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Young disabled campaigners go undercover and put public transport to the test

April 29, 2015

A press release:

Young disabled campaigners go undercover and put public transport to the test


A 600-strong group of young disabled campaigners will go undercover from today, as a major UK wide investigation is launched into public transport access for disabled people.


The Muscular Dystrophy UK Trailblazers, a network of disabled 16-30 year-olds, will put local station access, bus ramps, journey times, staff training and attitudes, and even the behaviour of fellow passengers, to the test, using surveys and undercover filming.


Their investigation will review the findings of a damning 2009 Trailblazers study, which found disabled people struggling with a lack of basic facilities at stations and on trains, waiting hours for buses with working ramps and paying inflated prices for accessible taxis.


The group hopes to uncover whether repeated promises by transport providers to improve services and investment in the wake of the Paralympics have made a difference to disabled travellers. They will compile experiences and collect footage, photographs and data during their three-month study of train, bus and taxi services across the UK, before publishing their findings later this summer.


Muscular Dystrophy UK Trailblazers member and wheelchair-user, Sulaiman Khan (29) from London, said:

“I experience problems on a regular basis, just trying to get from A to B on public transport. A lot of train stations just don’t have the facilities for disabled people and I often find myself having to make my way to another station in the opposite direction of my destination, just so I can physically board the train. This not only adds to journey time, it also increases the cost of my ticket.


“Accessibility isn’t the only issue– poor staff knowledge and public attitudes towards disabled people are still commonplace. In November last year we saw the high profile court case of Doug Paulley*, who was refused access to a disabled space on a First Group bus, after a mother refused to move her pushchair out of the designated disabled area.  This is just a snapshot of some of the common issues we will be addressing through our investigation.”


Muscular Dystrophy UK Trailblazers spokesman, James Lee, said:

 “Access to public transport is vital for many young disabled people, whether this is to get to work, to a place of study or to socialise. Yet sadly, we hear regularly from Trailblazers struggling to access their local trains, buses and taxis, or who are put off by problems with poor staff training or unfair delays. 


Trailblazers will be going undercover over the next three months to shine a light on some of these issues. We want to hear from young people across the UK on their experiences using public transport. We want to find out whether promises from transport providers and local authorities are truly making a difference on the ground.”

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 29, 2015 2:17 am

    Public transport cannot cope with wheelchairs or small mobility scooters.

    Even with the lowering of bus steps, I cannot access buses.

    Buses do not wait til you have sat down to move off, Nor wait for you to stand up only when the bus has stopped.

    Not all London underground has disability access.

    The seats at bus stops are a joke. You just slide off.

    With mobility issues on foot, or on small mobility scooters, many places have difficulty getting in or out.

    Taxis arrive that are the big and high people movers types, that I cannot step up into, as knees shot and back worse.

    Not all disabilities are visible and effect all ages.

    Going to work, going to shops, going to the GPs, going to hospitals, going to an over 60s lunch club as on the lowest state pension of all rich nations.

  2. April 29, 2015 7:14 am

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  3. April 30, 2015 1:35 am

    Was asked to move out of seating for disabled on a bus about 6 years ago, the bus was packed, I told them it was not for the exclusive use of people with pushchairs that can be folded and stored. The male with her grabbed me and tried to pull me up but I hit him in the throat hard, just hard enough to cause him breathing difficulties, the driver asked them to get off, which to me surprised me as I thought he was going to kick me off as well, they refused at first but he said he was going to radio for police assistance they quickly got off and the bus left.
    I am over 50 and know how to protect myself and will continue to do so until the day I die. Medication that makes you aggressive has its advantages maybe that’s why I haven’t had a F2F in 5 years

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