Battling with buses: a year on

Around this time last year I found myself trying to get used to using the bus on my own. This wasn’t something that I found easy, and it would make me very nervous. I don’t drive so I spend a lot of time on public transport and I found some types easier to deal with.

I mastered the train long before I felt confident enough to take the bus because I really wanted to make a surprise trip home from university for my dad’s birthday. Once I’d done it for the first time, I felt confident enough to do it again and again. It was like the world had opened up to me and I had more independence than ever before. It was wonderful and it also meant that I could take more trips back home when I started to miss my mother’s cooking.

Getting the bus felt like a whole other ball game to me because there were so many other things to consider than remembering to book my rail assistance 24hrs before I wanted to travel so that someone would be able to help me with the ramp. Buses brought with the other challenges. I had to worry about fitting my walking frame on the bus so that no one would trip over it, and if I had to able to be able to put it in that place for myself. I have seen many buses with a whole range of different layouts, some of which I find easier than others but I never know which one will turn up.

if I have to be anywhere by a certain time I need to get one or two buses earlier than the one that would get me there just about on time in case some turn up that don’t have enough space. This time last year the thought of boarding a bus without a friend or someone to help made me feel sick with nerves and I tried to avoid it as much as possible.

However, I am pleased to say that 12 months on, doing this doesn’t bother me too much anymore and I get the bus alone quite often, although my family will always try and meet me at the bus stop by our house when I get home again to help me get off. A lot of the drivers on my local route now recognise me and are always willing to help, as are a lot of the other passengers too, which is always lovely. I just try my best to avoid travelling at busier times and try to leave myself plenty of time to get to where I need to be so that I can be more relaxed.

If I know that I need to get a lot of shopping, or use my wheelchair instead of my walking frame, then I need to have someone with me. However, if I don’t need to carry a lot and will be using my frame, I know longer feel worried about having to go it alone.

I think that’s progress. I feel like I’ve gained so much more independence and I always find that to be one of the best feelings in the world.

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7 thoughts on “Battling with buses: a year on

  1. Wow Nic! SOOOOOO much to THINK about! I don’t think most people would appreciate what goes into a simple bus journey! For now, public transport is just to tricky to bother with! I think Miss M would LOVE to ride public transport. We did do it once when she was smaller – pre wheelchair/walking frame days…. but now we would have the same issues as you and it would take a lot of planning. Thank goodness for the wheelchair van we were able to fundraise to get, so that we had some degree of freedom with travel 😉

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    1. How accessible is public transport over there? Here, most of the buses can drop down so they are closer to the ground and they have ramps in one form or another. With the trains you can book assistance so that someone will help you get from one platform to another, carry your luggage if you need help with it and put a ramp onto the train for you. I’m really glad you got a wheelchair van. That must be a huge help. Over here there are schemes that can help people how qualify manage the cost of an adapted vehicle. Is there anything like that that could help you next time you need a new one?

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      1. Im not sure if there will be schemes when we need a new one. We fundraised a large component of the cost because there wasn’t any government funding to help and charities didn’t really fund modifications to a vehicle either. At the moment there is a small amount of government funding available and some charities will occasionally help out. What help is available is always changing so who knows what the future will hold. We just take it one day at a time 😉
        Public transport can be accessible – similar to what you have described. But there is certainly WAY more planning involved than for the average bear 😉

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      2. Yes I agree. We have something called the Moability scheme in the UK that allows people on certain benefits to loan an adapted car in exchange for a part of their benfit money. I haven”t actually used it myself but I know people who have. Some compaines also sell used vehicles or allow people to rent one (Ie they pay rent via the week/month) if they can’t by one and don’t quaify or want to join a scheme like motability.

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