Why disabled passengers still have to contend with harmful myths about accessibility

The founder of an app that helps people with disabilities gain better access to public transport has spoken out against “harmful myths” that he believes are still prevalent in UK society.

Jay Shen, managing director of Transport, the company behind the Passenger Assistance app, believes more needs to be done to improve public awareness of the accessibility challenges faced by people with disabilities.

The Passenger Assistance app was created to help people with disabilities book assistance for their travels. The app helps provide assistance to thousands of people with disabilities, such as getting ramps on trains and personal assistance at stations, and the research was conducted to explore the invisible barriers to accessibility, including the perception of accessibility.

The team conducted a data study with disabled public transport users as well as multiple focus groups that examined Google search data to learn more about the perception of accessibility for disabled people.

Data research has revealed a number of unusual misconceptions about people with disabilities that Shen is interested in preventing, they include.

‘Could the guide dog be black?’

‘Can people with disabilities vote?’

‘Can people with disabilities drive?’

‘Float the wheelchair’

‘Why are disabled people locked in toilets?’

‘How do people with disabilities drive?’

‘Can disabled people park in the place of parents and baby?’

‘Why are the toilets of the disabled blue?’

The study also uncovered a number of myths that are still commonly believed. For example:

‘People’ registered as disabled ‘

‘Disability is a permanent condition that can be proven’

‘Some toilets only for wheelchairs’

“It’s a damaging myth that people may and may not be ‘registered disabled,'” Shane said.

“It simply came to our notice then. This leads to confusion as well as people with disabilities being mistakenly challenged when using accessible toilets or having radar keys. “

He added: “By analyzing the questions people ask and the topics they research online, you can learn a lot about public perception. Our research suggests that overall, people are interested in understanding the experiences of people with disabilities. But some research terms are deep. Indicates a misunderstanding. “

Accessibility expert and promoter Sarah Renee uses a wheelchair as a regular public transport traveler. He believes that lack of understanding is not necessarily contagious, but it does indicate the need for greater awareness of everyday life and the challenges people with disabilities face.

Sarah says: “When you see people ‘googling’ it raises a smile that whether guide dogs can be black or wheelchairs float, but mistrust in one’s knowledge can lead to serious consequences.

“A blind friend of mine was recently removed from a venue because staff did not believe his black Labrador was a true guide dog. They assumed that only Golden Retrievers were legitimate help dogs. Such abusive and violent incidents have a profound effect on the self-esteem of people with disabilities. “

Sara added: “It’s positive that people are doing their own research. While some people with disabilities may be open to answering questions based on their actual desire to better understand our experiences, it’s important to remember that asking personal questions is not generally appropriate. , Especially to complete strangers. And educating people with disabilities about issues that affect our daily lives is not really for people with disabilities, especially when it comes to our legal rights. It is the job of the employer to ensure that you are trained and understand the law of equality. “

The data analyzed by Transreport shows a combination of disability and wheelchair use. Most people with disabilities do not use wheelchairs and this is one of the biggest sources of friction and superstition for people with hidden disabilities.

Some focus group participants reported that they were challenged to prove their weakness by providing documentation. The most common situations where this happened were when they tried to use accessible facilities or get help at a venue. Others have expressed concern that those with invisible barriers often face abuse and public challenge when using accessible toilets or sitting on priority seats on public transport.

“Educating non-disabled people about issues that affect our daily lives is not really for disabled people, especially when it comes to our legal rights.” – Sarah Renee, Promoter and Accessibility Specialist.

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