Bus wheelchair space case makes history at Supreme Court

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A disabled activist was at the Supreme Court yesterday as judges heard his ground-breaking case that could finally force bus companies to ensure that wheelchair-users can use the spaces reserved for them.

Doug Paulley’s long-running case is the first the Supreme Court has heard concerning disability discrimination in the provision of services.

The importance of the case was underlined by the presence of both the president and the deputy president of the Supreme Court on a panel of seven judges.

And its significance was also marked by the attendance among observers of Liberal Democrat president Baroness [Sal] Brinton and crossbench peer Baroness [Jane] Campbell, both wheelchair-users, as well as Green party leadership candidate Jonathan Bartley.

A ruling on the case is expected before the end of the year.

Paulley (pictured), from Wetherby, Yorkshire, originally took legal action after he was denied access to a bus operated by the company First Bus in February 2012, because the wheelchair space was occupied by a mother with a pushchair and the driver refused to force her to move.

His appeal has been funded by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which told the court that bus companies must ensure that wheelchair-users have priority in using wheelchair spaces and that they must end their “first come, first served” policies.

Paulley originally won his county court case against First Bus in 2013 but that ruling was overturned by the court of appeal the following year – a decision which left disabled campaigners “frustrated” and “appalled” – so he took it to the Supreme Court.

Paulley said before the hearing: “It’s not right that I, and other wheelchair-users, should be nervously looking to see if anybody is in the wheelchair space and wondering what will happen. This can cause a great deal of distress.

“Wheelchair spaces are the only place on the bus that wheelchair-users can travel in; if they aren’t available, wheelchair-users can’t travel.

“This is the single biggest barrier experienced by wheelchair-users when accessing transport, and most wheelchair-users experience this.

“Bus companies need to have clear policies so that we can have a culture where non-disabled people automatically move to other areas.

“More needs to be done to ensure that this space is available to wheelchair-users when needed.”

After the hearing, Paulley told Disability News Service that being involved in such a ground-breaking case felt “weird”, as there was nothing for him to do but watch his “excellent” barristers at work.

He said: “It has happened around me and I get a load of credit but it is really great to have such a high-profile case, as long as we get what we want out of it.”

Even if he loses, he said, the case will still have an impact, because it will show that the Equality Act has “major flaws around enforcement and is effectively unusable”.

He said: “Either way it will hopefully make a change and certainly it has grabbed the public’s attention and people are more aware of disabled people’s right to transport.”

Paulley paid tribute to the disabled people, including many wheelchair-users, who packed out the court-room and had earlier staged a rally outside the building.

He said he was “incredibly lucky to have such a principled and supportive group of people behind this case”, and also thanked the user-led campaigning organisations Transport for All and Trailblazers for their “incredible support”.

Chris Fry, Paulley’s solicitor, from discrimination law experts Unity Law, said: “Unity Law has been proud to support Doug on this case since 2012, and shared his ups and downs throughout this legal process.

“We hope that the Supreme Court will finally make the correct legal and moral decision that supports the overriding objective of social inclusion for disabled people, and find in favour of Doug.”

Rebecca Hilsenrath, EHRC’s chief executive, said that “priority should mean priority”, and added: “We are saying that bus companies must uphold their responsibility and make it very clear to travellers that those spaces are intended for wheelchairs.”

Giles Fearnley, managing director of First Bus, said: “The previous judgment of the court of appeal gave much needed clarification around the priority use of the wheelchair space on board buses, following two previous conflicting rulings.  

“We hope that the judgment of the Supreme Court will maintain that clarity for our customers, drivers and the wider industry.

“We believe that our current policy, which is to ask other customers in the strongest polite terms to make way for a passenger in a wheelchair who needs the space, is the most feasible solution.”

Fearnley claimed that First Bus was “leading the industry” in improving bus travel for disabled passengers. 

Transport for All (TfA), which has supported Paulley in his case, marked the Supreme Court hearing by releasing case studies of 12 disabled and older Londoners who struggle to access buses every day.

One of them, Jeff Harvey, a TfA trustee, said: “Every time I try to board a bus, I feel stressed because I have to be ready for an argument with the driver and/or other passengers, ready to try to raise my voice enough to be heard from the pavement and get my mobile phone camera ready to take photos of the registration plate if I need to make a complaint.”

Mark Wilson, who frequently uses buses both in the north-west of England and in London, told TfA: “I have been left at bus stops many, many times because there was a parent with a child’s buggy using the wheelchair space and they would not move, and the driver felt unable to ask them, let alone compel them, to move.”

