London buses really are your best friendsBy Niamh Duffy -
I will be honest… it didn’t start off well. We had checked the accessible tube map prior to visiting, after many years of family holidays and days out I know that for things to go as smoothly as possible with the wheelchair, planning is key. London Euston had a wheelchair sign next to it, but when we arrived we were told the accessible station was St Pancras down the road. Now if it was a sunny day in the city this stroll may have been enjoyable, however with rain dripping off our faces we made the dreary walk, determined to not let the weather put a dampener on morale.
The day didn’t get much better. We then constantly had to ask for guidance, go around in circles underground to find lifts and even lift my wheelchair off the tube at points. Now I do understand that TfL are doing what they can, the underground was built a long time ago so the accessibility features they have been able to put in are impressive considering. However, it is something I probably won’t be doing again but to say I’ve experienced it once is good enough for me.
So a bit of advice from me – if you are planning to travel round London:
1. Check and double check the accessible tube map before you travel – only 30% of stations are accessible
2. Give yourself extra time to find lifts and other entrances to stations – they are not always the most signposted locations
3. Buses are your best friends – London buses all have ramps built in that the driver can put out without leaving their seat
4. Enjoy it – trying something new was exciting and turned the day into an adventure!