Warrington Disability Partnership

Disabled people are just an afterthought says the Lords

WDP team reporting for the BBC! Equality? Are disabled people just an afterthought?

WDP team members were at the forefront of the BBC reporting on the House of Lords views on the progress, or not, of Equality Legislation since govt changes a few years ago. The Lords were not too kind about the impact of changes and the way equality for disabled people seems to have gone backwards, indeed the description is one of disabled people's needs being simply an afterthought when planning for a whole range of things like access to public transport, venues of all sorts etc.

Equality, planning, and genuine interest in disabled people

One powerful example of disabled people being an afterthought is to be found in the area of public transport and access to buses. Govt, of all political colours, has thought it was doing ok to introduce the current access legislation. But saying that the disabled space on a bus is a priority, then not enforcing it in law was bad enough. However, the real equality nightmare is in a law that failed to force bus companies to design their new fleets in a way that allowed TWO spaces on each medium to large sized bus, so that there was much less pressure on the wheelchair space from buggy users. God forbid a disabled couple both using wheelchairs should ever want to travel, as a couple. Nope, that was a dream too far. But equality is often about design, where a disabling environment is neutralised and made accessible to all. Two spaces on buses would not cause great revenue loss as most buses rarely run at 100% capacity outside peak hours. But it would hugely have eased the issues faced as wheelchair users are left sitting at bus stops when buggy users refuse to move and bus drivers don't want a big row and now think in any case the law is on their side. Equality is about good design and thinking ahead, not reacting to poor provision and couldn't-care-less venue or transport owners.

WDP doesn't mess about when it comes to equality

Read here the BBC Report and part of the WDP contribution. It's another great example of our team at the coal face, speaking up for local disabled people and more. Love it!

ow.ly/ZSWVk

About the author

Mark Wilson was a trustee on the WDP Board for five years, and a social media management lead until 1st May 2017. Mark's personal blogging website, The Blue Badge Blog, covers a wide range of disability issues, particularly accessible travel.

24th March 2016