London Olympic Accessibility: Go or No Go Britain?

Reprinted from Channel 4 News a contribution to No Go Britain found at facebook.com/nogobritain and youtube.com/nogobritain:
As young people from Whizz-Kidz set out to test London's buses, trains and boats for disabled users in Olympic year, its Kidz Board delivers a transport manifesto for No Go Britain.
Young disabled test London transport ahead of Olympics. (Whizz-Kidz)

There are 70,000 disabled children and young people living in the UK. This summer, many of them will be hoping to travel to London for the Olympics and Paralympic Games.

Today, 10 young people from Whizz-Kidz, some in wheelchairs, are taking part in a practise journey to London's Olympic stadium.

You can follow @nogobritain on Twitter to see how they get on.

Writing for Channel 4 News, the group's Kidz Board members outline what they would like to see improved in transport accessibility, as we head toward the biggest sporting events on earth.

Accessibility

All buses to be power-wheelchair and manual-wheelchair accessible. All taxis to have not just ramps, but ramps that a powered-wheelchair and manual-wheelchair can use safely.

Minimise the need to pre-book assistance (taxis and trains) as this reduces the potential for spontaneity and independence. Stations should be made more accessible e.g. clear signposting to lifts.

If I were travelling to the Olympics or Paralympics, in terms of accessibility I would like there to be priority boarding for wheelchair users on all public transport.

Audit public transport information - to ensure that all accessibility information and timetables are available in multiple formats.

Awareness

We want taxi and bus drivers to put down the ramp straight away without you having to ask and being made to feel as though you are a nuisance. And we'd like as many drivers and staff as possible to get disability-awareness training so they are happy to help wheelchair users so everything runs smoothly and everyone is happy.

Facilities

More accessible toilets on commuter trains, further, better upkeep of these as they are frequently out of order. Seatbelts in buses and taxis for wheelchairs to be secured.

Young disabled test London transport ahead of Olympics.

End to travelling in isolation

More space for wheelchairs users on buses. An extension of models such as the "bay bus" which operates around Cardiff - two wheelchair users can travel together simultaneously and the ramp is easily accessible.

Engagement

Use focus groups to establish the extent to which the current system meets the requirements of a range of individuals.

London 2012

"When it is busy at any station during the Games, I would like to see the staff letting the wheelchair uses to get onto the disabled part of the train before other people get onto the same part of the train."

"It would be fantastic if accessible transport could become a recognised part of the legacy. Ideally, working toward things like a level access underground and graduated platforms and curbs - as the norm rather than the exception."

"If I were travelling to the Olympics or Paralympics, in terms of accessibility I would like there to be priority boarding for wheelchair users on all public transport."

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