Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New bus service

I am using a new bus service from home which is much quicker but someone has to ring up in the morning (before 6 a.m.) to request a wheelchair bus at the time I want to go to work. At the moment this works OK and hopefully they will get so sick of us ringing them up every morning that they will routinely put a wheelchair bus on this time.

However, it appears to depend upon one person arranging this and if that person is not on duty then it all falls down and I may have to wait for 4 or 5 buses (50 minutes) - which is what happened when we didn't ring up in the morning.

This seems like a lot of effort just to get a wheelchair bus.

I wonder why more disabled people don't use public transport and hence stay in the workforce?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

No public transport to major hospitals

A person in a wheelchair or a person with a medium-sized pram is not able to catch public transport to The Royal Melbourne Hospital, The Women's Hospital or the Children's Hospital in central Melbourne!

I even rang up Metlink who initially thought that this could not be correct but then had to agree that is impossible to get directly to these major hospitals in public transport. You can go to Fed Square, catch a tram up Swanston St to the University and then go back to Grattan St and catch another bus and then walk to the hospitals.

There are tram superstops outside each of these hospitals but no low-floor trams on these lines!

I spoke to a mother who has had to take her child repeatedly to the Children's Hospital and has found it a long walk with her pram. Apparently, it was suggested that she buy a small pram so that she can get on the tram - that is a compassionate approach from our society for someone with a sick child and without the money to buy a new pram!

Bus woes

Had to wait for 4 buses before a low floor bus with a working ramp came along. The first 2 were not low floor, the third bus was but the ramp was not working! Therefore, took almost 2 hours to get home - a distance of about 10 km. I could have made it home just in the wheelchair in that time.

Amazingly, a young guy waited with me the whole time (45 minutes) as he couldn't believe that it could be so difficult for a person in a wheelchair to catch a bus. Welcome to my world!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Taxi refuses to pick me up

Yesterday I rang to book a taxi but after waiting 15 minutes and the taxi company not being able to locate a taxi for me I went to the city to catch a bus instead. Just near the bus stop I saw a wheelchair taxi with some other taxis. I went up to the wheelchair taxi but the driver ignored me. A person not in a wheelchair did not see me but got into the taxi. I attracted the attention of this person and asked if he could catch one of the other taxis in the queue so he got out of the taxi and got into another one. The driver of the wheelchair taxi was then not able to continue ignoring me but stated that he would not take a person in a wheelchair despite him driving a wheelchair taxi. Other people in the vicinity became aware of our conversation and remonstrated with the driver who continued to say that he would not take a wheelchair.

Eventually I had to give up and go and catch a bus. I rang up the taxi company to complain as I had the taxi's number plate but was told that they could do nothing and I should complain to someone else, perhaps the taxi directorate.

Wheelchair taxis are of no use to me whatsoever!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Spoke too soon

The night after my last post I waited for a bus and when it arrived the ramp did not work so had to wait half an hour for the next bus.

Last night at 9:30 I waited 30 minutes for a bus in the freezing cold and when it arrived the automatic ramp didn't work again so couldn't get on the bus. It took me an hour and three quarters to get home by which time I couldn't talk due to being so cold.

Why is it that so many of the automatic ramps do not work? Is it that I am just unlucky or is it that so few people in wheelchairs travel on buses so they can get away with what appears to be a design or maintenance fault?

Why is it that I couldn't get a taxi in Carlton last night but when I went past the Casino there was a long line of wheelchair taxis waiting to take the punters home? How many of these people do you think were in wheelchairs?

What would it take to get the Government to take notice of the disabled and do something other than platitudes?

Why do we as a society not only tolerate but appear to encourage inequality even when all the evidence shows that inequality harms all of us, even the well-off?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ventura's great service

This morning the automatic ramp on the bus was not working properly but I managed to scramble on board before the ramp folded up. The driver reported the problem to the depot and a mechanic was sent to my destination stop to ensure that I was able to get off without any problems. Ventura phoned twice to check I was OK.

A great busline!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Rydges Hotel doesn't cater for wheelchairs

At a conference at the Rydges Hotel on Swanston St, I asked to be directed to the disabled toilet. The girl on the desk told me that the hotel had no disabled facilities, had no rooms with disabled access and no disabled toilet. I eventually found a disabled toilet on the fourth floor, no thanks to the staff. The only way to access this hotel in a wheelchair is via the underground car park.

It is hard to believe that such a well known brand would make no attempt to cater for people in wheelchairs.