Translink needs to look at DDA again

Having been falling asleep on the bus on the way home from the appointments of the day, I was very much awake when the bus driver let one person off at our stop, but then proceeded to drive on without letting myself, and my two escorts off as well – indeed we were still on the stairs at the time.

I shouted

No. STOP

Everyone looked a bit surprised on the bus. Stephen says that those on the top deck (where he still was) were asking

Did the driver just drive off there?

And with the answer in the affirmative, there was much shaking of heads. Upon arrival at the front of the bus to disembark, I calmly said to the driver.

Some of us, despite looking young and healthy, are quite slow on our feet at the moment. You should have seen us on the cctv.

He turned to me and said

What?

But then he did have one ear with an earphone in.

The Bus and Rail Access Policy of Translink, Northern Ireland’s main public transport provider states that

Not all our vehicles meet accessibility standards. Where possible, we will use accessible vehicles on specific routes which we will advertise on timetables and on our website http://www.translink.co.uk. We recommend that you check the service you want to use is accessible before you travel.

We will try to provide buses and trains that are easy for you to use, together with excellent customer service. But, we cannot make all the improvements we want to until money is available. We have made major improvements to our stations and halts to make them easier for disabled people to use. …

The problem with this policy is that it makes no reference to what drivers should do in practice. I had just commented earlier on in the day that the bus drivers on Translink’s services are pretty useless at waiting until all passengers that can be seated are seated before moving off. This can mean that passengers can be nearly thrown down the stairs to the upper deck as the bus moves off. As far as I can see this is not really in line with the Disability Discrimination Act. Somehow, I feel another letter coming on.

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