Case Study

Wheelchair access

Attending a regional conference, using my wheelchair, there was no access to the room where voting for the regional board was taking place. I was required to fill in my ballot paper in a public corridor, and then the ballot box was brought out to me. There was no privacy or ability to perform a “secret” ballot for wheelchair users.

No local Taxi firms ran Wheelchair accessible vehicles on the weekend of the conference and knew nothing of it happening. Dial-a-Ride, as per most areas, does not run on weekends. The only way from the train station to the venue was the bus, access on to the bus was difficult with maybe a millimetre to spare either side of the wheelchair through a very tight turn onto the bus. Obviously, no comprehensive accessibility audit had taken place.

There were places with no dropped kerbs on the route from the bus stop to the venue entrance. No route to the entrance (let alone one suitable for a wheelchair) was sign-posted, the only available route required negotiating speed humps with no way to avoid them.

At the same conference, the lunch buffet was laid out in a long-legged L’shape meaning a very awkward manoeuvre required to negotiate said buffet when getting around the internal 90° turn as the able-bodied members happily crowded past blocking me from doing so.