Monday 16 September 2019

Bad concept: 'Stops are dangerous for those with disabilities'

Vulnerable: Gary Kearney at the Clontarf bus stop where you have to cross a cycle lane. Photo: David Conachy
Vulnerable: Gary Kearney at the Clontarf bus stop where you have to cross a cycle lane. Photo: David Conachy
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

A disability advocate who has recovered from a serious brain injury has slammed Bus Connects' "hop-on, hop-off" concept, saying it will cause stress and confusion for those with disabilities.

Gary Kearney, who lives on the Old Cabra Road, said the plan would mean passengers had to make multiple bus changes.

"I'm what's called a high-functioning brain injury survivor. I have three brain haemorrhages, multiple fractured skull, I'm deaf in one ear, partially in the other," he said.

"I have multiple disabilities, and I rely totally on public transport. Bus Connects, however, even though I'm on a main route to Headway [brain injury support group], which is grand, if I have to go say to Dublin City FM or in to see my friend in Beaumont, it's going to mean multiple changes, and that's not good."

Bus Connects will see the introduction of seven 'spines' (A-G) and 1-16 corridors, which means many passengers will have to get two buses to get to work or school.

"The hardest part of being a person with disabilities is the changeovers," Mr Kearney said. "This whole concept of hop-on, hop-off, which they seem to love so much, it doesn't work if you're not able-bodied and fit. The hardest part for any person with a disability is getting on and off the bus and getting a space.

"For me personally, it's the space. The bus stops they're designing, that they want us to use, are dangerous. They're completely ridiculous and totally dangerous for people with disabilities," he added.

Meanwhile, Alice Leahy, a social activist who works with homeless people and lives in Rathmines, is worried about the lack of available seats on buses.

She said changes to routes would mean the bus would be picking up more people on different roads before arriving at stops where previously there was an empty bus to board.

"The proposed plan to have the number 14 from Dundrum via Rathfarnham, Terenure, Rathgar, down Highfield Road and turning into Upper Rathmines Road is totally inadequate. Seating is unlikely to be available when it reaches this location," she said.

"It's going to be like 10 bus stops in one. It's going to be bedlam to get on."

Irish Independent

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