How mapping software screws wheelchair users…(Friday Requiem)

 Quick note for readers.  I think it’s important that I consider my back catalogue of posts to be part of the site and that they get maintained, looked after and followed up on.  So each Friday I’ll be picking a post I did from that week last year, and see if my opinions have changed, or find out how the story develops.

Last year, in this post, I wrote this:

Public transport in London is not good enough for people with mobility problems, and it’s pretty hard to even explain to people that mobility problems isn’t the same as people in sport wheelchairs.  The London Underground is a particular offender (mostly for historical reasons of construction it must be said), and the nasty truth is that for a lot of people with mobility problems the LU is a no-go area. Personally I find the idea of ‘just use the bus’ pretty horrible in any case and I’d like to see *actual* accessible transport, but while waiting for accessible transport, I’d like the second-order services like mapping software and so on to take account of the fact that not everyone is one of the gouging and biting mobs fighting to get on the central line at quarter to six in the evening…. Sigh.

By odd coincidence,  this story is currently doing the rounds.

Doug Paulley, 36, was denied access to a First bus to Leeds when a woman with a pushchair refused to move because her baby was sleeping

The most recent judge to look at the case has overturned the ruling, on the interesting basis of ‘this is a job for parliament’. I like to think that the choice between ‘forcing a wheelchair user of a bus’ compared to ‘risking waking a baby’ is one for common decency.

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