A group of young wheelchair users will today (31/01/17) present the case for a petition calling for better access to public transport to Assembly members at the Senedd.
The group of young Ambassadors for the disabled children and young people’s charity Whizz-Kidz will make the case not only for better and more convenient access to transport, but also for better training for public transport staff which, they said, can be as much of a barrier as poor access.
In a presentation and film made in partnership with the Senedd, the young people will address Assembly members Mike Hedges, Gareth Bennett, Janet Finch-Saunders and Neil McEvoy.
The young people’s campaigning activities form part of the charity’s wider Get on Board campaign which, since 2015 has campaigned for better access across to public transport after a poll of wheelchair users, their families and carers revealed:
- The majority of people (70%) said they do not feel they can travel as independently as they would like to
- Three quarters (77%) said they experience problems while travelling which mean they can't travel as independently as they'd like to.
- Barriers in accessing public transport ranged from lack of accessible transport near where respondents live (67%), to being deterred by the attitudes of staff (57%) or other passengers (61%).
- Two thirds (66%) said they simply do not feel confident enough to use public transport.
Ayesha Khan is 20 and from Pill, and is a Whizz-Kidz Ambassador. She said:
“Today is a really important day for us, as we are able to go to the Senedd and explain face-to-face to Assembly members why the issues in our petition are so important to young people in Wales.
“We hope the Assembly members hear what we have to say and that it leads to improvements that mean young people like me get better access to public transport!”
Joanna Fashan is Regional Services Area Manager at Whizz-Kidz, she said:“Access to public transport is so important for all wheelchair users, but for young people in particular it can mean the difference between isolation and participation, so Whizz-Kidz warmly welcomes the commitment the Assembly have shown to hearing the views of our Ambassadors.
“We hope that, by taking their petition before Assembly members, young wheelchair users in Wales will see a real difference not only to their ability to access public transport, but also to attitudes to disability which can be as restrictive as access itself.”