Dispiriting

SIR — I would like to tell you about my trip into St Albans last Friday accompanying my sister who is a wheelchair user. We went into St Albans to obtain passport photographs, submit a passport application form and do a spot of shopping. Firstly, we went

SIR - I would like to tell you about my trip into St Albans last Friday accompanying my sister who is a wheelchair user.

We went into St Albans to obtain passport photographs, submit a passport application form and do a spot of shopping. Firstly, we went to the post office in St Peter's Street to use the photo booth only to find her wheelchair would cause an obstruction if she parked there. So we went to the Maltings only to find both booths out of action. We had no luck trying a photographic shop in St Peters Street as a high step prevented entry into the building and the shop had no other means of entry for a wheelchair user.

Finally we found a working photo booth in Boots the Chemist. Back at the post office my sister was unable to hear the person serving her due to the fact the counter was so high, but we managed.

After doing a bit of shopping my sister rang Gold Line taxis to book a wheelchair-accessible taxi to take us home. The taxi arrived only for the driver to say his cab was not suitable for wheelchairs and drove away. We popped into Caf� Nes to get something to eat and drink and think about our next move. My sister went to use the toilet facilities but was dismayed to find her electric wheelchair could not fit down the narrow passageway to the toilets.


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We went to the bus stop to catch the S1 which would drop my sister off a minute away from her home but unfortunately the first bus was not wheelchair accessible and the driver refused to take her. Humiliated we waited for the next bus - again it was not adapted.

Finally we decided to try to take a bus that stopped down London Road and would mean half-a-mile walk to my sister's home. We noticed taxis at the taxi rank that might be able to take a wheelchair and asked one driver who agreed to take us home. What was frustrating is that the taxi was the same type that originally refused to take the wheelchair.

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Arriving back at my sister's home we were both exhausted and upset that what was meant to be a nice trip into St Albans turned out to be a frustrating and humiliating experience. It seems amazing to me that despite equality legislation, much of St Albans remains inaccessible to wheelchair users. What is going on here?

JANET PUGH,

High Street, London Colney.

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