Thursday, 19 May 2011
Having just been in London with work, I was once again struck by something that I think about often. I had finished the thing I was filming and had about 3 hours to get myself to the airport. I was in central London and needed to get the underground from Leicester Square to the train station at Victoria and then a train to the actual airport. It sounds relatively simple, until you add in the fact that it was rush hour. Trust me, the London underground is NOT somewhere you want to be during rush hour, especially if you have arthritis.
I got on the wrong tube, I then had to double back on myself and got stuck in a delay. Then I had to change lines a few times and wait in massive queues. All in all it took me an hour to travel what should have been 3 stops. There were people rushing and pushing all around, it was incredibly hot and stuffy and even though I grabbed a seat for a wee bit, most of the time I was standing or walking down long corridors and up and down massive staircases.
During this whole time I was thinking "My god, this is terrible. How in the world is a disabled person supposed to travel like this?" I feel very lucky that at the moment my mobility is not restricted and the entire ordeal only resulted in a sore foot. However, there is the possibility that one day I may indeed need extra help getting around and it is in situations like yesterdays that I really appreciate how difficult, if not impossible, it must be for people with more severe mobility problems to get from A to B in day to day situations. Because there isn't really an alternative to using the tube in London. Yes, I suppose you could get a cab but that would cost you through the roof and yes, I suppose you could drive but if you're only in town for a business trip all the way from Scotland and you don't know where you're going then that's impossible too. Maybe there is some sort of disabled access on the tube which may be more practical during quiet times and maybe only gives access to certain stations but in rush hour with all those crowds pushing and pulling? Forget it! So what's a person meant to do? Not travel in rush hour and maybe not even be able to go to London for business at all.
So many things in life people take for granted, I wish it were that simple.