Thursday, 16 December 2010


Jody McIntyre posed the following questions on his excellent Blog ‘Life on Wheels'.

“How can we claim to be living in a developed country, a “free democracy”, when such a large section of society are denied the right to use our public transport. Can you imagine this being accepted for any other group of people… no women on buses? No black people on trains?
Then WHY is it OK for disabled people?"

My response:

Because, the voiceless are not heard.

But, things are changing; and, as the actions and words of activists such as Jody McIntyre are beamed across the world via the Internet, TV and press so the level of our voice begins to rise above the hubbub of our oppressors.

Back in 1995 we got the DDA; and with it came promises of accessible transport sometime in the future – full compliance of buses and trains by 2019 and 2020 respectively. Most disabled people with a finger anywhere near the pulse of what’s-going-on-out-there-in-our-name knows that all buses and trains will not be compliant by those dates – after all they’ve only had a generation to prepare for this – and, they’ll be lodging requests for concessions from compliance to whichever compliant government is in place.

Thousands of disabled people, who were given a soupcon of hope in 1995, have since tootled off to pastures new; and, sadly thousands more will pass on through without benefitting from a fully accessible transport system by the time ‘full compliance’ is in place.

However, by full compliance read a fully compliant public transport system minus a few concessions – the London Underground system for example. Anyway, why all the fuss? Didn’t Simon Hoggart clear this issue up a few years ago when he wondered why the wheelchair users were complaining about the tube system, since he rarely saw a wheelie using the tube!

You couldn’t make it up; could you? Out of the mouths of babes and the sophisticated literati...


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