Disability, My Life, Travel

Public Transportation For Wheelchair Users

The fact that I struggled to get around during freshers fortnight at Southampton Solent University got me to thinking in regards to transport as a whole.

Being an electric wheelchair user has always been a challenge when trying to get from place to place. Whilst I don’t mind spending time at home, I also love going out with my friends whenever I can.

When I am at home and my parents are at work so not able to give me a lift, I either walk or if the location is too far I order a taxi. I only occasionally use the bus.

Using the same taxi company means I have got to know some of the people who work there as well as some of the drivers.

This has proven useful as they know my name is and my address and appreciate that I’m in an electric wheelchair and the taxi needs to be big enough to fit the wheelchair along with space for the people I’m with.

Using the taxi means I am able to travel freely to where I need to get to and as a whole, the taxi company is very reliable, friendly and always willing to help, although there is no doubt that there are some drivers who are less patient than others, either trying to rush me or try and take over my driving when I get in the taxi.

Sometimes I forget to order the taxi in advance, and have to phone on the day when I need to go out. When this happens I am sometimes able to get a taxi in time for me to go out, but there are some times where they tell me that there are no accessible taxis in the area and I have to wait some time for me to get one.

Occasionally they tell me that there are no accessible taxis in the area and they won’t be able to get one out to me in time for when I need to go out, even though this is very frustrating and annoying, they are very apologetic and reassure me that next time I will get a taxi.

When I have to catch a bus, the same notion applies. The majority of times I am able to get on and off the bus with hardly any issues; the drivers and passengers being very helpful and understanding.

However, there are some times which the bus drivers are very selfish and refuse to get out of their seats to lower the ramp down so I can get on and in which the passengers refuse to move out of the way or are sitting in the spaces designated for wheelchair users.

I find this very frustrating as I have been in an electric wheelchair for almost eleven years now and I know how to maneuver around in tight spots and the best angles to get in and out of vehicles and get annoyed when people are ignorant and try and take over, but this is usually due to the lack of understanding of disabled people.

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