Unlimited West is seriously concerned about accessibility and accessibility in the other half-metre society. O Unlimited West is a club of people with and without disabilities who are committed to the accessibility and accessibility of public space and public buildings, such as community centres and shops.
We are concerned about how people with disabilities will be able to live their lives independently and safely in the future. The measures in the fight against the coronavirus impose a lot of restrictions on us. Many of the facilities that are necessary for people with disabilities to be able to participate independently in society are reversed by the other half society. It seems that staying at home is the only option for people with disabilities. This means that you need more help from others.
In this pamphlet some facts and concerns.
- Valys (additional public transport for distances of 25 km or more) only carries out journeys to funerals and cremations. For regular public transport, the assessment of whether the ride you want to make is an urgently needed ride is left to the passenger. Why are people with disabilities not allowed to judge for themselves whether their trip is urgently needed?
- RMC does carry out rides, but assesses whether they consider the ride to be urgently needed or not. They are advised not to make rides that they do not consider to be urgently necessary. This also undermines the autonomy of people who need the AOV. While this is precisely the raison d’être of the AOV. In addition, RMC states on the site that if necessary, the driver can secure the wheelchair, or help to get in. In practice, however, they do not want that. For example, the visually impaired members of Unlimited West have problems finding and boarding the car, and the wheelchair users have problems securing the wheelchair.
- Some shops, doctors and hospitals do not want to let a person who is dependent on a personal attendant in with that personal attendant. This means that it is no longer possible to decide for oneself where to go if the personal attendant is not welcome.
- The public space will be rearranged. Especially the idea that terraces can be given more space worries us. This will limit the passage, if not in advance, then it is in use that chairs always fan out over a larger area than that intended for a terrace.
Especially with the regular terrace size, it is often problematic to navigate between the terrace and other obstacles on the street.
- Cyclists to the lane is a good idea for pedestrians (including those with disabilities, such as people in wheelchairs or visually impaired people), because it is then easier to pass each other at 1.5 metres. However, we are concerned about the older, vulnerable and/or inexperienced cyclist. Between car and scooter traffic, this poses more danger than on the cycle path.
- The fact that more people will start cycling also causes us concern. Where bicycles are parked accessibility problems arise. And does the city have sufficient resources to change behaviour and, if necessary, enforce it? Otherwise pedestrians will get in trouble.
- The capacity of the AOV worries us. Disabled people who did travel independently with public transport in ‘normal life’ are no longer able to do so. The AOV no longer combines rides, while the appeal to the AOV will increase the more we pick up our social life and other obligations. For example because visually impaired people cannot see whether the tram is already full, because people with a physical disability cannot walk or roll in the bus to an available seat or because they are with more than one person. For example: a partially sighted parent – with a partially sighted partner – who always took his child to guitar lessons and school by tram, will not be able to cope with the coronary measures. He now walks an hour for half an hour of private guitar lessons and an hour back. That’s not doing it! The bike or the car is not an option. The AOV is also not an option, because it is not seen as an urgent necessity. Moreover, with the waiting time (quarter of an hour before, quarter of an hour after the agreed time) this is also not feasible.
- Regular public transport is becoming less accessible. Not only because of the restrictions on the number of passengers and the rules that apply in trams, buses and trains, but also because the new trams of the GVB are not accessible for wheelchairs and the GVB does not intend to remedy this. Where wheelchair users were able to travel independently, they are now prevented from doing so.
door Caroline Vonk