Showing posts from July, 2023

Inclusive Bridges: A Long Journey, An Unfinished Road

On a balmy evening in July, I went to the National Theatre to watch a riveting production of "Dear England". As a 70-plus-year-old wheelchair user, the play served to remind me of the journey we have undertaken, as a society, towards inclusion and the many more miles we must travel. "Dear England" struck a chord, suggesting parallels with the trials and tribulations of the England football players and the hurdles I and countless others have faced over so many decades.  Half a century earlier, I could not have seen this play. Theatres were not built with wheelchair users in mind, and the lack of physical access was a daunting barrier.  The exclusion was not just about the physicality of accessing buildings; it was an emblem of the broader societal attitude. Disabled individuals, like myself, were often unable to fully participate in life's grand drama. On the fringes, we were spectators unable to access education, employment, and leisure activities, like anyone e

The Unseen Consequences: Closure of Rail Ticket Offices and the Cascade of Challenges

Ticket Office Closed The recent announcement to close rail ticket offices harbours the potential to fundamentally reshape the train travel experience. At first glance, it appears to be a step towards digital efficiency, but delving deeper reveals its grave implications, particularly for disabled travellers and the general public. For me and other disabled travellers, ticket offices have always been more than just a ticket point. They are a sanctuary for us seeking assistance with navigation, boarding, and ticket purchases. With the closure of these offices, seeking help becomes more daunting, especially in emergencies. And the lack of human presence could make stations feel less secure, leaving passengers, particularly disabled and older people, feeling vulnerable. The proposed closures also bring into focus the technological challenges that lie ahead. While seemingly efficient, advanced ticket vending machines and digital platforms may be user-friendly for some, they spell trouble for