Just my 2% of $1 on this one.
I respect the fact that disabled users wish to be treated as equally as possible in this world - After all a physical disability does not mean a mental disability. However the fact is that there are going to be some things that a less able-bodied person person is unable to to do by the very nature of their disability. This is just a fact of life for those people.
Back in the early 90's when this whole DDA thing came to the fore (I was a bus driver with STA/TA at the time) I couldn't help but to think that it would have made more sense for more Access cab vouchers to be made available to wheelchair users as it would be a win-win for everybody concerned - More fares for the taxi driver, Less inconvenience for the drivers and passengers of mass transit (Bus/Rail), The wheelchair passenger gets picked up and dropped off exactly from and to where they need to go, and money could have been saved with not having to provide a fully wheelchair accessible rail and road going fleet.
In my experience the majority of users of wheelchair spaces in buses are prams that don't need to be folded up with the child/ren removed with only an occasional wheelchair/gopher carried.
On the trains I have seen a few wheelchairs but definitely not in huge numbers however I guess the rolling stock itself does lend itself fairly nicely to carrying those sorts of items without too much modification required. The platform infrastructure, however, is another story - Modifications to Underpasses, Overpasses, Lifts, Tunnels, smart crossings etc required.
Now I am not saying this to be politically incorrect but sometimes I wonder how much of this DDA thing is a bit Utopian in the sense that mass transit should be catering for the needs of many over the needs of a few and DDA goes against that policy. How much of DDA (on public transport anyway) is about providing for the minority because they have
to have the right to catch PT? How strongly do genuine wheelchair/gopher bound people feel about wanting to catch public transport when they have the alternative Access cab option? I know the Access cab system is not perfect but surely it is better than trying to manoeuvre
their vehicle onto a bus. How much of DDA (once again on PT) is good in principle but really not practical and has maybe gone too far (Would be wonderful in an ideal and perfect world but the reality is different)?
Should someone with Parkinsons disease be "given the right" to be a brain surgeon because of their brilliant mind even if their body is not capable of allowing them to use their fine motor skills? If that were the case then should surgical procedures and equipment be modified (at whatever expense) to allow that sufferer to be able to perform that surgery? (A little abstract I know but I am just talking about the principle)