The past couple of decades have seen a vast improvement in the accessibility of the modern world for those who are disabled. Things that are second nature and incredibly simplistic for those who are able-bodied are so much more complicated for those who do not have that luxury. However, the world has started to adjust itself to make things easier for those who are disadvantaged.
Travelling is one part of life that was originally extremely difficult for the disabled in comparison to the able-bodied, but modifications and adjustments which have been put in place have made it easier for people in wheelchairs. Although many of these adjustments are advertised on travel websites in subtle ways, it is easier to get going if you already know the gist of things. In this article, we are going to delve into five top tips for train travel for the wheelchair user.
1: Plan in Advance + Organise Assistance
Although this seems like an obvious first step, it is one of the most important to ensure you do not forget. Before you even begin to plan where you are going to travel, it is important to understand which stations, areas, airports, hotels, and places you want to travel have the necessary help in place to accommodate for your needs. It is important to understand which measures are in place and where you will need extra assistance in order to travel effectively. However, it is more important to understand the assistance programmes at the specific rail stations which you will be travelling through. If you understand what assistance is already in place, you will then know in which areas you will need extra help and where there have already been provisions made to assist you.
2: Ensure Brakes are Working
Although this is a simple instruction, it is crucial and can be extremely dangerous if not followed directly. When waiting on a train platform, on a moving or stopped train, or in any area where there could be potential for slippage or accident; it is important to ensure that you are safe and secure in your wheelchair without rolling potential. Although many trains have slip-resistant flooring put in and train stations often install these kinds of floors to help people in wheelchairs, putting the relevant precautions in place is crucial as well.
3: Have Punctual Timing
As travelling is often harder for people who are in wheelchairs, it is important to ensure you are always either early or on time, and always punctual when getting to your necessary station. If, for example, certain accessibility features may have changed; time getting to your specified station will have to be adjusted for disruption and inconvenience. Being early or on time will likely prevent any missing trains due to minor inconveniences or struggles due to your wheelchair or accessibility issues.
4: Remain Patient + Polite
As difficult as it can be when things do not go your way, I would always encourage you to go the route of being as patient and nice as possible. Although you are well within your rights to make a complaint if you feel discriminated against, it is often much more likely for people to go out of their way to help you if you are patient and understanding, rather than frustrated and entitled. Often, staff struggle with the everyday traveller and they will be much more likely to help you and be happy to assist you in your travels if you are patient and understanding with them.
5: Making Future Travel Plans
This is important no matter whether you will be visiting the station again simply for increased knowledge, but if you plan to frequent the station it is crucial to gather the relevant information for the future. Understanding what to do for the future when you travel using train stations is important to easing journeys.
If you are going to visit certain popular train stations or places that tend to be crowded during certain times of day and year, it is important to understand when the best time is to visit. As a disabled visitor, it is often more difficult to get around when stations are busier. Hopefully these five top tips will help you get started planning your train travel for the future.