Calling London commuters

19 02 2010

Transport for London is carrying out research to   understand more about the travelling experiences of disabled commuters. If you are mobility, visually, or hearing impaired, deaf or a wheelchair user, you can take part in this research. Your usual journey to work or college should include travel by bus, Tube or Overground during weekday peak hours and if you travel after 7pm.

A small incentive is offered for completing an assessment form about your journey. The work is being carried out with Accent Marketing and Research.

If you’d like to take part and improve the travelling experience for other disabled people, go online to AccentMR, call 0800 028 4095 or email

Subtitles on airline carriers

30 06 2009

I’ve just booked a long-haul holiday and I’m really not looking forward to a long flight with British Arseways where I am unable to watch the screened movies because they won’t subtitle them. A lot of my friends complain about this particular issue, and I do think it’s about time the airline carriers wake up and give people with a hearing loss the equal access to movies we all expect and deserve.

As a hearing person, how would you like to sit through a long flight with the sound turned off on all the movies? When you complain, you’re told, “Oh sorry, we do provide a great service with lots of movies, but we just can’t cater for this”. Raarrrrrr.

Kyle has been through this with British Arseways and has plenty to say, read about his experiences here and here. United Arselines and US Arseways also have a bad rep. Virgin and KLM seem to be providing subtitles.

I think it’s hard for one person to make a difference by complaining. Too many people just put up with bad service and keep quiet. If we ALL complained, don’t you think that might be more effective? You can help by signing this petition to airline carriers to carry subtitles. Not just hot air.

You’ll notice this petition is American – well we’ve gotta start somewhere! The aim is to reach 10,000 petitions and the total at the moment is 1,323 signatures. This petition is also on Facebook at Subtitles on All Airline Carriers with over 5,000 members.

Signing the petition is FREE. There are no sign ups required!
1. Go to the petition
2. Fill out your information
3. Confirm, uncheck the boxes for information (unless you want this), then Submit
3. “Share”, just go to the bottom and click “Skip This”
4. Thank You Page (You’re done!)

INVITE your friends! The more people, the better!

1. Click on “Invite People to Join” button in the right menu.
2. Select all of your friends.
3. Click on the “Send invitation” button.

Fast and Easy!

From the petition “Subtitles on all aircraft carriers”;

Several people within the Deaf Community have brought up the issue that airlines do not put subtitles on TV shows and movies. Deaf and Hard-Of-Hearing people make up a great number of the Airline’s customers. We travel a lot so we should be given the same consideration by the airlines as hearing customers. Is it fair, ethical that we have to sit through our long flights, unable to understand whatever is on while hearing customers are able to enjoy the services to the fullest. We have waited a long time for this change to happen and now it is time to become proactive. Sure the ADA law has taken care of us in some situations, but shouldnt ADA Title III: Public Accommodations apply to this situation also? Why not be heard, Im sure I speak on the behalf of the Deaf and Hard-Of-Hearing community when I say that we would love to have subtitles on all Aircraft Carriers. I welcome not just the United States but the world, people who fly need subtitles, come and sign this petition.

Bus problems?

15 04 2009

If you have problems getting access to buses because you have a hearing dog with you or simply because of your hearing loss (I do get some offensive drivers), here’s a useful site called Bus Users UK, which you can complain to.

Parliamentary lobby – calling all bus users!

6 10 2008

This lobby calls on the Government for the improvement of bus concessions without certain restrictions for all disabled and old people, including d/Deaf people. This event is hosted by Sense, with support from RAD Legal Services.

This lobby aims to secure –

Free travel for companions
Many disabled people cannot travel alone. They need somebody to travel with them. They have to pay the companion’s fare. This is unfair. Companions should travel free.

Free travel at all times
Many disabled and older people need to travel before 9.30am. They have to pay the fare. This is a problem. We should travel free at all times.

Free travel for all disabled people
Only some disabled people can have a national bus pass. All disabled people should be allowed a pass.

Fairness across the country
Local councils can add local travel concessions. Some do. Some do not. We should have the same concessions wherever we live.

There will be two different activities:

    A series of speeches at Central Hall, Westminster, about why change is needed to the current national concessionary bus travel allowance
    An opportunity to meet with your local MP to tell them about your experiences and what improvements you would like made

Where: Central Hall, Houses of Parliament, Westminster
When: Wednesday 24 October 2008 2.00-4.30pm

For more information, please check out RAD Legal Services and scroll down to the parliamentary lobby event. Directions and marketing materials are available HERE.

Freedom pass = Free to Pass?

6 09 2008

Freedom Passes can be confusing to use. Freedom Pass holders are not told when and where they can use it. We have to try and find out for ourselves. What’s worse, it seems that even Transport for London staff don’t know the regulations. We’re all told we can’t use the Freedom Pass on the trains before 9.30am. But check out the official Freedom Pass leaflet LBS07/08 produced by London Councils, who fund the Freedom Passes. Note the first box, ‘Travelling Times’. It says that for the London Overground, ‘holders of the Disabled person’s freedom pass can travel free at all times’.

The London Overground (view map here) runs on a number of lines but it doesn’t cover a very comprehensive area. My guess is it’s easier for staff to control Freedom Pass travel if it’s contained within certain train lines. Therefore national train networks aren’t covered, even though they do operate within the London boroughs. It’s bloody annoying.

I came across this post in an internet forum. Mike notes that the Freedom Pass application form says “See information leaflet LBS07/08 revised Feb 2008 for further details, which will be given to you with your pass”. He never got the leaflet and he can’t find anybody in the Post Office or tube station, who admits to having heard of it.

