Public transport is some peoples worst nightmare. Crowded buses and trains are stressful for anyone. What about if you team that with being in a powered wheelchair? Although the accessibility of public transport and our towns and cities has improved drastically in recent years, many disabled people still face endless challenges purely to commute to work or go shopping with friends. Often, non-disabled people simply don’t appreciate the everyday challenges of getting about our towns and cities.
Sunil Rodger, a PhD student at Newcastle University, is working on a research project called “Journeying” to highlight the day-to-day experiences of powered wheelchair users in public spaces. Having previously worked at the John Walton Muscular Dystrophy Research Centre at Newcastle University and collaborated with Muscular Dystrophy UK and their Trailblazers network of young disabled campaigners, he was inspired to try to “bring about a change”.
This is something I personally feel extremely passionate about. Many times, I have faced sarcastic comments from train guards about whose job it is to get the ramp out, been left stuck on trains and had to press the alarm because I’ve been forgotten about or had to rely on a stranger to help me out. I use public transport every single day to get to work or socialise with friends so it is therefore vital in my life.
But he needs your help. Are you a powered wheelchair user? Would you be interested in getting involved?
Taking part in the project is simple. It can involve going on a journey with a researcher, and using a custom mobile phone app to record your experiences; and/or taking part in a group workshop. What you choose to do is entirely up to you.