On Friday, I decided to head over to Auckland Zoo to try out my new camera. Parking the car, I limped into ticket booth and my ankle was sooooo sore just walking from the carpark to the entrance, that I decided to hire a mobility scooter from them.
At the information office, the conversation went something like this...
Me: "I'd like a mobility scooter if there's one free for today", pointing to my bandaged foot - "I have a sprained ankle and it might be easier for me to get around on one of the scooters"
Zoo Lady "Do you know how to drive one?"
Me: "I'm sure I can figure it out"
Zoo Lady: "Do you have a current drivers license"
Me: (very bemused) "Well I did drive to get here showing my car keys STILL in my hand"
Zoo Lady: "It $30 deposit which you get back when you return it"
Me: "That's fine" and I promptly pulled out my EFTPOS card to pay.
Zoo Lady: "Oh - it's EFTPOS - okay" so she wrote that down on the form. "We won't charge you then"
I started reading the form. I had to sign that I would *NOT* go into the Meercat Tunnels with the scooter. I found that hilarious too - anyone who has been in the Meercat tunnels would know that a mobility scooter would not FIT into the tunnels at all. There were a few more things I wasn't allowed to enter, but I didn't get a copy of the form, and once I had left the centre, I couldn't remember which ones they were.
Anyway - the long and short of it - I was shown what speed I was allowed to go (it was set with a pin so you couldn't go over that speed). There was a lever you press and the scooter goes. When you release the lever it stops. Another lever on the other side did the same for reverse. Hey - I need a current drivers license for that!!!! So I pressed the lever. Nothing happened. Nothing at all. My car goes somewhat faster than this!
Zoo lady then over-rode the pin and told me not to go into the 'red zone' as it would be too fast. She set it just before the red zone. I pressed the lever. Nothing happened. Finally she put it into the red zone and the mobility scooter started going. No faster she said. Now this was *slower* than walking pace. If I had been with anyone, they would have got very impatient at this speed.
Anyway, I decided to do as I was told and very very slowly took off. When I was out of sight of Zoo lady - I then upped the speed. A lot. Zoomed around the Zoo. I didn't kill anyone.
The mobility scooter was excellent for my sprained ankle, but I would love to remind Auckland Zoo that people who are disabled, are restricted only in mobility. Our brains work perfectly fine. I'm SURE that I do not need a current drivers license to buy one either, or in fact use it anywhere in any public place. I know of no ministry of transport mobility scooter exams, or road code. I truly believe it's simply courtesy and common sense you need to use one.
Whilst you provide an excellent service, you might like to overhaul the system a bit an stop treating people with mobility restrictions like idiots!