I like to think that I’m a pretty reasonable person. And am always quick to point out excellent attitudes to disability/accessible facilities.
But I am just as vocal when I encounter behaviour and practices that belong in the Middle Ages.
And unfortunately for those involved, my “walks” are now getting quite a lot of media attention. So any failings are well-publicised.
So the award for the most Disability-Unfriendly Public Transport Company in Europe – goes to Transport Iles Baleares (TIB).
For the last two years, I have travelled all across Europe with my walking stick. On buses. Trains. Aeroplanes. Even on boats.
And not once has my walking stick, which I now NEED to walk a single step, been an issue.
Until this morning. And the 10:45 Transports Iles Baleares bus from Port d’Alcudia to Palma.
The bus driver refused to allow my stick on board the bus. Luckily for me, there was a local lady in the queue before me, who explained to the driver that this was no leisure walking stick, but a walking stick that was needed.
The bloody big grey rubber stopper on the bottom, issued by the Scottish NHS, should have given him a hint that I wasn’t going mountaineering!
His reaction? A quick shrug of his shoulders. Followed by his insistence that my walking stick wasn’t coming on board.
The problem with putting it below the bus in the luggage hold?
How the hell did he think I was going to get from the luggage hold to the front of the bus without my walking stick?
I’m pretty sure that, as my ataxia progresses, the day will come when I fall and break an arm.
But I’m not willing to do it now – just to keep an ignorant bus driver happy!
And it gets worse.
As I had to be in Peguera for an appointment later in the day, I HAD to be in Palma by lunchtime. So the only other option was to take a taxi.
That’s €63 that I now don’t have to fund these ataxia-awareness-raising events.
And to think that I actually walked 500 miles through this country last year?
So, until a €63 refund from TIB finds its way into my bank account, TIB can expect a daily (and very public) complaint!
TIB: Instead of covering your buses with stickers that proclaim just how disability-friendly you’d like people to think you are, perhaps your efforts would be better spent educating your drivers!
If a walking stick looks like the image below, and the user of that stick explains that it is impossible to walk a single step without it, then maybe it (and the user) should be allowed on your buses (in fact, I’m sure there is some EU anti-discrimination regulation which says just this).
Or maybe you should slap your “disabled-friendly” stickers on a certain driver’s forehead?
And then every time he sees his face in a mirror, he’ll be reminded that he is supposed to HELP passengers with mobility issues –
instead of publicly HUMILIATING them!
But the day wasn’t a total disaster. And you can always rely on a wee Scottish wumman to cheer you up.
As mentioned above, I was on my way to a meeting in Peguera – the outcome of which, will determine whether I spend this Winter in Mallorca.
So I had to impress. But I was still livid at the humiliation at the hands of TIB, so I probably wasn’t in the best of moods.
Fortunately, as I was walking through Peguera on my way to the meeting, I heard a wee Scottish voice shout “I love yer kilt! Och, how are you?”.
So I stopped for a wee blether.
Fiona, from Balloch (now working in Tradys in Peguera): If I end up spending 3-4 months in Peguera this Winter – then a lot of it will be down to you putting me in a better frame of mind. Thank you – and I hope to be seeing you again soon! 🙂