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Anorak | Wheelchairs And Prams Fight For A Fair Service On The Bus

Wheelchairs And Prams Fight For A Fair Service On The Bus

by | 13th, November 2014

Disabled rights demonstrators chain themselves to a double decker bus on London's Westminster Bridge. The action coincided with a mass lobby of Parliament to demand that MP's support the latest Bill to give disabled people rights under the law.  Ref #: PA.1915871  Date: 09/02/1995

 

WHO has right of way on a bus: wheelchairs or pushchairs? No contest surley. Wheelchairs must win. Children can be carried. Unless you’re on an ATOS bus in which case the wheelchair user can bloody well walk:

A court will decide whether wheelchair users have priority over pushchairs on buses, but how do you decide who is more entitled to the space? In February 2012, wheelchair user Doug Paulley was not allowed to board a bus in Leeds because the wheelchair space was taken by a pushchair. The mother, not wanting to wake her sleeping baby, refused to move.

Paulley was left with no choice but to get off and wait for the next bus. That one was an hour away, and took him to the wrong side of the city. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back. “That day in February resulted in me not using a bus again for a year. I lost all confidence and couldn’t face it anymore,” he said last year.

It sounds like the bus service is at fault: not enough space.

But the law says disabled people are a “protected group” under the Equality Act 2010.

A person (A) discriminates against a disabled person  (B) if A treats B unfavourably because of something arising in consequence of B’s disability…

Parents with young children are not a protected group.

Back in 2012, First Bus, the company in charge of the bus Paulley tried to get on, had a “first come, first served” policy that meant the driver could ask the woman to move, but could not force her. It relied on the goodwill of passengers to give up their spot for a wheelchair user, and as became evident, this reliance was open to failure.

Paulley was so upset by the experience that he embarked on an 18-month legal battle against First Bus, a case he eventually won. A judge at Leeds County Court ruled in September last year that First Bus’s policy of “requesting but not requiring” non-disabled travellers to move was unlawful discrimination, in breach of the Equality Act 2010.

Had the next bus arrived faster, things would have been fine. So, again, the fault lies with teh bus service and the

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Posted: 13th, November 2014 | In: News Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink