You’ve all read my entry about how I got my license. You’ve all realized how liberating it is for me to be able to get around on my own thanks to Clive (yes, my car has a name). Before I got my license I was reliant on taxis and trams. I didn’t have much experience of using trams with my walking frame because I got my frame about the same time I got my license. I don’t really remember whether it was hard or easy to get on and off the trams with Scarlet (yes, the frame has a name too). Then again, it may have been so traumatic that I’ve blocked it out of my memory.
As part of the film for the Yooralla website, we wanted to get a snapshot of how easy it is to tram around with a walking aid. There are a number of super tram stops within the city and there’s one in St Kilda and there are a number of new trams that don’t have steps and you can walk straight onto the tram.
Sounds great in theory, right? Well, it’s a whole other story in practice. On the day we went to St Kilda, the film crew (3 men) and I walked to the tram stop just outside Flinders St Station from work and we had to wait 10 minutes for our tram. Not much of a wait, so I wasn’t annoyed – yet. But when the tram came, it was the low level tram and I thought it would be easy to get on, there was a gap between the tram stop and the doorway of the tram. While I could probably step over the gap without any difficulties, doing this with the frame was completely different and I had to get one of the crew men to lift it for me.
There were a number of seats free on the tram, but a there were lots of people standing around, making it awkward for me to maneuver around them to get to a seat. No one made the effort to move out of the way and me being the shy (or lazy) person that I am, I didn’t ask people to move. I ended up standing against the wall, hanging on to Scarlet and swaying along with the movement of the tram. Eventually I got to sit down but there was no room for the frame and so it kept getting into peoples way.
I’d share the story about how the filming went once we reached St Kilda, but I don’t want to bore you and I may share it another time with you because there’s another issue I want to write about in another entry.
On our way back to work, we had to wait for a particular tram that would end at Flinders St but after 20 minutes we took another tram which meant we had to get two trams to get back to work. That second tram never showed up so we had to get a tram with steps. So, picture me with Scarlet, looking up those steps and freaking out. How the hell was I supposed to climb those steps? Once again I had to rely on the crew men to lift the frame up and I had to clutch the hand rail while I took two big leaps.
Public transport is meant to be accessible. Great. Wonderful idea. But keep in mind you have to wait for the accessible tram to show up and you have to walk to a super tram stop in order to get on the tram.
All I can say is, Thank God for Clive.