Multi-agency initiative launched to encourage commuters to leave wheelchair zone vacant for those who need it most!
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD and Finian McGrath, Minister with Responsibility for Disability Issues joined Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA), Dublin Bus and National Transport Authority to launch a new awareness campaign which highlights the importance of the dedicated wheelchair zone on every Dublin Bus. The multi-agency initiative aims to demonstrate the negative consequences which can impact a wheelchair user if they are unable to access the wheelchair zone on Dublin Bus services.
One of the single biggest issues facing wheelchair users who regularly use Dublin Bus is the availability of the wheelchair zone, which is more often occupied by a commuter travelling with a buggy or pram. A series of awareness videos, featuring people with disabilities, captures the effects and illustrate the challenges which arise if the wheelchair zone is occupied by another passenger travelling with a buggy.
Speaking at the launch of the ‘Please Don’t Buggy in the Wheelchair Zone’ campaign, Minister Shane Ross said:
“This is a timely campaign. As we continuously work to improve accessibility on our public transport system it’s important that everyone does their bit. Wheelchair users need to be able to access the place specifically reserved for them on Dublin Bus. Before you wheel your buggy into this place or in any other way prevent it being used by the person it is meant for, please consider the inconvenience and stress you are causing people who already face considerable challenges travelling from A to B. Keep the space free. Let’s make sure that there’s room for all of us on the bus”
CEO of Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) Rosemary Keogh explained the situation many wheelchair users travelling on Dublin Bus experience:
“One of the main issues reported by IWA members and wheelchair users who frequently use Dublin Bus is the availability of the dedicated wheelchair zone. Quite often this space is also utilised by passengers travelling with children in buggies and prams. Unfortunately, when asked by the driver, it is regularly the case that the individual travelling with a buggy does not move to an alternative seat, leaving the wheelchair user stranded at the bus stop, waiting for the next bus. This can have a significant impact on that person’s day, which other commuters may not have considered. The awareness campaign launched by IWA, Dublin Bus and NTA shares some of the stories our members report on a daily basis.”
During the month of October, a series of awareness videos will feature across social media platforms, adverts will be displayed on specific bus shelters throughout Dublin City and reminder notices will be included on many Dublin Buses to ensure commuters are aware of the correct protocol to follow when the wheelchair zone is required by a passenger using a wheelchair.
Joining Irish Wheelchair Association at the launch of the awareness campaign was Ray Coyne, CEO of Dublin Bus who said:
“As Ireland’s largest public transport provider it is of the utmost importance to us that everyone can access our services. We have a long relationship with disability groups such as the Irish Wheelchair Association and we engage with them regularly on many initiatives. Our aim for this campaign is to highlight to all customers that wheelchair users have priority over others in the use of the designated space on all buses and how important it is to vacate this space for wheelchair users as this is the only space available to them to travel safely on our services.”
The series of videos launched as part of the ‘Please Don’t Buggy in the Wheelchair Zone’ illustrates the simple process which IWA, Dublin Bus and NTA are encouraging all passengers travelling with buggies to support and follow. Anne Graham, CEO of National Transport Authority welcomed the multi-agency awareness campaign and said:
“The campaign we are launching today emphasises the fact that when it comes to public transport, access to decent reliable services is just as important to people who use wheelchairs, as it is for everybody else.
“Our message is simple. Please make room for wheelchair user passengers when they get on your Dublin Bus service.
“And in TFI we are doing our bit to make that easier. All the vehicles we are now purchasing for use on bus services in Dublin don’t just have a wheelchair zone. They have an additional open space, which is great if you have lots of shopping or even a buggy.”
Minister with Responsibility for Disability Issues, Finian McGrath also welcomed the campaign:
“It is great to see 3 organisations coming together to raise awareness around an important issue, and highlighting the importance of accessible transport. While Dublin Bus has achieved a fully accessible fleet there still remains the priority issue of the wheelchair zone being used by others passengers. I would encourage all Dublin Bus passengers to view the campaign videos and play their part and consider the impact of taking up this space has on people with disabilities.”
For further information about the campaign or to watch the ‘Please Don’t Buggy in the Wheelchair Zone’ awareness videos please visit www.iwa.ie/buggy