You’re not worth it.

As Tigtog discussed while I had this post desultorily in draft (it’s school holidays here!), the Daily Telegraph has posted a followup on CityRail’s complete lack of any workable emergency evacuation plans for people who can’t walk: CityRail plan to abandon disabled.

The comments section is worth a look. “paul of sydney” starts assigning value to people’s lives, and guess who’s not worth anything?

OK Morris, so its unacceptable for a fellow to be stuck on a train for a few hours while they get a forklift onto the Sydney Harbour Bridge to lift him off. So lets spend $100 million or so of taxpayers money to retrofit each and every CityRail train for something that might not happen again for another 20 years.

Get this, “paul” – the trains shouldn’t be retrofitted, because they should have been built with facilities for disabled people IN THE BLOODY FIRST PLACE. Accessibility shouldn’t be an afterthought. And you, or any reader here, could next week be the person in the wheelchair who gets to sit in a train carriage alone while you burn to death, or inhale toxins, or just starve or dehydrate, forgotten, over hours or days without a means of communication.

Bob Hodge touches on this situation in “The Complexity Revolution”:

“My new friends at NSW Rail would be very unhappy with this story. It would not help much to tell them that this is a standard “human interest’ article, nor that it is more complex than it looks. For instance, MacCauley is not typical of standard passengers who usually concern complexity-2 planners of rail networks. He is another butterfly, whose specific needs would be hard to predict or cater for.”

“Hard to predict”? No, no, no, no, no. It’s not a complex, unpredictable trivial detail that people who use wheelchairs also use public transport. It’s not a bizarre, unforeseeable event that sometimes systems will fail and you’ll need to use your backup system. Disabled people aren’t going to go away just because you want to pretend they don’t exist. Sheesh, this isn’t even Public Facilities 101, it’s junior school level.

Can anyone with a knowledge of disability law offer their perspective? Surely “Oh, um, I guess we could say that we, er, just wait for ambulances, then stretcher them out or something, yes, that sounds ok!” can’t be a legal emergency plan?



Categories: health

Tags: , , ,

3 replies

  1. you, or any reader here, could next week be the person in the wheelchair who gets to sit in a train carriage alone while you burn to death, or inhale toxins, or just starve or dehydrate, forgotten, over hours or days without a means of communication

    I think so many people are in denial about this. Ableism casts the disabled as objects of pity and disgust, therefore disability could never happen to normal, competent, person-of-value me! So I don’t have to think about it.

    not typical of standard passengers

    I bet he feels exactly the same about passengers travelling with small children. Not standard, mate. Can’t be arsed catering for them.

  2. Hang on, I thought this was legally mandated all over the country – just about every single building around the place has to be accessible for people who aren’t temporarily mobility advantaged (and quite frankly, there are times when I’ve loved this – my knees play up on occasion, and walking up a ramp is a lot easier on them than climbing stairs). Same with things like public transport (and let’s be honest – the majority of people who have some form of health impairment, whether physical or mental, are more likely to be using public transport than not). This should not be a difficult thing to consider.
    Given we’re supposed to be encouraging people to cut carbon emissions (because gods forbid we encourage the business sector to do so) and that means putting *more* people on public transport, surely the aim should be to make things like trains, buses, and similar *more* accessible, rather than less? Or am I attempting to apply Earth logic to this situation?

  3. Gah, it’s happening all over the place. icSouthLondon reports that a disabled woman in a wheelchair was left, just plain forgotten, locked in a council bus overnight.
    “She had boarded the bus to go home but it appears that the driver and another worker on the bus did not check they had dropped off all the people they had picked up.”

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