Another TfA trustee, Alan Benson, said: “London has one of the most accessible bus fleets in the country, yet it is still a lottery whether I will get to where I’m going.

“Every week I’m stymied by ramps that are broken or too steep, drivers who don’t stop, or worse, don’t let me off, and by parents with buggies who are unwilling to free up the wheelchair space.

“Each time I had a problem on buses I used to complain to Transport for London, but it didn’t seem to change anything and it happens so often I don’t bother anymore.”

Faryal Velmi, director of Transport for All, said: “It is vital that wheelchair-users and also mobility scooter-users get access to the wheelchair priority space on buses.

“Wheelchair and mobility scooter-users are heavily dependent on buses to get around London because so few Tube stations have step-free access.”

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  • Julie Moseley

    I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, the whole sysrtem is wrong. It either puts mothers with buggies under impossible pressure or else puts wheelchair users under impossible pressure, and creates a conflict between these two groups. I have often travelled by bus with a baby in a buggy , in the past. and it is a nightmare, especially if you suffer from ataxia, like me. Nobody, neither fellow passengers nor driver wants to wait whilst you fold up the buggy and sit down with your baby on your lap; and you can’t even realistically do this without begging somebody for help because you need both hands to fold the buggy and stow it away, ..so , then, how do you hold the baby? So there there is enormous pressure for you to to use the wheelchair space.I always avoided that if I possibly could, because you’re going to be an even worse position when when a wheelchair user suddenly boards ,ater on. when the bus is all the more crowded, and the waiting-time briefer. If you’re going to do a juggling act with your baby , under the baleful eye of a busload of people, and with the ever-present risk that the bus will start moving before you’re done, then you want to time it as carefully as opossible, don’t you? (Of course the bus isn’t meant to move off before you’re done, but that doesn’t stop some drivers, and the prospect of the driver being ticked off if your bnaby is injured isn’t any sort of comfort , you just don’t want to go there ) It’sreally sad that wheelchair users and mothers are put in rthis position of enmity, when they actually have so much in common, and ought to natually feel a bit of empathy for one another. I don’t think the driver was at fault for not asking the mother to move. I think her was at fault for making her take up that space in the first place. Or rather, the system was at fault. A space that mother can and must use so long as nobody else wants it is no practical use, but rather an awful imposition on the mother. Much better, and much safer to go to go back to go back to no priovision for buggies at all. Then everybody can see how the mother is fioxed and then they might just go back to helping, like they did in the old days, rather than glaring, impatiently huffing, and making you feel like a piece of poo if she doesn’t use the wheelchair space, and like an even a bigger piece of poo if she doesn’t vacate it in half-a-second, at no notice.

    I’m sick of therse cases that support one side or other in the wheelchair-buggy conflict and fail to appreciate that it’s an artificial conflict vreated by the bus companies,and that both groups are vioctims, deserving of sympathy, not slander. Those spaces can’t be used by both groups at once, so one of those groups will just have to lose the option of using it at all. That’s the only rational answer . As it stands the bus companiess are allowed to get away with PRETENDING to provide for both groups, then letting the drivers get prosecuted whenever that pretence falls apart and the driver is forced to chose which party he sides with. There’s no right choice he can make. There’s no decent reasonable option. That’s the real problem.

    • Msw3681 sw

      Oh boo hoo. Wheel chair users have no choice about being disabled and in a wheel chair. You on the other hand, choose to have a baby.

      • Julie Moseley

        so …your solution is that women stop having children is it? i still think that banning women with buggies from using the wheelchair space is rather more practical.

        • Msw3681 sw

          Remove the child and fold the buggy up, or don’t have kids. Yes they should be banned. It’s a space for wheel chairs. The clue is in the name love.

          • Julie Moseley

            oh, for heaven’s sake. you haven’t read what i originally wrote. removing the child and folding the buggy is exactly what i preferred to do, and attempted to do every time, but both driver and other passengers will pressure the parent into taking the wheelcharr space instead, if available. that is the problem. whilst you’re busy spreading your oh-so-generous love around, you might spare a thought for the baby- who didn’t ask to be born did he? and making his mother perform a dangerous juggling act with him at no notice, whilst the bus is crowded is not very charitable to the baby, is it? and might result in one extra wheelchair user. let her do it when she first gets on

          • Julie Moseley

            you are coming across as self-righteous self-centred and judgmental (supposing you’re a wheelchair user yourself? if not, scratch the 2nd one). not a good position from which to preach about love , and not a good way of getting it either. what exactly is wrong with consdidering the problem from bboth points of view? you’d rsther cling to your dubious moral highground and propagate bad feelings?

