It has been nearly a decade since I started to travel to London Independently.
London starting another day, it also revealed humans sleeping on pavements. And from riding bikes to riding buses, data and debit cards are king in London. (not cash)
I know the route petty well and if I could drive a train could probably sit in the driver’s seat. A lot has changed in that time, seek and electric high-speed have replaced the sheer power of diesel. Technology has also changed the way we buy tickets and how we plan our journeys. But as I discovered on my return journey it doesn’t always mean a bus will be there when the train arrives at your station.
(Instead, l discovered how swift an electric London taxi can be) A joined-up public transport system is still a London phenomenon. I still use ticket offices to buy tickets or collect them. Trying to park a car at the railway station is another more challenging matter. I again failed to buy a parking ticket as the machine was not working properly as it didn’t accept coins. So for the second time more emails and explanations after getting my tickets.
It is easier to park at a Cornish beauty spot simply because you can use coins to pay for your parking bay. Another issue I found in London was the almost regular requirement to pay for everything with your debit card. You can use your concession bus pass on buses but on other parts of the London transport network had to use my debit card for both the Elizabeth line ( which is like 2001) and purchasing the daytime London underground pass. Anyone living in London without a debit card would find London a very hard place to live, possibly more harder than Cornwall. (not all people with learning disabilities would have a debit card and would people waiting for the asylum application to be processed face the same issues?)
Going into parliament was for me very stressful but myself and my artwork got through the security checks (the checks are there for a good reason). In the end, myself and APLE did a very strong and thought-provoking presentation. And yes artwork was seen. But throughout my trip were questions. How many people with disabilities from Cornwall or anywhere else particularly rural have followed my footsteps? how many have seen real-life glimpses of former chancellors appear and disappear again in corridors lined with political history? How many voices are simply not heard by Westminster? Is data poverty going to mean those with the most data have the loudest voice in our democracy? And how will this impact groups already facing disadvantages?
Traditional forms of democracy must be allowed to stand beside online campaigning. A piece of card and a pen doesn’t need an internet connection
Well, society will need to answer them. And yes I did feel proud heading back to Cornwall and do so now. My overall wish is I’m not the last person with a disability from Cornwall to speak in the corridors of power. If we are going to give disability a much better future then it has to happen.
Paddington. Once again proving that disability can travel from Cornwall to London independently
Written by Chris Burns.