The teen reviewing public transport for wheelchair users – BBC


By Mike McBride
BBC News NI

A 16-year-old boy has set off across Ireland to see how accessible it is for wheelchair users to travel.
James Casserly, who has cerebral palsy, has set himself the challenge to travel to all 32 counties on public transport.
He reviews everything from wheelchair ramp availability to disabled toilet provisions in all the places he visits.
"I want wheelchair users to be able to go wherever they please and not have to worry about checking all that stuff themselves beforehand," James said.
The Dublin teenager has already ticked off counties Westmeath, Kildare and Galway in the Republic of Ireland and has also visited County Antrim in Northern Ireland on his checklist so far.
He is hoping to make trips across all the counties, north and south, with friends and family by either bus, train or tram by November this year.
James, who only started his travel reviews earlier this month, has already amassed over 3,500 followers on Twitter.
James hopes his online reviews can go some way in helping to provide other wheelchair users with all the information they may need when they go to plan their own trips across the Emerald Isle.
He also hopes it will help highlight to companies the potential issues that someone who uses a wheelchair may have when utilising public transport services.
"I am really passionate about public transport," James told BBC News NI.
"Today, for example, I have already been on four Dublin buses and will be on six in total by the end of the day, I just love it."
James said the idea for his travel reviews started when he saw that there were not many other wheelchair users documenting their travel journeys.
"I saw that no one was documenting accessibility across the counties when they were travelling and I wanted to do something about that," he said.
James said accessibility varies a lot across the island, with some places definitely being a lot easier to navigate as a wheelchair user than others.
Check out the glide bus in #NorthernIreland #Belfast #Transport made easy #access #publictransport #32counties @Translink_NI pic.twitter.com/IACbCg0wOw
"Places like Galway and Belfast are definitely more accessible compared to other places I've been," he said.
"I really enjoyed Belfast and was really impressed with how easy it was to travel across the city on the Glider buses. We are actually planning on visiting Belfast again to do more of the tourist stuff."
James' mum, Vicki, said her son's travel challenge has highlighted a lot of issues that a wheelchair user can encounter when travelling across the island.
"We will run into barriers along the way, we already have, but our approach is to highlight the problems we come across and work with the necessary authorities to improve on that moving forward.
"We live in a beautiful place, James wants to travel the country, he also wants to show everyone that if you're a wheelchair user or have mobility issues, it's still very possible to do something like this."
James has said since he started his reviews people have started to contact him online, sharing their own experiences of navigating public transport across the island.
He said he was personally very excited about his next destination of Cobh, County Cork, where he will be joined by his grandfather and cousins.
Once James has visited all 32 counties, he suggested he will not stop there.
The teenager has ambitions of travelling across Europe and further afield, charting the best and worst of public transport accessibility on a more global stage.
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