are words I remember from my terrifying journeys on London Underground. I am not sure I could actually handle the Underground any more. The local transport system is causing enough trouble.
We have two railway stations fairly close to us. I use one in preference to the other. To get to the first one there is a journey up a quite steep little rise and then through a very awkward underpass. There are barriers on either side of the underpass. These were designed, supposedly, to stop the local boys from flying through on their bikes. It has slowed them down slightly but it has not stopped them. They simply use the barriers as exercise bars .
What has happened is that the underpass is unusable for anyone on a gopher or in a wheelchair. Baby strollers and my tricycle get stuck. Those of us with access issues mormally use the other station.
Once you do access the station there are other access issues. The platform is about 30cms lower than the trains - and there is the gap between the platform and the train as well.
The driver is supposed to render assistance to anyone who needs it by putting down a ramp taken from a locked box. Drivers hate doing it. The system is not safe. At the local station I am speaking of it is positively dangerous - although the ramp is made to Disability Standards Number Whatever. They do not put the ramp down for bicycles and my tricycle is classed as a bicycle. There needs to be a change in the law before they will acknowledge that it is not a bicycle.
My father thought he would try the train the other day. He walked up to the first station. It is quite a walk. He managed to get his walker through the underpass. He stood at the marked point for assistance - and got none. One of the passengers helped him on to the train. At the terminus in the city there is no problem about getting out - apart from the gap - because the platforms have been made level with the trains.
Coming home he needed assistance to get off - and again got none. The swivel wheels on his walker got caught in the gap between the train and the platform. It was his sheer good fortune that a passenger saw his plight and assisted.
I reported all this as a serious safety issue and had a meeting with three railway employees at the station yesterday. I made a suggestion with respect to signage which will be carried out right along the line but the gap is a different story.
The gap is there to stop trains hitting the platform and derailing. The gap is a safety issue anywhere in the world where there are trains.
It seems that we can build a space station and a docking bay for the astronauts to enter and exit it. We cannot build something to bridge the gap.