Today I travelled to Douglas in the Isle of Man for a short break, the previous time I have been there was for a day trip only. From first thing in the morning things began to go wrong, though in the end the trip was very enjoyable. Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings I go to Wrexham Maelor Hospital for dialysis and today being Monday had to go before travelling, but today of all days the ambulance that picks me up arrived two hours late and then I was ill during the dialysis. Because of this delay I could not get the train to Liverpool airport in time for my flight on EasyJet so got a bus to Chester where I then got a taxi, costing £57, to the airport. Things went smoothly at the airport and my flight arrived on time. I had a 3 day ‘Go Explore’ travelcard for all transports in the Isle of Man so on arrival got the bus in to Douglas, but before getting to my stop we had to change to another bus because it was about to run out of diesel!
Berlin has a good public transport system that is very accessible to wheelchair users. In the west of the city is a system of bus routes that are accessible, though I didn’t use them. Then there are four sorts of rail transport three of which I used last weekend. The Berlin transport authority produces a map that shows which S-Bahn and U-Bahn stations have lifts or ramps, though the ramps such as at Schönefeld airport can be quite steep.
Regional trains are probably the first you will come across if you fly in to Berlin Schönefeld airport. These are usually red coloured trains and are good for travelling longer distances in the area as they stop at fewer stations. They have a carriage that has access for wheelchairs and bicycles. There is a button at the door, both inside and outside, to call for a ramp. At Schönefeld station the access is level so you can board unaided, it is possible to board at any door but you MUST board at the correct carriage or there will be no space for your wheelchair and you will be blocking the vestibule. And more importantly there will be no ramp to get off at your destination. Unlike any other trains I have travelled on you have to go down a ramp, rather than up, to board these trains.