          • Doug Paulley

            I hope the judgment may force bus companies to be more up front and decisive, and make better provision for parents.

            Here’s why there is lever access on buses: https://youtu.be/rSyxVE0WnbE It’s great that this has had a beneficial side-effect for parents, but that side effect should not result in disabled people being unable to travel.

          • Julie Moseley

            I agree. however, as stated previously, I would have been happy with NO provision for parents. Parents (especially disabled parents such as myself) really do need a bit help from fellow passengers,Before these” wheelchair spaces”, appeared , the other passengers would volunteer said help. If only there was a big sign up saying “wheelchairs only” then the other passengers would surely go back to being helpful, instead of impatiently gesturing at the wheelchair space

          • Msw3681 sw

            I don’t give a damn Moseley.

          • Julie Moseley

            FYI: my son is now 27 (much too big for a buggy) and I’m now too disabled to be able to use the buses, or to use a wheelchair (my problems being largely neurological) , i am therefore quite neutral on this issue, but i felt my past experiences might prove interesting and relevant. you seem to have me pegged as “the enemy” in this debate

          • bubblegurl252

            You seem to be forgetting the disabled children who also use these spaces, who’s parents get verbally attacked for not folding up their pushchair.

          • Karl Allen

            well actually Msw3681 a buggy is a chair with wheels, and the baby is unable to walk; making him/her disabled – am i wrong??

          • Msw3681 sw

            Actually, I really don’t give a crap. and no, the child is not disabled. How preposterous.

        • Julie Moseley

          May I draw your attention to Doug Paulleys comment above “…everybody should treat everybody with respect and empathy…”, (which is what I was trying to say, myself) .

          You evidently feel that choosing to have a baby, at one point in my life , should somehow denty me (and every other parent! ) that respect and empathy for the whole of the rest of my life. Even worse, i chose to have a baby whilst suffering from a nasty degenerative disorder which I have probably passed on to my son, so that surely makes me the lowest of the low, doesn’t it?

          Of course I had no idea that I had such a disorder at that time, Also I didn’t know that passengers on buses are unhelpful to the point of hostile towards mothers who refuse to park the baby buggy in a vacant wheelchair space. So the question of choice is utterly meaningless ijn both instances.

          Maybe we should make all those disabled people who chose to become disabled by participating in dangerous sports wear a tee-shirt announcing that fact? just in case we accidentally offer them some undeserved sympathy??

          And maybe all mothers who’ve raped or forced into marriage should also wear a tee-shirt to let us know theat they do deserve a bit empathy after all? ” I would never have had this brat if anyone had asked my opinion ” perhaps?

          If you’re going to complain about prejudice, you need to stop being prejudiced yourself

      • Julie Moseley

        May I draw your attention to Doug Paulleys comment above “…everybody should treat everybody with respect and empathy…”, (which is what I was trying to say, myself) .

        You evidently feel that choosing to have a baby, at one point in my life , should somehow denty me (and every other parent! ) that respect and empathy for the whole of the rest of my life. Even worse, i chose to have a baby whilst suffering from a nasty degenerative disorder which I have probably passed on to my son, so that surely makes me the lowest of the low, doesn’t it?

        Of course I had no idea that I had such a disorder at that time, Also I didn’t know that passengers on buses are unhelpful to the point of hostile towards mothers who refuse to park the baby buggy in a vacant wheelchair space. So the question of choice is utterly meaningless ijn both instances.

        Maybe we should make all those disabled people who chose to become disabled by participating in dangerous sports wear a tee-shirt announcing that fact? just in case we accidentally offer them some undeserved sympathy?

        And maybe all mothers who’ve raped or forced into marriage should also wear a tee-shirt to let us know theat they do deserve a bit empathy after all? “I would never have had this brat if anyone had asked my opinion ” perhaps?

        If you’re going to complain about prejudice, you need to stop being prejudiced yourself

    • Stop taking sides? Oh, I’d love to do that, if only the buggy owners I see every day when I try to get the bus would stop verbally abusing me just for needing the wheelchair space – and they *don’t* stop! Not to mention the number of buggy owners who decide to shove their frequently monster-sized prams or pushchairs into the wheelchair space even when the buggy space is unoccupied when I board.

      I am 30. I will be in a wheelchair the rest of my life. I should not have to endure the anxiety and distress of having to worry every time I leave my home about whether I’ll be able to get where I’m going, if I’ll get there without being abused or assaulted (which, by the way, has now happened four times in five years), and whether I can get there on time.

