Getting around in Auckland is difficult for able bodied people, but is very stressful when one is blind. I had to go to Orewa which required a lot of advanced planning.
The first part of my journey was by taxi to Albert Street in the city where I needed to transfer to a double decker bus. I became extremely stressed when the taxi driver did not know how to get to the bottom of Albert Street because of all the road works. He dropped me off in Quay Street and I had to find my own way back to Albert Street and locate the bus stop. I had to rely on other passengers to inform me when the bus I wanted arrived.
To get to my destination I had to transfer to another bus. The entire journey took me an hour and fifteen minutes and caused a lot of frustration. If I had taken a bus to start my journey it would have added another hour to the trip.
Despite the pre-planning my journey to Orewa was stressful and demoralising for an independent mobility impaired person. I was very concerned I might not get off at the correct stop at my destination.
I believe an accessibility act would require Auckland transport personnel be trained to communicate properly with passengers and be better educated to take care of special needs people. This could be as simple as acknowledging that you need support to get off the bus at the correct stop. It would ensure passengers feel safe using public transport and not be ignored.
This is my access story, it is one of many. I'm sharing it because I want a law that puts accessibility at the heart of an inclusive Aotearoa New Zealand.
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