GOJO -The Website Campaigning For Access To Public Transport.
GOJO is a new campaign for young people who have difficulties or fears using public transport. As a disabled (but alas no longer young) person I have regularly voiced concerns about the accessibility (or lack of it) to public transport, so I was interested to hear about this new campaign backed by the Disability Rights Commission (and also accessible via direct.gov.uk) when I was informed of it via an email from Harriet in my Myspace inbox.
The first thing that is noticable about the website is just how accessible and user friendly it is. There are options to change both text size and colour scheme to suit individual needs and an easy to follow guide explains about how to use the various access keys available. It is refreshing to see such an accessible site.
The News page provides information on transport access issues. For instance, I have just read that Boeing have unveiled their new 787 plane and discovered that it has far better access for disabled people, including wheelchair accessible loos. This is excellent news for disabled travellers as one of the worst things about flying if you are mobility impaired or have restricted movement is trying to use the toilet. There is also to be a comprehensive guide to UK wide initiatives like the new Tube Accessibility website for the London Underground. There are also news stories from around the UK about access/lack of access to public transport.
GOJO is also asking for contributions for its readership about their experiences travelling on public transport. My hope is that as time progresses both the good and the bad will get published and the site will be in a position to tackle transport providers when they fail to provide an accessible service. From what I have read it seems that GOJO is trying to help young people get the best out of public transport and that is to be commended but as we are all too aware there is a long way to go before equality is acheived. I would love to see the site name and shame, when there is a need to and on the flipside champion areas of the transport system that offer equlity of service such as the Jubilee Line extension on the London Underground. However the fact that Stratford to Westminister stations can be accessed from platform to street level without using stairs does not let Transport for London off the hook considering the woeful access at many of their other stations.
Another excellent part of the site allows you to plan a trip in one of our major cities. There are six online at present but it is hoped that it will be far more comprehensive soon. I had a quick look at Exeter (for it is a fine city and I often fly past it on the M5, keeping well within the speed limit, on my way to Cornwall). This part of the site is linked to Directory Enquiries and gives information about places of interest and the transport links, including accessibility to the bus and train service. It is a fine way to plan your journey and to make sure that you can access transport to reach your destination and that when you get there you can actually get in or find that there are facilities that you cn use. As this expands it wil be an invaulable part of the site. There is also a page that gives advice on planning a journey and hints and tips to make that journey as pleasurable as possible.
There is a page that comprehensively covers rights, and provides the relevant pieces of legislation (DDA 1995) that protect disabled people from disrimination and gives advice on how to register a complaint if you need to do so and provides help and guidance on legal issues.
Finally there is a page where you can enter competitions and report on your experiences and win stuff (like MP3 players) which can't be a bad thing. Pity I'm to old to play.
This is an excellent site and one that has been a long time coming and I wish the GOJO campaign every success for the future. You can access it via the link on the right hand side of this blog under 'Favourite Crip Sites'.