Why London’s subway system leaves so many disabled people without a ride.
CBC posted an article regarding the barriers people with disabilities face while trying to get around London’s Underground subway system.
I was there in that huge city in 2000. A trip of a lifetime!
I’d like to tell you some of my experiences before I link you to the CBC article.
In 2000, I was more Deaf-Blind only, my ataxia was barely noticeable, sure I fell a few times, but nothing too bad. I had no need for a walker, only a white cane. Which, by the way, I forgot at a pizza joint somewhere in Rome! Whoops!
Anyhow, the Tube, as they call it, was, is, amazing! It is huge and complex and I only touched a part of it! What I recall is that each car looked like a giant cigarette, not like a box, but like an actual tube. The top and bottom edges ere cut to an angle, not flat! Tall people really had to stoop to get in!
Even with the Tube having 270 stations, I never did get lost. I was able to find my way around, finding the historic sites (Tower of London, St. Paul’s, Paddingtons, a Circus or two, Harrods, etc etc) with ease. I had a map!
My fondest memory of riding the Tube was at a station, which I’ve forgotten the name of, laughing at a sign that said “Mind the Gap.” I was laughing because I thought it was funny! Gap? What gap? I am a veteran of Vancouver’s Skytrain, Toronto’s Subway, and Montreal’s Metro. What kind of “gap” are they talking about? I was thinking that, while chuckling to myself, when a Tube arrived in the station. As I was boarding, I just happened to look down, that is when I saw the “Gap”! It was a good 18 inches, or 45 cm, from platform to car! Yikes! I was able to jump that gap, which was lit below to add warnings!
I found out quickly that many Tube stations are on a curve, which is different from the lines I’m used to, which are all straight!
So, now, when I see “Mind the Gap” signs in places like Toronto, I do laugh, because, in comparison to The Tube, there is no difference!
In the article, linked below, I can fully understand and appreciate the lack of accessibility for persons with mobility issues. As mentioned above, I had no issues getting around with my white cane. Then again, I did not experience every station.
Thank you for reading!
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