COUNTY NEWS: Sussex campaigner's call for better transport for disabled people
A young disabled campaigner from Sussex has hit out at public transport he believes is failing a generation of disabled people, as revealed in a charity's report today.
Jordan Wright, 19, took part in a nine-month undercover investigation and national survey for Muscular Dystrophy UK Trailblazers, a network of 700 young disabled people across the UK.
The charity said the End of the Line report shares disturbing experiences across buses, trains, taxis and the underground.
Today (Wednesday, April 20), Jordan will be grilling MPs and transport operators about the findings at an event in Parliament.
The charity said they reveal a bleak picture of young disabled people turned away from journeys, facing abuse and left stranded across the south east.
Muscular Dystrophy UK Trailblazers are calling for taxi operators to increase the number of accessible taxis in the UK and ensure any app-based technology provides an accessible service and for the government to work with groups such as Trailblazers to ensure the transport needs of disabled people are met.
Jordan, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy and lives in St Leonards, rarely uses public transport due to inaccessible taxis and buses.
He said several drivers have told him his wheelchair does not fit into their vehicle, leaving his transport options limited.
Jordan, from Muscular Dystrophy UK Trailblazers, said: “Taxis are an issue. They are not accessible and they say that my wheelchair is too big for their vehicle, so I have been refused access.
“I can’t use the buses, as they’re simply not designed to accommodate me. As a result I’m stuck for options on public transport. It’s sad to think of a generation of young disabled people limited by poor transport options. Disabled people need to know that transport serves them too.”
Tanvi Vyas, manager, Muscular Dystrophy UK Trailblazers, said: “It is disturbing to learn of such shocking experiences across the south east.
“The fact that young disabled people are being denied life opportunities by an inaccessible network is a national disgrace. Reports of verbal and physical threats are deeply troubling and will dent the confidence of victims for years to come.
“While we recognise and welcome improvements to transport over the years, it is clear from this report much more needs to be done. Local authorities and transport operators need to engage with charities like Muscular Dystrophy UK Trailblazers, and ensure that transport works for everyone. No one should be left behind.”
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