Today marks exactly one year since I won my 16 month battle against the DWP and was granted my Personal Independence Payment (PIP). On my previous blog site I wrote many articles about the ordeal I faced achieving this, so if you want to read more simply click here. But to sum it up briefly it was a stress inducing journey that to this day I still believe I should not have had to face.
PIP replaced the Disability Living Allowance and it is split into two main categories: Daily Living and Mobility. Before our final tribunal, our advisor prepared us to accept that there was very little chance I would receive anything within the Mobility sector, however, he couldn’t have been more wrong. Due to the court deciding that it was unsafe for me to ever travel alone on public transport, I received the highest tier of mobility payment.
You see epilepsy is a potentially fatal condition that in my case cannot be controlled, so I rely on other people to constantly chauffeur me around. When it comes to social events, appointments and hopefully at some point work, I mainly rely on Uber. It simply isn’t fair to make my mum drive me around all the time and paying for safer means of transport is why I receive the level of benefits I do.
As a result of this, the prospect of Uber being banned from London is terrifying for me. As a 24 year old woman attempting to live a reasonably independent life, being able to hail a taxi at any time from any place offers me a lifeline. I know there are other app based cab companies out there, but I couldn’t name a single one of them and that is why, although TfL does not, I trust Uber.
I understand the apprehension so many people including the Government have about anyone being able to get into a random person’s car who’s not necessarily been correctly checked, but I don’t think they are considering the potential alternatives. As someone with both Epilepsy and Autism, I am far more scared of getting on a tube alone than I am of being driven somewhere by an Uber driver.
Unless TfL is willing to help better promote other better checked alternatives to Uber, by banning them they are highly damaging the level of independence of so many people with hidden disabilities and even more evidently physical ones too (I mean how many tube station are actually wheel chair accessible?).
Uber may need to make some changes to the way it works, but removing them from our streets also removes us. It is these sides to all of these stories that need to be heard more, so please share this blog if you’ve enjoyed reading it.