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Underground madness

PearlyPearly *********Posts: 345 The Mix Regular
Mark can't believe he has to wait 20 years until the London Underground is accessible to everyone. Do you have problems with wheelchair access on the trains and can relate to his rant?

Underground madness

Comments

  • JsTJsT TheSite Graduate Posts: 18,265 Incredible Poster
    I'm not sure whats to be expected. The vast majority of stations - paticularly Underground ones are built in such confined spaces that there is no possibility of installing disabled provision. It all takes time and money - neither are in great supply.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    JsT wrote: »
    I'm not sure whats to be expected. The vast majority of stations - paticularly Underground ones are built in such confined spaces that there is no possibility of installing disabled provision. It all takes time and money - neither are in great supply.
    But the money is there - they've just decided to use it for other things first. Disability just simply isn't a priority. I'm sad to learn that in England it isn't any better than here.

    I can totally relate to Mark's rant. In my previous job I worked managing youth volunteer programmes for young people with disabilities. One of the programmes consisted in groups of youths who would go out to the city on saturdays during the day to do leisure and cultural activities (visit a museum, go to the park, the movies, etc.). Another group went clubbing on Friday nights.

    I went out with these groups on several occasions, and truth be told I am totally embarassed by how my city -and the metro which everyone boasts about so much- fail to provide even the most basic cares and provisions for people with disabilities. My most sincerest admiration go for those volunteers who week after week found their biceps growing stronger and stronger from lifting and carrying wheelchairs up and down countless stairs, especially the metro ones, since they're the longest. I know my arm hurt every next day I joined the groups in their outings. And heck, the volunteers did it only once a week, I always dread to think of the countless mothers and carers of people in wheelchairs who have to face a flight of stairs on their own - every day. And that's not even beginning to speak about the actual people sitting in the wheelchair that find their life is dramatically restricted only because authorities (and society) doesn't care enough to prioritise their quality of life.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    bluewisdom wrote: »
    But the money is there - they've just decided to use it for other things first.

    It would cost hundreds of millions to make the deep-level tube stations DDA-compliant, and its money that could be spent elsewhere. Some deep-level tube stations could never be DDA-compliant. It's bad, but it's one of those things, sadly.

    I do agree that disabled access could be better on public transport, though, as my sister-in-law quite often needs a wheelchair to get about. Even with the lo-liner buses its still a pain, as the buggies often take up the room and the drivers won't make the mothers fold them down.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Granted it should be accessible to all but at the same point there are some significant logistical problems.

    Firstly, London was the first metro in the world meaning it was built at a time when people weren't thinking about poor folks in wheelchairs. Thus structurally, many stations would need almost complete transformation rather than the odd lift stuck in.

    Secondly, London isn't exactly awash with building space.

    Thirdly, it would take a very, very long time to complete and think how many people use the Tube every day and how much potential revenue they could lose.

    Don't think that I'm of the opinion that it shouldn't happen because I 100% believe that it should. Just that there are some serious barriers in the way.

    Maybe the extra money from the new congestion charge zone will go some way to pay for it?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    All new stations and refurbished ones will have disabled access. However it is very difficult to make all the stations accessable for disbaled users at the moment.

    Like other users have said some of these stations are over 100 years old.

    There is a scheme which provides a subsidised taxi service for people with mobility problems wanting to travel around London.

    http://www.taxicard.org.uk/

    I also thought for some reason London Underground would provide a free taxi if you couldnt access the station, but i cant find anything to back this up.

    :D
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Also, many disabled people using the underground will have a Diasabled Persons Freedom Pass which makes it free.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I've got to agree with the previous posters, its tragic, but sadly its the curse of having the oldest Tube network, its the very same reason why we cant have air con.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    There are however some things that london underground can do for people with other disabilities - which won't cost that much - such as putting stations in braile on the tube maps in the stations - so that blind people can work out where they are and which route to take.

    Similarly having announcements at all stations about which train is coming and and where its going as well as the digital displays - they do this at busy stations during rush hour but outside of that time your a bit stuck.

    I'm sure there are some more but i can't think of them at the moment.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Wyetry wrote: »
    There are however some things that london underground can do for people with other disabilities - which won't cost that much - such as putting stations in braile on the tube maps in the stations - so that blind people can work out where they are and which route to take.

    They are supposed to be going one better than that and having station staff there to help people in person most of the time. Now that virtually everyone has oyster there isnt as much need for ticket staff, so the Tube is getting them to walk about and help people instead. At first the Union didnt like this (it meant getting up and walking about, rather than sitting) but they got a nice pay deal out of the negotiations and they're happy now.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    budda wrote: »
    They are supposed to be going one better than that and having station staff there to help people in person most of the time. Now that virtually everyone has oyster there isnt as much need for ticket staff, so the Tube is getting them to walk about and help people instead. At first the Union didnt like this (it meant getting up and walking about, rather than sitting) but they got a nice pay deal out of the negotiations and they're happy now.

    But if your disabled you don't necessarily want/need to be reliant on other people all the time just to get to and from work or to go to meet your mates.

    Also having a braile tube map means that that you can work out how things are related to each other and how all the tubes join up or not. Just being put on a train and sent off can be disorientating and scary if you have no idea where your going or why....
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Wyetry wrote: »
    But if your disabled you don't necessarily want/need to be reliant on other people all the time just to get to and from work or to go to meet your mates.

    Also having a braile tube map means that that you can work out how things are related to each other and how all the tubes join up or not. Just being put on a train and sent off can be disorientating and scary if you have no idea where your going or why....

    I think they are doing your suggestions as well, its just they want more Tube staff wandering around too.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    oh also you can get braile tube maps but they aren't readily avaliable in the stations - thus a bit crap if you dont' know a week in advance that you need one. I can't remember where you get them from - humm.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Kermit wrote: »
    its money that could be spent elsewhere.
    Well, that's just exactly the issue - it has been decided to be spent elsewhere. It's simply a matter of setting priorities, and sad but true disability is never considered one.

    I'm not suggesting they should make all London Underground stations universally accessible overnight, I understand it's very expensive and complicated, but still, I get the impression much more could be done if there was the will to do it. For example, the subsidised taxi scheme sounds like a step in the right direction but hardly enough on it's own, and if there really is the alternative of the free taxi provided by the Underground if you can't access the station - that's an excellent temporary solution. I'd love to hear from users though that it actually works.

    In the end it comes down to society's attitude towards disability though, it's not just the money but I feel there is a general lack of awareness of the issue of universal access. For example, in that guy's rant he mentions the attitude he got from an Underground guard when he needed help to go about the station, he actually told him that he "caught him off-gaurd" and that he should have let him know beforehand he was coming. I mean, come on. I very much agree with Wyetry that things should be done in a way that you would depend the least on others, but meanwhile it's done I think the Underground staff should be responsible for helping transport people, up and down stairs or any other help they need in all stations that aren't universally accessible. It should be gauranteed for them though, a part of the staff's duty, not something dependent on whether they feel like helping you that day or not, to avoid situations like this guy went through.

    And Wyetry, the metro in my city are implementing a lot of braille on the stations. I have no clue what it says though as I can't read it obviously but I think a braille map of the network is essential in every station. And now I can't see how that could be in any way expensive. If it isn't done it's simply lack of will.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
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