A few of my followers on Twitter are wheelchair users and they often ask me if a tourist attraction that I am visiting is wheelchair friendly. So, I’m always on the lookout for this kind of thing. A ramp and a wheelchair sign are not always enough when there is also a step to navigate. The same problem can be seen on the BTS Skytrain network. I know they have made an effort to make it wheelchair friendly with ramps and lifts, but they didn’t really do a good job. The lifts are not at every station and sometimes only on one side. Which means you can catch a train at certain stations but when you come back, you will find no lift on your side of the tracks. The other problem is that they don’t want just anyone to use the lifts, so they are kept behind an outer door that is usually locked. The top picture was taken at BTS Mochit and as you can see, that door is pretty heavy and doesn’t stay open. It was difficult enough for us, imagine if you were in a wheelchair.
Some good news is that the skytrain stations on the new extension that goes from On Nut to Bearing all have lifts on both sides. Better still, there is no outer door and so you can access them yourself without calling for a guard to help you. The bottom picture was taken at BTS Bearing. One downside is that the bikes don’t fit so well in the new lifts but do in the old ones. I guess you cannot have everything. I read in The Nation the other day that the BTS are busy building 54 more lifts across their network to make it more wheelchair friendly. This is expected to be finished in 2013. Hopefully they will do away with the heavy outer door. If you use a wheelchair, what is your opinion of the skytrain as it stands now?