And no, I’d never seen one either, until Fiona showed me hers.

Fiona tried to stand up for her rights and travelled on an overground train with her Freedom Pass before 9am. The LU staff said they didn’t know anything about the train concessions. She even had a copy of LBS07/08 with her and showed this to them. They refused to believe the regulations stated in the leaflet and fined her. Fiona sent in a complaint and asked for a refund of her ticket. It was denied.

It seems to me, London councils think disabled Londoners don’t or can’t work, therefore don’t need a Freedom Pass before 9.30am. Disabled doesn’t equal old and incapable. In fact, I only know of one disabled person who doesn’t work, and she is incapable. The trains are often the safest means of transport for those with disabilities, as the tube is too crowded and stations are often inaccessible, and bus drivers drive like maniacs and tell Guide Dog owners to either go upstairs or to get off. It’s like a Monopoly game, isn’t it? Three steps forward and two steps back.

My dog came up with an alternative suggestion … hehehe.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

London’s Transport Museum

21 08 2008

I discovered from lilwatchergirl’s blogpost that you can get free entry into the Transport Museum, with a ‘minder’, if you have a Freedom Pass. Whoopee do dar!

What’s interesting is how rude the staff were to her – I will feed back on their ‘professionalism’ after a visit with my Hearing Dog!

Freedom Pass update

20 03 2008

Transport for London have informed me that the expiry date for using Freedom Passes will be extended until May 30th 2008. They have today sent out new forms to disabled Freedom Pass holders for them to take to their GP for renewal. I asked why. Apparently these new forms mean the Freedom Pass will now be extended to cover the whole country.


I would still like to be able to use it on the trains before 9.30am so I can get to work earlier!

Checking the Freedom Pass website, it says London’s disabled Freedom Pass holders are entitled to concessions on buses outside London 9.30am – 11pm on the new English Bus Scheme, from 1st April 2008.

I’ll be clarifying this with a personal visit to my local council!

Fright train

9 02 2008

I’m not too happy with train doors. Again.

All because I couldn’t hear the doors beeping in the split seconds before they slammed shut.

We were on our way home and we got to the train station. The train was very crowded and it was difficult to get on. My Hearing Dog jumped on first then the doors slammed shut behind him, before I managed to jump on. I couldn’t get the doors to open, neither could the passengers on the inside of the train, and the train pulled out of the station. With my dog on it. And I was on the platform. It was panic mode. Big time. Holy schmoly.

I ran over to the guard and told him what had happened. He went to his colleagues and they phoned through to the next station. Luckily, some nice person put my dog off the train at the next station, and the station manager took him into his office. I went to the office, put my head round the door, and my dog was standing there wagging his tail, happy as anything.

I kept thinking someone would think ‘Aww, nice dog, I’ll take him home.’

What if I had been sight-impaired and my dog had been a Guide Dog for the Blind? *shudder*

I think the rail companies need to think seriously about access and slowing down those door mechanisms – I’m surprised someone hasn’t been seriously hurt yet by train doors chopping them in half. Or are all those ‘fallen leaves on the line’ and other ‘rail incidents’ really down to people getting trapped in train doors, but the rail companies don’t want to scare commuters and lose their customers?

24 hour free travel in London

29 01 2008

Ken Livingstone argues for a 24-hour Freedom Pass for the elderly and disabled.

At the moment, you can’t use your Freedom Pass before 9.30am. So if you need to travel to a job and you’re disabled enough to be entitled to a Freedom Pass, you’re stuffed, and have to pay full price for travel. Ken says elderly Londoners tell him they need to travel to appointments and make other trips before 9am (what other trips? a job?! and why are pensioners getting appointments so early in the morning, is this so they can get to work afterwards?!). So Ken wants to provide 24 hour access to London transport by extending the operating hours of the Freedom Pass. I wonder if Ken has listened to disabled Londoners – there are probably far more disabled than elderly Londoners trying to hold down a job. It seems to me that disabled Londoners are an afterthought, a lucky by-product of an advantage given to the elderly.

As travel is now free on buses for the under-18s, half-price for those on income support, and soon-to-be completely free for the elderly and disabled, the burden is heavier on the ordinary commuter. But I’d like to know where all those high rail charges and fare increases are going – so much transport is late, cancelled, dirty, there are few staff around at stations if any, there are no train guards / ticket conductors / tube staff, and generally the transport system is deemed unsafe.

It looks like we’re getting access (and any other improvements) at the price of service quality. Would you agree?

Bus trouble

22 01 2008

I saw an article in the London Metro today, talking about a new emergency text service in London which could go live soon. How many times have you seen violence on London transport? I’ve not personally seen any but I know of two people who have been attacked recently.
One was a friend of a friend. She was sitting on the train one evening, and a beggar came walking down the aisle asking everybody for change. He asked her for change and she said sorry but she didn’t have any on her. What he did next shocked me. He punched her in the face and broke her nose. Then he sauntered off. She sat there with blood pouring down her face and not one passenger offered to assist her.
I have a friend called David who’s deaf. One evening he was taking the train home from work and at London Bridge, some yobs got on and proceeded to tear the black rubber lining strip from the windows. David got up and shouted at them to leave the windows alone. The yobs set upon him and left him with fractures and a black eye. The police were called, another passenger offered his testimony, but they still haven’t been caught. Luckily, David is ok.

This new emergency text service means bus passengers will be able to discreetly raise an alarm by sending a code as a text message to a dedicated police number, this code being shown on posters around the bus. Each bus will have it’s own code letters so police will know which bus to target.

This is all very fine and dandy for hearing people, luckily it’s handy for deaf people too. I’d like to see this on all public transport.