“It’s European Mobility Week. So why can’t I get the bus?”
September 19 2017, 01:02pm
Did you know this is European Mobility Week, 16th -22nd September?
How does this relate to people with disabilities all over Ireland?
From our own Fact Sheet on Transport consider the challenges.
Just under a quarter can access private transport.
- Another quarter don’t use public transport because they don’t find it accessible.
- Almost half of people with a physical disability have difficult just going out, full stop.
- Only 5% of the state’s taxis are wheelchair accessible (2015).
- Most rail and bus providers, e.g. the DART, require 24-hours’ notice if wheelchair users plan to travel.
Mobility Week’s “Exploring city streets” will seem like pie-in-the-sky to many Irish people with disabilities.
Annie Byrne is a Dublin student. As a wheel-chair user she depends on the Number 39/39a bus to get her to college, to the city and the music events she loves. “The bus comes about every 20 minutes. My problem is I can only take the bus if someone with a buggy hasn’t got the one wheelchair spot. A person with a buggy isn’t obliged to move. The bus driver can only ask them to move, twice.
People often refuse. That leaves me and anyone else who needs the wheel chair space, on the side of the road. A buggy can be folded up and put away but I can’t fold-up my chair”.
I’m a representative for people with disabilities on the Dublin Community Buses Committee. They know the problem and it’s the same answer. The law needs to change so that wheelchairs have a legal right to the wheelchair spot.
What I need in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK is for a group of people to support me in fighting for that. Otherwise I’m waiting while two, three buses leave me at the stop. It’s 20 minutes to the bus terminus to increase my chances. All of this is no fun at all on a wet cold night when you just need to get from A to B.”