Monday, 23 January 2017

Buggy vs Wheelchair: You Decide

I'm sure you've seen the news reports about how a wheelchair user "won his case" to have priority in the wheelchair space over buggy's on the buses.  I am sure you might have an opinion about this.  I am sure you're sure I have an opinion about this.  And of course you're right, I do, but it might not be what you're expecting.

My opinion is that we should stop!
Stop judging
Stop pitting parents against disabled people
Stop causing arguments on buses based on lack of facts
Stop distracting everyone from the poor state of provision for wheeled users on public transport

You see there are no winners in the fight between wheelchairs and parents with buggys.  Well, actually, to be more accurate there are winners, but only the lawyers and paid for media.
The debate just doesn't work when you look at it in any detail.  How can you pit a wheelchair user against a mother of twins who are asleep?  How can you pit a disabled toddler in a buggy against an elderly person with a walking frame?  How can you pit a blind man and his guide dog against blind me in my wheelchair against my friend with twins and a toddler?

You can't.
And that's the point.
There is no easy way forward.
But that doesn't mean we give up.

Instead we should start!
Start fighting together for more flexible space on public transport
Start seeing each other as equal members in community
Start working to find solutions that work
Start communicating openly

It shouldn't be either or, it should be more!! 

More buses on busy bus routes
More spaces on all buses for wheeled forms of transport of any sort
More accessible buses on all bus routes, there are some places without low floor buses
More conversations about the rights of everyone in society to be able to get from A to B.

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