Public Transport Authority takes crip-blaming to a new level

Last week, we discussed the effective curfew for people with mobility disabilities effected by the nighttime closure of lifts to pedestrian bridges over busy roads. Today, this story appeared in a Perth community newspaper:

Station Frustration

Victoria Park councillor Claire Anderson says minimum accessibility standards are not good enough after she was left with no way to get onto the platform at Victoria Park train station last week.

About 3.30pm last Wednesday, Cr Anderson, who uses a wheelchair, was on her way to a doctor’s appointment in Perth with her daughter when she discovered the lift to the platform was broken. She said there was no other way to get down the stairs to board the train so she had to miss her appointment.

“It was annoying, but imagine if I’d been coming from Perth and arrived at the station with no way off the platform,” she said. “Sometimes I come home from the city late at night and there isn’t always a security guard – what would I have done?”

She said the lift was not working on the Tuesday either.

OK, so a councillor with a disability and a legitimate grievance is making noise about accessibility not being good enough. What’s your response?

Blame the crips, of course!

Public Transport Authority media manager David Hynes acknowledged the lift had been broken twice during the week.

He said the first time it was fixed on the same day. But it was damaged again later in the week, only working intermittently, before being repaired again on Thursday.

“This damage, to the door sensor mechanisms, was originally thought to have been vandalism, but could have been caused by something like a gopher* being repeatedly run into the doors,” Mr Hynes said.

Of course. That’s what it must have been. There’s nothing disabled scooter users, many of whom have chronic pain and no cash, love doing more than repeatedly ramming into essential-service lift doors at high speed until either they break or the scooter does. Heck, it’s the new Paralympics sport. Didn’t you hear?

*I’m not sure if this is a localism – a “gopher” is a mobility scooter.

Categories: Miscellaneous

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11 replies

  1. Be fair! He might just be assuming that people who need mobility scooters simply have no skill whatsoever in using them, since after all he doesn’t, so why would you? Because that would makes complete sense. Oh, no wait, it doesn’t.

  2. Must be frustrating that, given it was mid-afternoon and Ms Anderson was on her way to a doctor’s appointment, the path of implying she should have been sticking to her curfew wasn’t open to the poor man.

  3. Yes Mr. Hynes it’s high time something was done about these vandalising thugs in wheelchairs. I’ve seen them hanging out of train doors spraying their obscene graffiti everywhere; riding three abreast on the footpaths in their gang colours so you can’t get past them and harrassing teens outside of schools. It would not surprise me at all to hear of them congregating around railway stations for the sole purpose of vandalising the lifts. Shame shame shame.

  4. Shelby – Hoshit, I’m so busted, aren’t I? 🙂

  5. Don’t forget all those people with canes, punching all the buttons willy-nilly. We’re vandals! Because there’s nothing we like better than making our lives difficult. *eye roll*
    Personally, I’m punk as… never mind. But I prefer to play tuneless piano ditties and scream about my cat to express my anti-social tendencies.

  6. Because there’s nothing we like better than making our lives difficult.
    Perhaps he’s hoping that such breathtaking cluelessness will make us more reluctant to attribute malice to the rest of his disability-shaming.

  7. Glad for the * footnote. I thought a gopher was an animal. Seriously.
    There are many scooter users in NYC. I use a manual wheelchair, pushed by spouse. It’s been awhile since I have used my battery powered wheelchair because I need to use a taxi cab for more than a few blocks (almost no public cabs for wheelchair users), can’t use public transportation due to disabilities (public buses with lifts are the most wheelchair/scooter accessible. Subway (called “tube” in England) stations that are wheelchair accessible number under a dozen, I think and elevators are often broken. That would lead to same situation as in the story about gopher user. Train transportation is used by some who come into Manhattan (or go distances) and there’s the problem of gaps between the train and the platform that are dangerous on the L.I. RailRoad. Stranded. We need more stories about disabled people who have been stranded at stations or bus stops.
    It happens often in NYC. And: there’s a semi-public “van” small bus service that has corruption (companies are paid by the mile, so sometimes drivers drive around and around – with passengers getting taken out of their way, etc.) and a dismal “failure” rate: as in “no shows”, leaving people at a destination and not coming back. Keep telling the stories. “Diss” us at one’s own peril, public servants, etc.

  8. I too thought that ‘gopher’ meant the animal and was trying to work out the logistics of repeatedly bashing one into a lift door and how that could possibly cause damage to anything but the poor gopher. 😉

  9. It took me a day or two to work it out… it’s a “gopher” because you “go for” this, and you “go for” that. The name alone ought to indicate that they are a tool to enable people to get about, not a joyride.

  10. If “god” didn’t want people to have “joyrides”, there wouldn’t be “joy sticks” on battery powered wheelchairs, says a Jewish atheist. Behind that joke, is a serious point.

  11. I don’t need the elevator, but I prefer taking it when the stairs are narrow/steep and I’m not steady on my feet.
    On Wednesday, I was in a building on the 3rd floor. Both the 2nd and 1st have access to the outdoors. (The building is like on a hill… it’s hard to describe.)
    I took the elevator up twice, no problem.
    But when it was time for me to leave, the elevator would not come. Somebody came up and said that it was most likely stuck on the second floor.
    All I could think about (thanks to FWD for getting me to think about that) was holy hell, someone could be trapped up here until maintenance decided to take care of it.
    You’d think having 2 elevators would solve the problem, wouldn’t you? Well, this spring, around finals/move out time, BOTH elevators broke. And there is someone who uses a wheelchair who lives on the 2nd floor. And early on this semester, after the fire alarm went off, the elevators were broken. Or so we were told – my roommate used one about 15 minutes later.
    Oh, and count me as one of those people thinking “gophers? I knew Australia was weird, but that takes the cake.” (Canada is also weird. Basically, everybody but me is weird.)

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