A step backwards in wheelchair transportation?

When I saw this I cringed: Drive away car invented

It’s basically a single person electric bubble car where wheelchair users can enter in their wheelchairs through the automatic ramp at the back, and then just drive away. How amazing is that – the inventor gave up her job to set up a company to make these cars which are steered by a motorbike-style handlebar and costing only $25.000.

WHOAAA ….. hang on a moment, I can do better than that!

I have a car, where I also stay in my wheelchair!

I also wheel straight in the back up a ramp (which could automatically fold up and the doors close if I needed it to)!

If I were medically able, I could also drive off. (I can’t drive so others drive for me).

Not only does my car pootle around the town locally – I can drive on main roads and motorways! It doesn’t end there – even more amazing is that rather than drive round as a lonely single wheelchair user – I can be in the car with friends, family – and even carry luggage to go on holiday or put my shopping in the back. All for around £7-8 thousand pounds. Match that then bubble car.

Thinking about it – handlebar steering, electric vehicle….. isn’t that called a mobility scooter?

I think I have the better deal, socially and financially with my car and power wheelchair combo. Good luck America with your new invalid carriage for single people with no friends!

Playing The London Board Game

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Today we played this board game which was a birthday present from Kevin. The London Board Game is for 2-6 players and being suitable for people age 7 +  we thought we might be in with a chance of getting to grips with it!

The concept is based on similar games usually involving maps and destinations. You have 5 places to travel to (randomly drawn from a pack). Players move along routes by the throw of a dice and the winner is the first to visit each of their destinations and back to their starting point (which you also choose).

This game uses a map of the London Underground and your destinations are 5 of the stations.

Unlike the real thing, this one has stations easily accessible to wheelchair users and their train playing piece. It would be a totally different and much shorter game if we were using a map showing only step free stations – only 66 of the 270 are accessible.

I’ve never been on the Tube because there is no access to places I’ve wanted to visit. The Olympics and Paralympics brought temporary ramps to 16 stations and an extra 19 ramps were placed at stations this month to bridge the gap between platform and train so a few improvements are being made.  These are now permanent but, like the board game, if you travel you will find hazards along the way….

In the game you pick up Hazard cards if you change lines – the first one I picked up, amusingly, was a Birthday card – which sends other players to pick up presents for you at Aldgate.  Hazard cards generally send you or other players to different places and mess up your route strategy. If this was the accessible version there would be flights of steps, no lifts, broken lifts and escalators, rerouting you all the way up a line and back down to the other side of the platform where access is only in one direction, huge gaps between the train and platform, no staff to ask for help or having to get out of your chair and crawl your way up a flight of stairs whilst someone carries your chair…. .

If you are interested in access to public transport around London – Transport for All and Transport For London have full information for people with a range of impairments (and different formats).

The board game is really good for getting to know  places around London and brief facts about attractions or famous buildings near to those stations… and best of all – I won our first game lol.