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Disabled travellers urged to check changes to Covid-19 transport systems

Disabled travellers urged to check changes to Covid-19 transport systems
13th July 2020 Ian Streets

As travel options change for everybody as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic the BBC has looked at some of the challenges facing disabled people.
Reporter Beth Rose explored various means of travel including walking, cycling and using different forms of public transport, taking into account such issue as the need for guidance between platforms, use of wheelchair spaces on trains or how a guide dog will cope.
Beth suggests that the break form the routine may have resulted in guide dogs losing certain abilities. Pete Osborne from the charity Guide Dogs responded that older dogs won’t forget their training but recently-qualified dogs may forget some skills, and he urged owners to keep things as normal as possible when exercising.
Pete says guide dog owners should ask about such changes as new layouts and one-way systems before setting off on a journey out.
With rail travel, the article says where a member of staff is guiding someone with a visual impairment, a layer of material may now be used as a barrier between them but it adds that some staff may also choose to guide from behind or verbally to avoid face-to-face contact.
Again, passengers are encouraged to plans trips in advance to ensure access requirements can be met, particularly if someone needs a wheelchair space on a train.
Travellers in London are advised that they’ll find all front-line staff and taxi drivers wearing face coverings and taxi drivers too. Hand sanitiser is available at tube, rail and ferry stations and on the Emirates Air Line.
The article adds that if a traveller requires any form of access they should tell staff and they’ll then be able to queue jump, legitimately.
Also in London, according to the report, some streets will be switched to walking and cycling only while others may include buses although those with mobility issues will still have access to these areas, according to the Mayor’s office. In Manchester, the Deansgate shopping area has been designated a pedestrian and cycle haven.
Wheels for Wellbeing, which offers people the chance to try accessible bikes, told the BBC that inclusive infrastructure is not quite there yet
Accessible bikes are often longer and wider than standard two-wheelers, so using cycle lanes or parking can be difficult.
A key point which is relevant beyond transport issues is that the government has made some exceptions to the mandatory wearing of face masks.
The report says that if you have a disability which means you can’t put on, wear or remove a face covering or wearing one would cause “severe distress” or you are travelling with, or providing assistance to, someone who relies on lip-reading, you do not need to wear one.
To read the full article visit https://bbc.in/2V2t0L1

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