Today Paralympian Hannah Cockroft challenged the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to use a wheelchair to travel to his appointments for just one day, but he declined the challenge. I can understand that it’s a big ask. So, I wonder if the Mayor of London would be kind enough to describe what it’s like to be able to travel around London where ever his fancy takes him. What’s it like riding the escalators, how does it feel hopping onto a train and hopping off at any station along the route?
I can tell you that for me and other wheelchair users, it would be a very liberating and exciting experience I’m sure, something the Mayor of London and others takes for granted. There’s been a number of times when I wanted to go down to London and travel around, see the sights. But like Hannah I have to take expensive taxis because I can’t get onto all the platforms.
So let’s say I want to travel to London and then using the London Underground journey around the Capital. First I have to check which station is accessible, which ones have lifts and also check the availability of those lifts by calling Transport for London’s 24 hour travel information number. It’s seriously that complicated, and the proof is in this very ‘helpful’ guide “Step Free Tube Guide Map”
This is the 21st century and people with disabilities, especially those using wheelchairs, are still getting a raw deal.
So, may I suggest the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and anyone else who is a decision maker reconsider the challenge because the only way you’re really going to know the frustration wheechair users feel is to be in our wheels.