Places I visited in Belgium

A day of shopping in Wijnegem Shopping Center … NOT.

Wijnegem Shopping Center

During the Christmas season I wanted to go shopping in the Wijnegem Shopping Center.

With my car!

At first I thought to go with my car.
Easy, leave home and go back to Antwerp whenever I want. Only … Someone would have to take my scooter out of the car and use it again in the evening ..

There is security around in the center so I thought, I ask if there is a possibility to count on their help.
Two phone calls later this turned out to be impossible. The willingness was there, but what if something went wrong with the transfer, or whatever …

Ok, understandable for this but no effective help.

Okay! Then by train!

Then by train to Antwerp Central, where there is a tram connection every ten minutes. So handy!

I paid (with a discount) € 12.60 for a round trip ticket and the reserved assistance was on site. Nice! The slow train ride of almost 2 hours passed amazingly quickly. My book remained in my basket, I was too busy watching the changing landscape, watching people and having a chat here and there πŸ™‚ .

A good idea that my friend Carina was waiting for me on the platform because I am really not used to the tram traffic. And the whole underground system … “A cat does not find her kittens there” in my eyes … πŸ™‚ .
The plan was to take tram 5 in metro Astrid. This is one of De Lijn’s routes that is fully accessible and for which you do not need assistance. Tight plan. Only the lift to -2 was broken and so we had to go back up and cross Astridplein where we could go down to line 10.
It turned out that there was a tram every 10 minutes, one with stairs and the other “ground floor” but I could not take the transfer over the gap from platform to tram with my scooter …

Assistance? Where?

Ok this was poorly planned by myself because assistance was nowhere to be found. When I was planning this outing, I was clearly over my head abroad, where this is no problem at all …
Sigh …

With the shopping center still in my head as my ultimate goal, we then walked to the Lijnwinkel on the Groenplaats, hoping to get effective help there.
Unfortunately.
The friendly counter clerk couldn’t help me one step further, she didn’t even know how to handle this. This happening in a big city like Antwerp … I didn’t think it was possible …
But she did give me a telephone number and e-mail address and a sincere ‘sorry’.

Thank you weather gods!

Fortunately the weather gods were in good spirits for me, because instead of going shopping indoors, we walked a few hours on the Meir and the Keyserlei. Also nice! πŸ™‚

Two days later, I was sick of calling the number the counter clerk had given me. However, this was constantly occupied and was automatically broken. I didn’t like e-mailing immediately because I wanted an answer as quickly as possible.

Quick answer? Facebook!

The only way is Facebook! I noticed several times; Do you want a quick response from a company or concern of any kind. Facebook is your best friend!
The same day I already answered my request for assistance:

Unfortunately, a mobility scooter cannot go on the tram for three reasons:
β€’ A mobility scooter is not a safe seat during transport on another vehicle.
β€’ A mobility scooter is much less agile than an electric wheelchair.
β€’ A mobility scooter cannot be safely anchored on our vehicles.

Grmpfffff …

I got the tip to contact Meermobiel.be. They sent me further to De Rolkar, which arranges customized transport to and from a previously agreed destination.

Public transport, advantageous?

All well and good … But … that’s how my transport to Wijnegem Shopping Center becomes very expensive: (.

  • train ticket H / T € 12.60
  • transport from Central Station to Wijnegem Shopping Center € 2.17 entry fee and € 0.70 per kilometer driven, which amounts to almost € 15 H / T
  • together so almost € 30 for transport only

Conclusion.

So I’ll take my car next time and meet on the spot with benevolent friends who would like to help with my scooter without a problem! My free transport card fits well in my wallet … πŸ™

Public transport in Flanders … There is still a lot of work to do in the (Lijn and NMBS) shop!

Loving my life and surrounding myself with friends and positive people. My goal is trying to make the world more aware of accessibility for wheelchair users on holidays and other leisure activities.

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