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Disabled Swedes in Gothenburg tram sit-in

Disabled Swedes in Gothenburg tram sit-in

Published: 17 Oct 2012 10:36 GMT+02:00
Updated: 17 Oct 2012 10:36 GMT+02:00

Some twenty disabled protesters from Gothenburg based group the Gothenburg Cooperative for Independent Living (Göteborgskooperativet för Independent Living, GIL), staged a wheelchair sit-in on a city tram on Tuesday, in protest against the difficulty for disabled passengers to use public transport in the area.

“We have tried with a dialogue but it hasn’t worked, which is why we resort to these kinds of measures,” said Anders Westgerd, spokesperson for the group to local paper Göteborgs-Posten (GP).

Some twenty disabled passengers protested between 1pm and 2.15pm against the lack of accessibility for disabled passengers on trams and buses in western Sweden.

The protesters targeted a Gothenburg tram, as getting around on these is especially difficult in a wheelchair, according to the spokespeople for the group.

At 1pm, seven protesters in wheelchairs got on a tram at a stop on central Gothenburg square Järntorget. The tram driver was advised by control not to drive on, as there are only two spots reserved for wheelchairs on each tram.

The protesters said that the tram operator has had 33 years to deal with the problem but has failed to make it possible for disabled passengers to be able to take the tram as easily as regular passengers.

Police arrived on the scene some 15 minutes later and tried to convince the disabled protesters to leave the tram willingly.

However, the protesters would not leave and by 1.30pm the officers on the scene reluctantly decided to try to have them removed.

According to GP, they seemed confused as to how to go about it and it wasn’t until some twenty minutes later that the officer in charge approached the protesters and gave them five minutes to leave the tram or risk a prison sentence of up to 6 months.

Five minutes later, as they still hadn’t left the occupied tram, the officer extended their grace period by another two minutes, saying that they would be carried out should they fail to comply.

A few minutes later, five of the protesters wheeled their chairs off the tram, making it possible for it to leave the stop.

The other passengers had by then left the occupied tram in search of alternative transport and the traffic had been re-routed.

The protesters told the gathered press that they will not be happy until their demands are met by the transport operator:

“We demand that all the old trams are taken out of service and that Västtrafik buys new trams adapted for wheelchairs so that disabled people can travel freely by public transport just like all other citizens,” said Westgerd to GP.

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Your comments about this article

16:14 October 17, 2012 by millionmileman
I would have thought that the accomodation design would hve been built into the initial design. I wonder how the unfortunately disabled navigate the steets to the Trams in wheelchairs, in the winter.

Would it not be more cost effective to have a dedicated van for pick up or a heavily subsidized personal car/van? This would be possibly cheaper than converting access on public vehicles.

This is because every public vehicle has to customized whereas a customized private car/van is for that person with special needs.

Ironically my local Saab Dealer in Glendale, Wisconsin is selling this special needs van as there are no more Saabs at present. The VPG MV-1 holds 2 wheelchairs, plus 3 passengers and the driver. It is even available for CNG.

http://www.vpgautos.com/
17:37 October 17, 2012 by k2kats
Ah yes... ye olde separate but equal approach?

No, thank you.
21:55 October 17, 2012 by teejees
@ millionmileman, I live in Goteborg and there is an alternative which is called Flexlinjen the link is below if it works. But I understand that they want to use the normal public transport and even if its with a childs buggy it can be difficult. There are three types of trams here and if the stop doesnt have a time screen then its pot luck whether you get an old tram from the 60s where there is only access via steps and usually I need someone to help me with the buggy if I cant wait for the next tram or there is the next type of tram I think from the 80s the one in the picture this is ok if the centre section isnt full other wise you are forced to go on the front or back sections with steps or wait for the next tram and then the newest ones with full accessibility. I think all trams should be accessible to everyone independently whether they are in a wheelchair, have a buggy or if they can walk on board. I think this is a very good way of them making a point loud and clear as a lot of trams go through that square, it might have caused a bit of disruption for others but I think a lot of people thought it was worth it.

http://goteborg.se/wps/portal/invanare/trafik-o-gator/flexlinjen/!ut/p/b1/04_SjzQ0Nbc0MLEwMbfQj9CPykssy0xPLMnMz0vMAfGjzOIDDL0CLZwMHQ383S3dDDxDvAPc_Lx9_C2NDIAKIoEKDHAARwNC-v088nNT9XOjciwAQPr9vw!!/dl4/d5/L2dBISEvZ0FBIS9nQSEh/
21:57 October 17, 2012 by Stonebridge
Appalling journalism.

I was expecting, at the end of the article, to see where The Local had approached the tram operator for a comment. Nothing there. Where was the paragraph where we get "A spokesperson for the tram company said ..."

This article was totally one-sided, giving only the point of view of the protesters.

Please note, I have every sympathy with the protesters and believe the tram operator to be in the wrong.

Nice bit of Swenglish too...

"...the difficulty for disabled passengers to use public transport ..."

Hmm.
08:59 October 18, 2012 by ChocOwl
This sounds like typical Swedish parenting style:

5 more minutes!

OK, 2 more minutes!

OK, a few more minutes!

"According to GP, they seemed confused as to how to go about it and it wasn't until some twenty minutes later that the officer in charge approached the protesters and gave them five minutes to leave the tram or risk a prison sentence of up to 6 months.

Five minutes later, as they still hadn't left the occupied tram, the officer extended their grace period by another two minutes, saying that they would be carried out should they fail to comply.

A few minutes later, five of the protesters wheeled their chairs off the tram, making it possible for it to leave the stop. "
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