I start this blog by saying the Mobility Roadshow 2016 was an excellent exhibition, showcasing a selection of some of the best mobility aids and services currently available on the market to the disabled. Products ranging from accessible bathrooms, to magazines, to all terrain wheelchairs.
Where else can you test drive fully adapted cars? I use push/pull hand controls and have never been able to test drive a vehicle myself; I have to ride as a passenger and rely upon the opinion of either a friend or a car salesman (no prizes for guessing what his assessment will be) to decide on its’ suitability for my needs.
At the Roadshow there is a whole array of different makes and models, with a choice of adaptations ranging from the fairly basic requirements like my own to more complex needs for those who need to drive from their wheelchair, all available this year to test drive around Silverstone circuit. This is, without doubt, a fantastic innovation.
However (you just knew there was one of those coming didn’t you?), the access to this “fully accessible” event left something to be desired to say the least!
Opening time was 10am. By the time we arrived at 10.40am the car park adjacent to the venue was full and so we were directed to the overflow – some 4 miles away! We joined the queue to be bussed in and it was immediately apparent that we were in for a very long wait.
There were four mini-buses (2 in each direction) ferrying folk to and fro, but each one could take a maximum of 3 wheelchairs or scooters at a time, unless you could transfer to a seat in which case a couple more wheelchairs could be folded up on the bus.
When we arrived the queue was already 100 yards long and growing fast. Bearing in mind the demographic of the clientele for this event i.e. at least one member of each party was either a wheelchair or scooter user, this transport arrangement was very obviously woefully inadequate.
What is more, it was bitterly cold, threatening to rain and there was no shelter or seats for those who weren’t sat in their mobility aids.
Needless to say, there was plenty of harrumphing going on in the queue as when the bus did arrive it was painfully slow to load. This wasn’t the fault of the drivers, loading wheelchair users is obviously, by its’ very nature, a time consuming exercise and they needed to take great care. There were simply not enough vehicles provided.
I can walk and have a folding Luggie scooter so was lucky enough to be able to “ queue jump”, but astonishingly, the driver refused to take my folded up Luggie and insisted upon it going on the next bus! This meant that once we got off the bus outside the venue we had to wait another 25 minutes for the scooter to arrive.
Having arrived at 10.40 am, we eventually got in to the show at 12.10pm! And of course when we left at the end of the day we had exactly the same issue in reverse.
I’m sorry Mobility Roadshow, you know your client base! Whilst you organise a brilliant exhibition with some superb products on show, your organisation of transportation sucks!
I would love to go again next year but you really need to up your game.
C’mon guys – the clue is in the name! I really hope lessons have been learnt and it will be a more pleasant experience next year. You are at a new venue, so I hope it’s an improvement because once you’re in it’s brilliant. Mobility Roadshow 2017
Was as this article helpful? If so, please share it using the buttons below.