Our blind accessibility assessor, Alan Sleat wrote a fantastic poem about what it’s like to travel when you have an impairment.
Well I need a holiday, where should I go and what do I have to do?
First of all I need to choose where to go, what about sunny Corfu?
Onto the internet to find the hotel for me and book that time in the sun.
Trying to find a site that was accessible, was not fun.
Graphics with no alt text and links with insufficient labels,
Along with lots of unformatted tables.
Found the holiday I wanted, which had a pool attendant,
But, got to the end of the booking form to find it was mouse dependent.
Best go and book it the old fashioned way.
Still there may be accessibility barriers, even today.
How do I get to the travel agent and where is it in town?
Is there a step into the shop and is there room for my chair to turn around.
The staff are very helpful and find a place for me to go,
I think I need to book another holiday as I feel very low.
Now for the planning for traveling to my holiday,
A taxi to the train station, I wonder how much extra I will have to pay.
It is a shame, as not all taxis are the same,
But it is just a few that come up with excuse’s which are lame.
Why is it a disabled person can’t get a taxi, or a private hire car?
Just like everyone else we have to travel far.
Now busses and coaches have their own problems, where the list is long.
With no place for a disabled person to sit and that is if you can get on.
Now it is not just the mode of transport that makes it difficult to travel, as they are trying their best,
Members of the public are not always as good as the rest.
Some of them are very helpful and help people on their way,
Where others block the exit with barriers and don’t give you the time of day.
A train ride seems to be sorted, as it is arranged 24 hours before,
However, there are a lot of stories of no assistance and more.
It is not just getting on the train, but a bigger problem is when alighting,
If there is no one to help you off, then the extra journey is frightening.
Airports are getting better with accessibility and assistance,
However, there are certain parts of traveling by air that are resistant.
Lots of baggage goes missing, or is damaged while in transit,
This is universal no matter your age, or compasite.
Holiday insurance can cover this,
Normally you can replace the items before they are missed.
However, when an assistive bit of equipment is lost or can’t be found,
Then it may leave a person stuck until it is replaced, which will cost more than a pound.
The stories of wheelchairs being broken are many,
When they get them back, it looks like they have been given the welly.
It is only now in 2018 that they realise they are losing money,
So for the airports, it is not funny.
Now they are being trained to give attention to the wheelchair,
Should not that have happened before, ‘handle with care’.
Can’t wait to relax in the hotel,
And show the sun tan to people that I tell.
I thought by now, there is nothing about hotels I can say,
Although have read a few stories where a bed someone could not lay.
Did you think the height of a bed,
Would stop a person laying their head.
What about if it is too high, or low,
In this story, the staff did not seem to care or know.
It is not just abroad that disabled people feel unwelcome, but also the UK gives them a gloom.
Me and my guide dog have had to pay more, or even worse, been refused the room.
Now when looking back on all of these barriers,
It sounds harder to have a holiday than steel being forged by a farrier.
Although there are a lot of inaccessible, or horror stories been made,
There are a lot of improvements and laws been laid.
The people that give assistance and do their job well,
Should be remembered and disabled people should tell.
Here at Accessibility services we are here to help,
Whether it is digital or physical, our goal is for disabled people not to shout or yelp.
Help accessibility services to make public and private sectors inclusive.
Tell us about your stories and don’t make inaccessibility elusive.
By Alan Sleat