Public transport is something that interests me a lot, possibly a little too much as you are about to discover. The reason for it is like many disabled people I can’t drive, well you would not want a guide dog owner driving now would you?
So anyway parts of my life, the activities I can take part in, the way I spend my time and to an extent my choice of where I live relies heavily on a mixture of public transport links and timetables, if there is no bus or train I can’t get there. (Unless I beg a friend or my long suffering father to take me)
I have been home from university for a few weeks now for Easter, however last Wednesday I had to go back for a few appointments and more importantly work.
This means catching a bus from Gosport to Southampton, the number 72 it runs once an hour somewhere between 25 past and 25 to the hour, its not a precise science.
I got on the bus which was not a modern fully accessible one, it was a noisy old banger.
This presents me with a problem, there is only one decent guide dog parking space on this type of bus, right at tbe back next to the emergancy exit door. It has more dog room due to the presence of the door so there is plenty of space for Gus and lets not forget he is a big dog!
Surprise surprise this seat was taken.
The next option is to sit in the regular seat, put Gus in first (closest to the window)get him to lay down then I sit right on the edge of the seat. This method is not very comfortable for either of us but is survivable.
On Wednesday the bus was rather busy so there was one said free double seat, we hopped into it and I thought no more of it.
Then the bus started to fill up and eventually the seat by the window next to me was the only seat left, but Gus was laid in a small ball in the footwell, even the smalles person in the world could not have sat there.
I then got asked by somone if I could move up, I explained that my guide dog was under the seat and all was well.
Then as the journey progressed more people asked… and the mood on the bs started to turn hostile.
People got rude, started staring and talking about me being rude and gossiping about how dogs should not be allowed on buses.
Of course he is not an ordinary dog he is a registered assistance dog he s my independence and has just as much right to be there on the bus as any of the other people moaning.
It was indeed not my fault that the bus was not an accessible one, but the people on the bus made me feel rather guilty about being there.