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Accessible Algarve

Accessible Buses in Lagos?

The local bus service in Lagos is named A Onda or translated the Wave. There are ten lines each having its own color. When Constance and I first visited Lagos in 2011 we were very happy to use the local buses to explore the area. We got a bus card that could be topped up with journeys and visted local beaches and nearby villages. We did note that the service did not run very late into the evenings, exept in July and August. All in all the A Onda is a very good bus service.

When we moved to Lagos permanently  in 2013 Constance had begun to develop mobilty issues. One of the factors in our decison to move here was that the buses were accessible to people with reduced mobilty, each bus fitted with a ramp to bring a wheelchair on board.

Our first home here in 2013 was on the outskirts of Lagos in Chinicato, we both got monthly bus passes and used the Aonda service frequently for everything, including trips to the supermarket, the health center, the historic center to peform and listen to music, going out for lunch and to enjoy the beaches.  At this point Constance could still walk but was using a cane, she was able to board and exit the bus by herself.

In 2014 we moved into Lagos, shortly after Constances mobility was reduced and she now needs a wheelchair or a moblity scooter to get around, the accessibility of the buses became very important to her quality of life.

In the summer 2015 we were coming home from the historic center after a dinner out with friends, we all went catch the evening bus home and when it arrived the electronics on the ramp failed so Constance was unable to board the bus.  The driver told us the ramp and been broken for a while and that ramps on other buses in the fleet were also broken.  We were lucky that night, another bus came along later with a working ramp.

Demand Accessible Trains

The Portuguese National Assembly (Parliament) will begin to debate a new National Railway Plan beginning in April.

We have sent the email below to the Minister of Infrastructure and Housing Pedro Nuno Santos, the Secretary of State for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities  Ana Sofia Tunes, the Secretary of State for Infrastructure Jorge Delgado.   We also sent a more personalized version to our M.P. Maria Joaquina Matos, former Lagos Mayor.

Algarve Accessibility Survey Results Update

Attendance and participation by members the public at government meetings is a basic and essential part of democracy. To exclude people with reduced mobility is illegal, discriminatory and anti democratic. Everyone’s voice counts!

In Portugal a law was passed in 2006 that required buildings where public meetings are held to be accessible to people with disabilities. Old buildings had a deadline of February 2017 to comply with this legislation. To read the law please click https://dre.pt/dre/detalhe/decreto-lei/163-2006-538624

We wanted to find out if the buildings and rooms in the Algarve where public meetings are held are complying with the law and are accessible to people with reduced mobility. So we conducted a survey.

News From The Provedora de Justiça

In May 2020 Constance Houck filed a claim to make the official meetings of the municipal assembly of Lagos accessible to people with disabilities. The meeting are held on the second floor of the old municipal building in the center of Lagos. There are two flights of very steep stairs to access the meeting room and no elevator, so people with reduced mobility are effectively prohibited from participating in local government meetings.

The letter we received from the Provedora references a commitment made by the President of the municipality of Lagos to make the building accessible to everyone and or move the meetings to a venue that can be accessible to everyone.

Update! Lagos is improving accessibility

When we won our accessibility budget proposal in 2018 (Please see the Winning and Waiting blog https://www.accessiblealgarve.com/winning-then-waiting-lagos-budget-proposal. We were delighted the voters had approved improvements to pedestrian crossings in a neighborhood in Lagos.

We are even happier today as the City has completed roadworks in a greater area than we had proposed and has taken on board suggestions we made to the city architect.

Human Rights Claim filed in Lisbon

Earlier this year on 21st of May accessiblealgarve blog co-founder Constance filed a claim with the Provedora de Justiça (Ombudsmen) in Portugal.

The claim outlines and documents the lack of accessibility for people with reduced mobility to public transportation and public meetings in the Algarve. The filing was a result of months of work to document and craft the claim and we are very happy to have had the pro-bono assistance of a Portuguese law firm.

Fort with an Easy Fix

 

Since the 1700s the Forte da Ponta da Bandeirahas has protected Lagos from enemies and also welcomed fleets of Caravelas loaded with treasures to export throughout Europe.  It is considered to be the best preserved fort in the Algarve.  Has the required moat, turrets and drawbridge, it’s structure was considered to be the most advanced in it’s day.  

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