I have become very used to driving door to door. And I mean as-close-as-possible to the door! Stairs and long walks would be my biggest barriers to using public transport. I also can’t stand for too long and HATE making a fuss. If I am tired, I plod along at a snail’s pace and the crankiness levels sky-rocket. Most trips are planned in minute detail after a few bad experiences- like the time I took the train to Skerries with the kids in tow for a “Famous Five Style Summer Picnic”. It turns out that Skerries Station is on the outskirts of the village and by the time we made it to our destination, I was being a Rotter and EVEN the lashings of ginger-ale couldn’t make it better…..
My friend told me about the “Plan a Journey” page on the “Transport For London” site when I was working out how I would get to her. The site has an “Accessibility & Travel Options” section where I could choose from a selection of mobility preferences. The ones that suited me best were:
- I want the route with least walking
- I can use escalators but not stairs
Sweet!!!!! But then it got better. I could choose my Walking Speed (slow!) and Maximum Walk Time (10 minutes!). The “Plan My Journey” button gave me all the options I had to get from Gatwick Airport to my friend’s house, including Accessibility Information for each leg (For example: A ramp is provided at this station providing step-free access onto Central line trains) and how long it will take me to get to my destination at my tortoise’s pace.
Another thing I love about London’s “Plan My Journey” page is that it treats me like a person. Yes- I know a website is an inanimate object but it manages to grant disability normality. I feel like it’s OK to be a slow walking step-hater and that I’m not alone. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if something “Plan My Journey” existed in airports, in tourist offices, in large cities….? Take a bow Boris!