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    My thoughts on using public transport

    By Matt

    I grew up in a small village so learning to drive was the key to freedom. The buses were once every 3 hours, if they turned up at all, and they stopped after 6pm.

    When my driving licence got taken away this was very hard as the buses were next to impossible, they were poorly timed so didn’t get into the local town before 9am so I would be turning up to work late and they stopped early so I would have to leave early. I managed to cope by having some great friends.

    When I was going to university location was one of the key things to my choice. Was the university in the centre of the city and would it be easy to get to via bus, using the freedom card or by walking.

    There are at times, especially at university and in my first few years after university I felt quite judged when I used buses. I don’t feel disabled, I don’t look disabled and I felt that people already on the bus were judging me, “he’s not disabled he’s walking fine”, “he’s too young to have one of those” etc. But I realised that I have my pass for a reason, if I couldn’t have one then I wouldn’t of been allowed it, so don’t feel guilty about having one. When I moved to London where people use contactless cards there is no pressure, I didn’t get the guilty feeling when I used my Freedom pass.

    "I realised that I have my pass for a reason, if I couldn’t have one then I wouldn’t of been allowed it, so don’t feel guilty about having one"

    One problem with London is traveling at peak times, whilst I would prefer to stand and let those that need to sit have the seat, I have to keep in mind that I am also someone that should be sitting. If I have a seizure whilst on the bus or tube and fall over, I could injure myself .

    I would recommend getting a ‘please offer me a seat’ badge and wearing it during peak times, people will generally be kind and offer you a seat. If people don’t and you are too nervous to ask, these badges come with a card that says not all disabilities are visible so this can be pulled out and shown to people that won’t move. Most map apps, google maps, city planner etc. tell you which coaches have the best chance of finding a seat at busy times. Changing the time that you travel can help.

    Towns are usually quite good with public transport but it depends where in the country and the size of town, generally the bigger the place the better the transport. If you are planning to move houses/flats, one thing I would look at is how close are you to public transport networks, not just the closest bus stop but also the transport hubs where there’s access to more options.



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