December 9 2013 Latest news:
Melissa York, Reporter
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Two disabled people introduced Greater London Assembly Member John Biggs to the reality many people with accessiblilty problems face while travelling on the transport network.
Mr Biggs, who represents East London and the City on London-wide issues, met blind resident Mohammad Mohsanali at Upton Park station last week to travel on the District Line to West Ham and then change to the Jubilee Line for Stratford.
The pair began their journey happily enough but Mohammed, an Upton Park resident who is used to travelling from the station, said staffing levels can be unpredicatable.
Mohammad is a keen campaigner with Transport for All, a disability action group who organised the trip.
He said: “There were a lot more people working during the Olympics and Paralympics this summer but they reduced the number of staff at the stations afterwards and I have noticed the difference.
“Over the last two years, there have been some improvements made but there’s still some way to go.”
The pair subsequently met up with Angus Davie, who uses a wheelchair, to get the number 25 bus to Manor Park.
But audio system on the bus - usually notifying visually impaired people what street or bus stop they have reached - had broken.
Mohammad said such conditions could have flared up his epilepsy which is often triggered by stress.
He said: “If I was on my own I would have been agitated, asking people to tell me where I am. It all depends on the individual to be honest.
“Some people will go out of their way to help you out but other people won’t respond at all so you have to be prepared for whatever happens.”
At the end of his journey, Mr Biggs said: “There’s a lot of good provision for people with accessibility problems but the chain is only as strong as the weakest links and the smallest thing makes the biggest difference such as step free access.””