4 Apr 2012

Your tweets tell the story of 24 hours in No Go Britain

As disabled passengers tweet their travels for No Go Britain, more cases emerge of wheelchair users forced to “get onto the train floor” to complete their journeys.

Disabled people across the UK have been live-tweeting their daily journeys on Britain’s transport network – road, river and rail – with hundreds of messages posted using the #nogobritain hashtag throughout Wednesday.

While some enjoyed a smooth ride and praised transport operators, dozens of tweets revealed the unpredictable nature of trying to get around, especially if you are mobility-impaired.

Lisa Clancy (@alwyen) described how “no-one” was there to help when she arrived at a station in London. Instead she had to “get on floor of train get chair off and get back in my chair”. Things got better when she took a river boat along the Thames. “Clipper boat staff helpful,” she posted.

Elsewhere, Fran Brown (@franrbrown) found she first had to sit in a train doorway and later get out of her wheelchair – “onto train floor and drag chair,” she tweeted.

Andrew Haglington (@AHaglington) described the rail and tube network as “an utter nightmare”.

And Cherie Sullivan (@cheriesullivan) said: “I’ve lost count how many times I’ve been stuck getting on/off buses, the last time was for over 2 hours #nogobritain”

Disability ‘rush hour’ and the pram battle

The day-long Twitter trial revealed disabled passengers largely tried to avoid morning rush hour, with most tweeters heading out later in the morning to maximise their chances of a good journey.

And the daily battle between prams and wheelchairs is clearly a big issue.

Thomas Pitt (@moose_malloy) tweeted: “Driver on the bus today asked wheelchair user to move for a pram. Pram user gobbed off at him for being in the way. Welcome to #nogobritain”

Dominic Lund-Conlon (@daddydoink) agreed: “In #nogobritain a bus wheelchair space is in theory for a wheelchair, but the law doesn’t say what happens if someone refuses.”

Mike Hughes (@mikehughescq), who is tweeting his journeys for a whole year, took six bus journeys on Wednesday and documented the lack of easy-to-read signs, the difficulty buying a ticket and, in some cases, slippery floors making the whole experience even more perilous in a wheelchair.

He summed up the day: “Quite a revelation to do a search on #nogobritain. Speaks for itself really and half term is always way better than normal services.”

‘Rare gems’

And you reported on your positive experiences too.

Early on Wednesday, Sue Groves ( @SUEG46) posted: “arrived at Chatham this morning greeted by friendly staff. Ramp assistance on to HS1 and off to work! 10 out of 10 so far!”

“In #nogobritain @greateranglia Chelmsford, Colchester are fantastic – friendly staff, happy to help if you just turn up. Rare gems,” tweeted @daddydoink.

‘So many stories’

Our No Go Britain Reporter Katie Razzall said: “”I’ve been really surprised by the great reaction to this latest stage of No Go Britain. So many tweets, so many stories. And more proof of how important this series is.

“Last week the retired Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson told us about a recent train journey she’d had in which – because station staff didn’t come to meet her at the end, as she’d booked – she had to get out of her wheelchair, push it off the train and crawl off.

These stories may not come as a surprise to many disabled travellers, but they do shock me. Katie Razzall

“Today two other travellers have described similar experiences of having to get out of their chairs onto the floor as they boarded or left trains.

“These stories may not come as a surprise to many disabled travellers, but they do shock me.”

Channel 4 News is awaiting responses from all the train operators and bus firms involved in these featured journeys.