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As new stock comes in access to the trains is less of an issue because accessibility is built in more effectively but attitudes of passengers who have made themselves comfortable in the areas designated for wheelchairs or individuals with mobility impairments are another barrier.  On board staff aren't always willing to tell people to move or to intervene if they are harrassing disabled passengers.  I've heard many horror stories.

Differences in platform heights and curved platforms means that the gap between train and platform various hugely.

As you point out, getting to the platform is the major issue.  Old infrastructure means that many railway buildings were built  donkey's years before disabled people started demanding independence.  Lifts may be inadequate or often not working.  Training for station staff is crucial when it comes to supporting individuals on and off trains and through stations.  One conference delegate stated to Arriva trains that he was fed up with staff refering to him as 'the wheelchair' over the tannoy when calling for the ramp to be brought out to get him onto trains.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 25th, 2010 at 03:19:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On board staff aren't always willing to tell people to move or to intervene if they are harrassing disabled passengers.

This is horrible. I wonder if such boorishness, both in its aggressive and passive forms, is generational: what I mean is that when I was a kid, giving the seat to old people or mothers with babies getting on the bus was pretty much automatic, but it doesn't even occur to younger people today. This should really be taught. At school.

Lifts ... often not working.

Heh, and I was thinking that this is a 'speciality' of infrastructure management by my company...

As the alternative to lifts, what about ramps in place of/parallel with staircases? EU-funded reconstructions of rural stations tend to include ramps instead of lifts.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Nov 25th, 2010 at 04:25:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I've seen a number of stations with new ramps, some feel like they are miles long to be high enough to go over the tracks (for crossing platforms or exiting from different sides of the station).  

If you are getting about by yourself it is hard work in a wheelchair but it also doesn't help those who can only walk short distances.  They are more helpful for buggies/suitcases with wheels than for disabled people.  But it is better than no access at all.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 25th, 2010 at 04:38:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, those from under/overpasses to island platforms are incredibly long.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Nov 25th, 2010 at 05:19:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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