Travelling with mobility concerns? You are not alone. In the UK, 20% of the working-age population, that’s 8 million people, have a reported disability. How well do you think the UK does in providing good solutions for transportation these 8 million?
Whether you’re travelling to work, going shopping or doing any form of recreational activity, a wide range of transportation possibilities are available to travellers with disability. Yes, there are issues when travelling. A common complaint is that it’s not always possible to get a Blue Badge parking space at your local shopping and this doesn’t only affect our enjoyment of local amenities it impacts on our local economy.
The UK still has a massive obstacle to overcome with the accessibility of its public transportation.
Disability Travel On The Train
Disabled travellers still find it difficult to travel on any train, even though guidelines set out by the Disability Discrimination Act is 25 years old now. To anyone not disabled, who uses the train, will recall the dreaded last-minute platform changes, muffled out of the platform PA systems. Imagine changing platforms with mobility concerns, including sight or hearing impairment. This still happens today and whilst there are improvements they are not always well maintained.
Disability Travel On The Bus
Bus companies are one of the most accessible modes of transport and are continuing to push improvements. But, how progressive are we, when it was only 2 years ago that bus drivers were told that they can no longer ask a disabled passenger to leave a bus because of their disability? However, the future looks very promising and changes are helping our local communities.
Disability Air Travel
Air travel has well-documented accounts of disabled and elderly passengers feeling disappointed by their experience within airports and aircraft. There is still a long way to go.
However, there is positive news!
York Pushing Disability Travel Improvements!
We are very excited to hear about the news that York is seeking Government funding to improve the experience of city visitors with mobility concerns. The York Local Authority is looking for £4M, to provide disabled people with “on-demand” electric, driverless shuttles. With an estimated 20,000 estimated Blue Badge holders in the Greater York area, the shuttles will provide a park-and-ride service into the historic city. The shuttles, although driverless, will have “Care Assistants” on board to help.
Also, the travellers will have flexibility of route…say goodbye to the set-in-stone bus route! This is a very significant step forward into the future of bringing the UK in line with the US and some of our European city neighbours like Berlin and Oslo.
Can The UK Follow The Examples Set Across The World?
Countries like the US are leading the way to create mobility friendly cities. Washington, DC has the world’s most accessible Metro system and all its rail carriages and buses are fully accessible. Further to this, Washington has spent years widening all their public paths (sidewalks). Denver, Colorado has also been topped as the best in the US with an amazing Metro system and its paratransit system.
Singapore will soon have 20% of its population over 60; known as the “Silver Tsunami”. Singapore has been getting ready with the adoption of its “Universal Design” principles to include an ageing population – not a band-aid fix solution. Closer to home, Milan and Berlin have been winners of the prestigious EU City Access Award.
This list continues and shows us, here in the UK, that our “Green and Pleasant Land” needs to address issues that ultimately create fear. Fear to travel, work and socialise. Fear to be ourselves.
Next Steps To A Better Disability Aware UK
Here’s hoping that York’s enterprising driverless bus scheme gets the funding it rightly deserves – it is a step in the right direction. Let’s hope that this is a huge success and rolls out nationwide.
We understand that travel can be made much more enjoyable. As a long-standing provider of mobility products our foldable wheelchairs are perfect for plane travel. Our Bluebird travel wheelchair is a perfect comfortable travel solution for your car or any other mode of transport. If you have any mobility concerns call our friendly expert staff, on 01733 342242 with any questions you may have.