The One That Got Away.


Richmond – Twickenham – Return

Today’s trip barely counts as a journey. A simple bus trip across the borough to visit a market and enjoy some early summer sun.

For me it was a simple, gentle day out. The drivers in both directions were friendly and professional enough and I was able to travel without incident.

It’s important to remember though that I’m only representative of a specific and fairly unique set of requirements. I can’t walk, but my ability to see and hear is pretty good, dimmed only by the normal decrepitudes of creeping middle age. My mobility needs are covered by a fairly sturdy and substantial wheelchair (which costs more than a small city car and doesn’t even have a stereo, but that’s a gripe for another time). But how about for those for whom this is not the case.

Modern buses, indeed trains and trams too, have clear audio announcements for destinations and next stops, often also on a hearing loop. They also have visual displays to let people know where you are and where you’re going. Finally buses have nice wide ramps which offer a gentle slope for an exit.

Sadly too many buses are not modern and not well maintained just like the jalopy I returned on. You could tell it’s ancient state just from the cacophony of rattles and squeaks as it staggered between stops. Sadly it wasn’t possible to tell what those stops were as neither the displays nor the audio announcements were working. To cap it all the ramp was both steep and had a step at the top which, while it only caused me to perform a brief mental Healthy and Safety Assessment, would certainly have caused the occupant of a less substantial wheelchair to become intimately acquainted with the concrete of the pavement.

The other thing missing from this particular vehicle was the sign detailing the details of the bus necessary to raise a complain with TfL, and sadly I didn’t manage to make a note of the registration number before it pulled away.

To anybody who is disadvantaged by this inadequate bus in the future I can only apologise for not reporting it and getting it’s myriad faults fixed. I shall endeavour to do better next time.


About Alan

I'm an Economist, Geek, Campaigner & wheelchair user who's been using all forms of public transport for 20+ years.
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