Generate Voices have begun to run meetings led by our own members who chose something they want to speak about with help from the Voices Co-Ordinator’s to plan and prepare for their own meetings.
At a recent Voices meeting, Rio and Terry spoke about topics that they chose, which were Travel Training and Transport.
Terry started the first half of the meeting by talking about Transport, his experiences and his involvement with TFL’s Valuing People Network.
He first asked members if they travel independently and have faced any issues?
Most of the members travel independently and have had some issues in the past.
Michelle said, “I travel often, independently using different types of transport.” I use passenger assistance, but I have had problems with no one meeting me for assistance, despite this being promised! Also, at times, I find things like lifts not working!”
One member added “The only issue I’ve had on public transport is strikes and buses being too full, Also I’ve had misinformation that have led me to miss my train!”
Rio lastly said, “I’ve also been affected by delays and cancellations.”
Terry moved on to ask members if they know of any organizations that helped disabled people with travel and transport? No members knew of any.
He then went on to talk about Transport for All, a charity who aim to increase access to transport for people with all sorts of disabilities across the country.
He mentioned two campaigns which Transport for All are currently running:
Ticket Office Closures which campaigns against the closures of ticket offices across the UK which often are the first point of contact for disabled people.
One member asked why ticket offices were being closed down. Terry replied, “This is due to budget cuts.”
Michelle said, “There is a phone service that you can use to buy your ticket in advance, and you can buy them online as well, Also, if you have mobility issues, you can get special assistance.”
Colorful Crossings confuse a lot of people, especially people who are color blind and most zebra crossings are black and white. Transport for All have concerns on these and sent a letter to the Mayor of London expressing their concerns. This has led to him to ask boroughs across London to pause future colorful crossings.
Terry moved on to talk about his involvement in TFL’s Valuing People Network and how this has helped him with issues he has faced while using TFL’s public transport.
The Valuing People Network is a group run by TFL and invites people with learning disabilities across London to attend their meetings, hear their thoughts on their services and how they could do things better.
These meetings are also run by John Hersov, who has been advocating for many years and has been to Generate Voices before!
Generate Voices Co-Ordinator, Tony is also a member of the VPN as one of Wandsworth’s representatives with Terry. He explained that he enjoys hearing about TFL’s services and listening to people’s experiences all over London.
Everyone enjoyed Terry’s presentation and had a little bit more to say before we moved on!
Luis suggested an upgrade of the trains used.
Jodian said “There has been development like the Elizabeth Line and an extension to the Eurostar.”
One member asked how often trains are replaced.
Terry, who has a passion for trains answered, “Things like maintenance are considered before they decide to replace them, unless there’s an issue with the whole fleet.”
In the second half of the meeting, Rio spoke about the different forms of Travel Training there are and shared her tips and advice for travelling abroad.
First, members who were independent travelers shared their own experiences of when they first started to travel on their own.
Jodian said “I learnt how to travel independently by my mum showing me and then gaining the confidence to make journeys by myself”
Terry added “I did dummy runs with my mum to teach me how to travel and gradually I’ve learnt and now I use apps and Google.”
One member said when he started travelling independently, he had a travel buddy who taught him how to travel and it was very helpful along with his parents help.
Michelle added “I learnt how to travel on my own by coming from America by plane and had stewards care for me”
Rio said, “I started travelling independently when I was 10 by being monitored by my mum on dummy runs to school.”
Rio then did a presentation on Travel Training and the different forms of it which include getting a travel buddy and independent travel training. She then shared her experiences travelling abroad.
She struggled at first when she moved to Egypt because of the language barrier but settled in no time and has become more independent.
She then asked members if they’d travelled abroad and what it was like for them.
Only some members have travelled out of the country before, Terry said “I’ve travelled abroad with my family but never as an adult, I ‘d like to go to Florida!”
Rio then shared her advice on travelling abroad which included.
- Seeking travel advice beforehand.
- Finding someone you can trust to help with things such as booking your flight and packing your luggage.
- Having your passport and other forms of ID on you.
- Having travel insurance.
- Learning another country’s language and culture.
Rio encouraged all members to visit their doctors before travelling and make sure they have the right vaccinations before if needed.
She also advised to avoid drinking water that is not bottled!
Rio ended the meeting by inviting the members to ask any questions they had.
Terry asked, “How much is the phone roaming charges in Egypt?”
Rio answered that it can vary and depend on your mobile network.
Michelle asked, “How long was the flight to Egypt?”
Rio answered, “It took her a month to plan the trip and the flight was about 5 hours.”
She also mentioned that it’s best to respect the rules in other countries and cover up tattoos if not allowed.
If you want to find out more about Generate Voices and the meetings we run, please do get in touch with the Generate Voices Co-Ordinator’s, Chiz and Tony!