Advocacy for Accessibility


There are many disability advocates working diligently to draw attention to topics that affect the disabled community. Today we focus on advocate and journalist Helen Dolphin, and her latest initiative.

Helen Dolphin MBE

The Advocate Who Will Stop at Nothing to Improve Accessibility for Disabled Travelers

At age 22, PhD student Helen Dolphin contracted Meningococcal Septicemia, enduring numerous surgeries and eventually having all four limbs amputated. After a lengthy recovery process, she was unable to return to scientific research and so retrained as a journalist with ITV Anglia News.

Today, Helen is a recent law graduate, works as an independent mobility consultant and is the director of PeoplesParking.org. She swims regularly, even competing in the London Paralympic trials; and is a dedicated activist campaigning for the rights of persons with disabilities.

Disabled Travelers Tell All

Understanding the Challenges of Disabled Commuters
In May of 2016, Helen conducted a survey which was most recently published by both Disability Rights UK and PosAbility Magazine. In the poll, she asked 185 wheelchair and scooter users to answer a variety of travel-related questions, and the results were both enlightening and alarming.

Of the 185 respondents surveyed, 70% reported experiencing movement while on their journey due to a lack of effective securement, with 6% actually tipping over.

A Look at the Numbers

When asked how frequently they used public transit, 65.6% of respondents said they use it regularly, with 23% using it daily and 24% using it weekly.

How Often Do Disabled People Ride the Bus?

Mobility Users Who Regularly Ride the Bus
Every Day
Once per Week
Once per Month

What Mobility devices are Being Used on Buses?

Manual Chair


Power Chair




Movement While in Motion

Astoundingly, of the 185 respondents surveyed, 70% reported experiencing movement in their chair while on the bus due to a lack of effective securement, with 6% actually tipping over.

This lack of stability and security continues to discourage disabled travelers from riding public transportation as they do not feel safe.

60% of respondents said they would be more likely to utilize public transportation if it were outfitted with an automatic securement system.

Refused Entry on Mass Transit

The most shocking statistics come in response to the question of ‘Have you ever been refused entry on a bus?’.

A staggering 64% of respondents reported being refused entry to a bus on at least one occasion and an overwhelming majority reported being treated poorly by other passengers.

Of the 64% of respondents who reported being refused entry onto the bus, most cited lack of cooperation or misinformation about accessibility from bus drivers.

Drivers regularly expressed disdain towards disabled travelers, and occasionally even refused to lower the ramp for them to board the bus.  This could be due to the fact that drivers realize a disabled passenger means increased dwell times due to wheelchair securement procedures, or possibly that some drivers are simply not comfortable performing wheelchair securement techniques.

Health issues posed challenges for drivers as well, with respondents noting pregnancy, back injury and weight as reasons they could not be secured properly.

“I never know if I’m going to get a helpful driver or one who when he sees me just drives off. They always complain about having to get out to put the ramp down especially if it’s raining”.

Another reason for refusal is a lack of dedicated space on buses for multiple disabled travelers. This is particularly frustrating for disabled passengers who travel together.

Want even more statistics and Information?

Download Helen Dolphin’s Wheelchair Users Survey.

Download the Survey

Securing a Solution

So, what’s next? Fortunately, there are ways of remedying many of the aforementioned issues. A great starting point is to implement proper driver training. Drivers should receive regular and thorough training on how to accommodate the needs of disabled travelers. Next, it is important to continually educate the community on the challenges disabled travelers face when trying to utilize mass transit.

The best solution is for transit properties to install proven, effective wheelchair securement systems, such as QUANTUM, the industry’s first fully automatic wheelchair securement system.


Rearward Facing. Forward Thinking.

60% of respondents said they would be more likely to utilize public transportation if it were outfitted with an automatic securement system.

The QUANTUM automatic rear-facing securement station is redefining transit safety by combining securement expertise, intelligent technology and the latest in modern design. The state-of-the-art system enables wheelchair and scooter passengers to secure themselves in less than 25 seconds with the simple push of a button – and without requiring driver assistance.

Comments are closed.