On Tuesday 27 January, a group of young disabled campaigners from Scotland will be embarking on an undercover investigation into the state of the public transport system throughout the country.
The mystery commuter study is the first campaign being organised by the Trailblazers – the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s nationwide network of 16 to 30-year-olds fighting for the rights of young disabled people.
The decision to probe public transport was taken following a number of negative incidents experienced by the Trailblazers when using public transport. These have included young wheelchair users getting stuck on buses, broken ramps and buzzers as well as being bullied out of seating by fellow passengers.
Over the coming months the 120 young campaigners from across the UK will be documenting their journeys and completing surveys every time they make a trip on public transport. The Trailblazers will be using their blogs to record their experiences on this website. The results of the local undercover investigation will be revealed in a national report published in the spring.
Trailblazer Ambassador, 26-year-old Richard McDermott, from Bothwell, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, said:
“So many times I’ve been denied access on public transport because of my condition. Most people find it is easy to get around and be independent but when you have a disability simple tasks like this can be extremely difficult.
“Whether it’s buses, trains or the underground there’s always some kind of problem. I know I’m not the only one who’s experienced this.
“I’m so excited about this project – the very first investigation from the Trailblazers network. I hope that by joining forces with other young disabled campaigners from across the UK we’ll have a real impact. “
Commenting on the undercover study, Chief Executive of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, Philip Butcher, said:
“Many people with muscle disease in Scotland feel that our public transport system is simply not fit for purpose. This study and campaign will put it under the spotlight.
“I hope that the findings will help boost independence and improve the quality of life for all people living with muscle disease in Scotland.
“It’s fantastic that young people are being given the opportunity to see their ideas make a difference and have an impact in their local communities.
The mystery commuter investigation will be conducted in: Roath; Bothwell; Larbutt; Falkirk; Prestwick; Giffnock
The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign is the only national charity focusing on all muscle diseases. It invests £3 million a year in care support services, research, muscle centres, networks, information and resources. It has pioneered the search for treatments and cures for 50 years and provides practical, medical and emotional support to people affected.