about needing to write in
This Post
last week. Well it’s a draft anyway. I thought i’d put it up here anyway. Let me know what you think. I can’t be bothered putting it behind a cut. Enjoy!!!! Please give me any feedback you have.

A NOT SO ACCESSIBLE PUBLIC TRANSPORT NETWORK?

The next time you go to get on a bus or train, think about how lucky you are. You have readily available time tables, and you can tell just by looking at the front of a bus exactly where it is going.

Now, imagine what it would be like if you are blind or visually impaired…..

Everyone dreams of independence, don’t they? Well part of becoming independent is travel. So how exactly does one travel independently when they want to use public transport? Well it can be done, but it is a bit of a challenge sometimes.

Picture this: you are waiting for a bus at a local bus stop, and there are a lot of busses that have just pulled in. What do you do? This is the dilemma faced by thousands of visually impaired people every day. If you have some vision, you might be able to see where the busses are going to, but what if you’re totally blind? Do you risk embarrassing yourself and getting on every bus to ask “Where does this bus go to?” or “Could I go to such and such”?

I don’t think many of us would like to do this to be honest. I know I wouldn’t. So what’s the answer?

Well you just have to hope that someone will be willing to help you get on the right bus. Often people will be happy to help you, if you need it. Some bus stations tell you what platform or “Stand” to go to. This is great, but there are that many busses that arrive, it makes it hard to locate what bus is what, because they all have their engines running, which makes them all sort of meld together. Plus, you have the added trouble of actually getting to that “Stand” that is for your particular bus. You could always ask a member of staff to wait with you, but this will not always happen, so you just have to hope that someone will be kind enough to get you on the right one.

Once you are on the required bus, it probably doesn’t get any easier. You have absolutely no verbal announcements at all. You just have to hope that the driver won’t change half way through your journey. If they do change, you have to hope that the other driver has bothered to say that there is someone with a visual impairment on the bus.

You could always memorise your stops along the way, but if it is a long journey, this could get tiring. Plus, the bus could go a different route, or there could be road works.

The best option seems to be on a train. The trains don’t seem to come as often as busses do. Plus there is only one train at a time that can come to a platform. It will be much easier to find the right train this way.

Trains usually don’t change drivers half way through the journey which is good. Plus there are far less stops on a train than a bus. Also, before you get to a station, there is an announcement telling you what station it is coming up to, then what stops are after that.

The only thing you have to worry about is if you have to change trains, or when getting on and off, is the gap between the platform and the train. However this isn’t as bad as it was before the new trains were introduced. Plus, there will always be someone who will be available to help!!!!!

It’s not all doom and gloom however. Many visually impaired people use busses far more than trains. But remember, just consider how others will have to plan their journeys, and the amount of effort that is involved for a visually impaired persons’ quest for independent travel.

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