Julie Fernandez on Disabled Access at Peterborough’s Temporary Bus Station

08:22 Monday 6th February 2012
Peterborough Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.

PAUL STAINTON: On Friday’s Show, actress Julie Fernandez highlighted problems with access for disabled people at that temporary bus station behind the Brewery Tap car park. Commuters are catching buses from there, whilst maintenance work is being carried out. We sent Julie Fernandez, a disabled actress, to the Brewery Tap. This is what she had to say. (TAPE)
JULIE FERNANDEZ: I have various different thoughts. Initially it doesn’t strike me as the most accessible. It’s difficult to get to. There doesn’t appear to be any dropped kerbs anywhere for wheelchair users, or people with visual impairments, to be able to access things properly. The lighting, well there isn’t any lighting, so I’m not sure what disabled people would do for that. But that’s unsafe for everybody. There’s no signage anywhere for anybody, which is in itself quite interesting. Now we know that roadworks and works need to be done to improve, but the situation is this: if Queensgate and the City Council don’t include people like Barry and Brian and the Disability Forum, and the blind groups and the visually impaired groups in the area, then how are they going to get it right? And they haven’t. As far as I am aware, and as far as I have been told, the Council and Queensgate didn’t get advice from some really excellent people in this area on disability. Had they have done, then this situation wouldn’t have occurred. ..(LIVE)
PAUL STAINTON: Well, as ever, no-one from the Council was available to come on. If there is any Cabinet Member listening with responsibility for this, or even officers, we would like to hear from them, wouldn’t we? We’d like them to come on and just explain why they couldn’t put a couple of ramps down for people that are in a wheelchair. Anyway, they did send us a statement. They said, “We know that the essential works to improve passenger facilities at the bus station are causing an inconvenience to some passengers, for the relatively short period. Disabled passengers can access the buses from Bay 10. We realise this would not be acceptable as a long term measure, but in the meantime disabled passengers are able to access buses in this way.” Although Julie did find it incredibly difficult on Friday’s show. “Disabled passengers ..” go on the Council, “.. can also use other city centre stops, which have shelter and seating, about half a mile away at Rivergate and Broadway. We appreciate the patience of passengers thus far, and will continue to press for works to be completed as quickly as possible.” We did hear from somebody last week that the Council were told it would cost them £300 for a couple of ramps, and the people that were asked about that apparently said that they couldn’t afford it. The Council didn’t have any cash, although they’ve not confirmed that, because they’ve not come on to talk to us.