Using Public Transport Again
How does it feel to travel on public transport post-lockdown?
As Scotland and the rest of the UK move into level zero life seems to be seems to be constantly changing. I know that for myself and many other disabled people, while we are celebrating the new level of freedom and the possibilities that it can bring, many people are finding their first trip out since lockdown really daunting.
In this blog I have tried to share some of the techniques that have helped me to get back to going out and about, I, like many other people, have felt very anxious about particularly on public transport. I hope from this article you will find some tools and techniques to help you feel more confident on your first trip out and about, particularly if you're travelling on public transport.
It's okay to feel nervous. As things begin to open up everyone will feel nervous or anxious at some stage of their journey back to the ‘new normal’. The important thing to remember is that everyone can do it at their own pace and it doesn't have to be rushed. There are lots of ways that you can help your body to deal with anxious and nervous thoughts and the effect that these might have on your body. Everyone will have their own strategy that works best for them. It might help to take a few moments to focus on your breathing or to do something creative like making a card to send to a friend or perhaps colouring in a picture could help. There are loads of great tips at www.clearyourhead.scot.
Travelling on public transport in new and different circumstances can be daunting after lockdown. It is a mode of transport that many disabled people rely on in their everyday lives. Unless you drive independently or have assistance from a Personal Assistant or Carer then public transport is an essential way to get from A to B.
Here are some tips that may help you to build up confidence before making your first journey on public transport.
Photo of: The Edinburgh Tram on the platform
Plan your journey
Plan well ahead and give yourself time if possible for rest breaks in between journeys. Why not check out some of the Covid Confident reviews on Euan's Guide to plan your first trip. If you don't feel comfortable being indoors just yet then why not consider visiting an outdoor space.
Plan a successful first trip
Perhaps for your first few journeys on public transport consider trying to travel at a quieter time if possible, this will give you the space and time you need to adjust to being out and about again.
Make your first journey short and sweet
3. Make your first journey a short one. Problems are always easier to tackle when you break them down into smaller chunks. Perhaps you could try visiting a friend who lives in the next town. Do something to reward yourself after a successful journey it might be something simple like having a cup of coffee with your friend or going for a walk.
Ask for assistance
4. Many disabled people when travelling by train have to book Assistance in advance to ensure that they get the help they need at each stage of the journey. I usually travel by train and book in advance to get the help that I need. .There ore other assisted travel schemes available across the UK which will be unique to your local area. If you are taking part of your journey by bus or by taxi try to contact your local firm in advance and tell them what support you need to see if they can help.
Travel with a friend
5. Why not make the first few journeys with a friend to help them feel less daunting. Sometimes having the assistance of some one that you trust can help to boost your confidence.
Write a review
6. Write a review about the first place that you went to visit and what you did. Sometimes writing a review will help you keep a written record of where you've been and what you've achieved for the first time since lockdown.
We love to hear stories and reviews about where our visitors are and what plans they have made so why not tell us about your first journey out and about so that we can celebrate with you! Your review helps to share information with other disabled people and gives them the confidence to go out again after lockdown. Be proud of what you've achieved and tell everyone else about it!
Written by Zoe Maclean, Reviewer Engagement & Outreach Coordinator