Trailblazer Jordan Wright blogs about attending the launch of our public transport report and speaking to the media about his transport experiences.
Last week I went along to the Trailblazers All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Young Disabled People, which was on the subject of public transport. This happened to be my first ever APPG, and was completely new to me. I have never experienced anything like this before! The meeting was held at the parliamentary building, Portcullis House, in Westminster and was near to Big Ben.
When I arrived, i immediately spotted the media crew from the BBC who had to come to film a report about us, and thought to myself, ‘I’m not too sure about this’. After I pondered this to myself, I was then asked by the BBC if I would be happy to be interviewed about my previous experiences of public transport. I was going to say, ‘No thanks’, but then I thought to myself, maybe I should go for it! Sometimes it’s best to push yourself outside of your comfort zone…
Anyway, I decided to do it in the end. After I did the interview I felt I had achieved something, that maybe a year ago I wouldn’t have done! After this interview we made our way into Portcullis House for the meeting. The meeting was held by the MP, Paul Maynard, and industry experts;
- Alan: Uber
- Giles: FirstBus
- Andrew: Hailo London
- Mark: Arriva
- Robert: Stagecoach
- Paul: Qstraint
I was surprised by the amount of industry experts that attended, and felt this was a good turnout. In the meeting we introduced these experts to the Trailblazers report, End of the Line 2016, highlighting some of the key issues disabled individuals face with public transport, sometimes quite frankly shocking and should not be happening in the 21st century.
One thing from the report I found most disturbing was the verbal abuse from fellow passengers and bus drivers. I read in the report that one Trailblazer was told, ‘people like you shouldn’t be allowed on the bus’. Unsurprisingly the industry experts were shocked by this and one said a single incident of this is ‘one too many’.
In terms of positives of public transport, a lot has changed since the last End of the Line report in 2009. There has been many improvements to accessibility and attitudes towards disabled passengers over the last few years. I actually wouldn’t have been able to attend the meeting without the train from Hastings in East Sussex all the way to Charing Cross in London! This journey went perfectly smoothly and can’t really fault it. However this is not always the case for other areas around the UK, and I think we must not forget this and keep up the hard work to ensure we have a transport system fit for all abilities.
The meeting I attended was only about taxis, buses and coaches and is part one of two APPGs on public transport. The next APPG for Young Disabled People is about trains, and the London Underground and Overground. These meetings give you a rare chance to actually change something for the better, and I would highly recommend to anyone who is dubious about attending an APPG, to have a go – you may really enjoy it! Sometimes you just have to go for it…
I may do another blog on part two of the APPG. I hope you enjoyed reading this one and I look forward to attending the next meeting!