All aboard the train to accessibility land
Natalie Johnson

The Western Cape Network on Disability (WCND) embarked on their maiden voyage on the new EMU (#PeoplesTrain) from Cape Town to Heathfield station on Friday 29 April 2022.

Image: waiting for the team to arrive

The purpose of the trip was to look into how accessible the new trains really are in spite of their claims to be fully accessible to people with disabilities (impairments). We need to remember people with impairments are disabled by the environments in which they are required to function. Now when you have to carry your own portable ramp under your arm in order to access a train, surely this cannot be acceptable?

Image: Boarding the train with our own ramp

What happens at 06:30 in the morning when you need to go to work or an important hospital or doctor’s appointment? Will the train wait while you struggle to rollout your ramp, board the train and then worry about how you are going to get your ramp back before the train moves off?

Image: showing the gap between train and platform

Why does the gap between train and platform have to be this huge (almost 30cm)? If all station platforms are not the same height, surely we could have dealt with the station platforms first before rolling out new stock of trains that don’t match the height of the platforms?

Here’s a few pictures of our journey to illustrate our point.

Will the powers at be hear our voices?

Image: group photo at the end of the journey