Public transport, it’s brilliant to use but can be scary for deaf people! Here are some of my personal experiences…
Being deaf has benefits – free local bus travel (off peak), disabled railcards, discounted coach travel and so much more! If you or your deaf child has to travel frequently, I’d say check out all the options available as I only found out I could have free bus travel last year! I could’ve saved lots of pennies!
I travel quite a lot, and I love doing it! My deaf boyfriend lives in North Wales, so we’re 251 miles apart. We used to travel by National Express coach to see each other, which took 12 hours via London… then found a quicker direct coach which took 9 hours. After a year of all this, my lovely Grandad found a train journey that took us direct for only 6 hours! It’s a bit more expensive, but it’s worth every penny to see him again.
The assistance at some train stations is terrible. I need it because I can’t always hear announcements, or know where the trains go to/from. My local train station is okay, but it’s more of a problem at his end, because when I arrive, I have to take the underground to travel closer to his town. My mum is brilliant at booking assistance, but when I travel, I’m alone so it’s quite difficult to understand them, particularly with their Northern/Welsh accents! The assistant people basically tell you to sit and wait for them, but they never come back! We’ll miss our trains because of this! I’ve given up on them and done it by myself. If you ever find yourself in this situation, either go back and nag them for help, or ask someone friendly who would be kind enough to guide you.
I love flying abroad; I’ve been to Europe, America and Africa, again another blog post idea! I often go with family, or with my school, but recently my boyfriend (D) and I went on our first holiday away together at Easter. We flew to Gran Canaria for a week, his first time on a plane since he was young and by god he was terrified! Bless him! We had an amazing time, and became more independent and got closer to one another.
The day we were due home, mum texted to say our flight was cancelled due to the French Air Traffic Control Strikes. This had never happened to me! D was brilliant, as he was phoning my dad, whilst liaising with Ryanair about flights home. Bearing in mind they’re Spanish, and I had no idea what they were saying half the time! The next available direct flights home with Ryanair were the following week, which was no good! After touring around the airport, speaking with different airlines about their options – we finally found one back with Ryanair the next day, but flying out to Dublin then home! It was a bonus in a way, as Ryanair paid for a night in a lovely hotel, and we got to spend an extra day on a different part of the island. The day we were due home, the bus wasn’t coming to the hotel until late and everyone on our plane had got taxis to the airport, so we did the same as we didn’t want to miss our flight! We eventually got home two days later. I can say I’ve been to Ireland, but I have no idea what it’s like as it was midnight – pitch dark! But a massive thanks to D and Dad, as we wouldn’t have got home without them!
Another assistant fail…. I flew to Germany on my own to stay with my pen friend and family for a week, which was amazing. Mum booked assistance there and back for me, which includes taking me through security and onto the plane, also a ‘separate safety briefing’ etc – which never happens – ridiculous! On the way home, as I got off the plane, the assistant was there to greet me… with a WHEELCHAIR. A wheelchair?! I told her, “NO! I’m deaf, I can walk!” Then she was attempting to sign – ‘are you okay’ or something or other! I was like “I can talk!”… How absurd! The walk through customs was so awkward, walking alongside her pushing the wheelchair! What drives me crazy is how society just assumes, because we’re deaf, we’re physically disabled… Not necessarily!
That’s all for now, Love E x