In the first phase, the representatives of the civic association Asistence, which helps people in wheelchairs, asked celebrities and politicians to take part in the event. Some 500 people thus tried life in a wheelchair. Now it is time for big companies bosses.
President of Metrostav fell five times
“I fell about five times when I practiced for the journey to work,” said the President of Metrostav Jiří Bělohlav, who tried to manage without an assistant. He only fell once during the “main” ride. “I realized how every little barrier can mean that people in wheelchairs cannot get where they need to. When we build footpaths, we will really have to pay attention to that.” Other companies that took part in the project include PricewaterhouseCoopers, Veolia Transport ČR, a. s., Internet Mall, a. s., Metrostav, a. s., Raiffeisenbank a.s., MasterCard ČR, Business for Breakfast and others.
I have to rely on strangers
PricewaterhouseCoopers Marketing Director Lenka Čábelová describe her journey to work and all the trouble she encountered as follows: “The worst thing is that you depend on help from strangers.” Her colleague Kamila Zárychtová from Business for Breakfast said that she did not realize how time consuming such a journey is and how much planning needs to be done in advance. “You cannot change your mind on the spur of the moment.”
Look for barriers
Everyone who has tried such a journey to work knows how difficult it is to confront barriers in Prague. After all, everyone also promised that they would do everything to eliminate such barriers. “We will definitely draw the attention of our clients to such matters.” This is exactly the goal that the civic association Asistance wants to reach. “We hope that the management of the City of Prague will hear the voice calling for a more intensive removal of barriers,” said Erik Čipera. He appreciated the foundation of a work group at Prague City Hall which in cooperation with Asistence, TSK, Prague Public Transit Company and others help to eliminate barriers.
There is a lot to be done
Prague is still not easily accessible for people in wheelchairs or for mothers with prams. “So far only half of Prague transport is barrier-free, which is little, in comparison with European metropolises, such as Vienna or Amsterdam. The work group has mapped out all the places that are in the way for people in wheelchairs and I hope that these will be removed, despite the fact that the budget is tight. I am an optimist and hope that the situation improves,” said Erik Čipera.