Conrad Tokarczyk is a fitness instructor and a wheelchair user who trains disabled and non-disabled people on how to stay in shape. He also has a passion for campaigning and here he tells us why accessible tube transport in London is so important to him.
We’re sharing his story as part of our 100 days, 100 stories campaign.
I first became interested in making transport more accessible for disabled people when I got stuck in traffic on two occasions whilst driving to job interviews. I lost out on great job opportunities because I arrived so late. I use a wheelchair and there are no step-free stations near me so I have to drive everywhere, which takes so much longer than the tube.
There have been many occasions when I have been forced to travel separately from friends to social events which left me feeling very isolated. However when I lost out on those two job opportunities it was a turning point as I was so frustrated. I decided that rather just except things or leave it to others to do something. I decided to try to change things myself.
I wanted to make my local tube station step-free so that everyone could use it. My campaign started with an online petition, which is often a great way to attract supporters. The petition was signed by people from all over the world, including Germany, the United States, Canada and Australia. This really helped raise the profile of my campaign.
Scope has supported me to go on a campaigns training course which has really helped me improve my skills and learn how to use the best tools and tactics to become a successful campaigner.
My campaign for accessible tube transport has received a lot support from the public and from politicians all across the political spectrum and my local council of Hillingdon has been particularly helpful in looking for ways of funding better tube access.
There have been improvements in access to transport over the years but still only a quarter of Tube stations in London are step-free. We all could and should do more as step free access is good for everyone.
I shall keep on campaigning and I know that we will get there in the end and hopefully all tube stations will be step-free one day soon.
Get involved in our 100 days, 100 stories campaign and read our stories so far.