      Even if both spaces are empty, the bus companies in this area have a policy of only allowing one chair user per bus, which is frankly disgusting when they’re happy to take up to four buggies at a time. So not only do I have to worry about whether a buggy will be taking the chair spot, I have to worry about whether I’m the first chair user to get to that bus service or not, as well as whether the driver will stop and let me on, even if there isn’t another chair user on board, because plenty of them can’t be bothered to stop, anyway.

      I’ve been made an hour late for my own birthday party, and nearly lost my table reservation over that. 20 minutes late for a friend’s memorial service, 15 for another, and so late for a hospital appointment that they cancelled it and forced me to reschedule.

      Ring & Ride are never on time, even when they can find my building (you’d have thought after three years & with it being on a main road, that they’d have figured it out by now!); my nearest train station is 2 minutes away but completely inaccessible due to over a hundred stairs and no lift or level access anywhere.

      As for a taxi, I have to book a black cab to have room for me and my chair, and they charge me double or more the fare I’d pay to travel without a wheelchair (£12.50 compared to £5 for a journey of less than two miles), and they won’t put the ramp down to let me out unless and until I pay their extortionate fares without arguing. As for receipts, I should be so lucky.

      Those are just the taxis I can order in advance – and I only know of one single company that offers accessible taxis for advance private hire. Hailing one on the street is even worse; I have to ask able-bodied passers-by to hail them for me while I hide nearby, then come out when the taxi has pulled up to the kerb, or else they refuse to stop.

      You think buggy owners have it hard? You have no idea how lucky you are. And as msw says: a child is a choice, a disability is not.

      • Julie Moseley

        Trialia, I was sympathising with you right up to “You have no idea
        how lucky you are”. Whaaaat? I would not have the gall to say that to anybody,
        I’m not in their head,haven’t lived their life, and have no idea
        what kind of burden they are carrying, let alone how lucky they do or
        don’t feel. The other man’s grass always looks greener, as they say. I
        do try to bear that in mind,

        What exactly do you know about me rom my posts? That I was pushing a baby buggy 27 years ago, and that, in the present day, I can’t use a wheelchair, nor use the buses…the implication being that I would if i could.

        I haven’t drivelled on about my own disabilities because they’re not relevant to the question in hand. However, to fill you in: the reason why i can’t use a wheelchair is because I’d bea danger to self and others, given that i suffer from (ever-worsening) ataxia, involuntary muscle spasms, dinminished states of consciousness and frequent seizures. Not much fun, hmm? And made all the less fun by people being hostile, abusive or riduling me, on the assumption that I’mdrunk or some kind of drug abuser. (I am actually teetotal.)

        I count a number of wheelchair users amonst my friends ,as it happens, and they have alltold me that they had by far the most abuse on account of their disabilities BEFORE they became wheelchair-bound, at which point people became a lot more sympathetic.

        There’s a reason for this: Nobody ever seems to consider that somebody might be disabled if they don’t have wheelchair under them. Any noticable effects of disability are put down to various character defects instead, and people feel free to be as hostile abusive as they like. The vast majority of people actually are sympathetic towards recognised disabilities.

        Your post implies that you have sufered abuse after becoming wheelchair-bound, but not before. I have no idea why this should be, but trust me, that is
        highly unusual.

        As somebody affliced with multiple “hidden ” disabilities since birth, I do know all about prejudice, hatred and abuse. I’ve had abuse all my life on that account, quite often from wheelchair users who have called me ignorant” and worse (unrepeatable) hings for failing to move out of their way fast enough.

        Tha tthese coditions went undiagnosed for about 3 decades (as was usual for my generation) didn’t help , because “hidden” disabilities are not so hidden as all that., worse luck. . and if you don’t have a label, then you don’t have any excuse for failing to meet expectations. That is what makes autism , in particular, hard to live with. I am proud of being autistic. I really don’t consider that a disability. . However, the resultant social attitudes are highly painful and disabling.

        If I had know that I had an uderlying progressive disorder, i might well
        have thought twice about parenthood, But I didn’t know. I certainly
        can’t avoid thinking of myself myself disabled nowadays. I really am.

        I’vesometimes hoverered on the verge of suicide on account of unremitting
        neuropathic pain, and other problems (such as being found “fit for work”
        abnd losing all my benefits. The usual story) . However, I can tell
        you that the offhand judgments offerered to people like myself both from
        individuals and society at large (eg the newpapers) is the most painful
        and depressing thing of all

        If I could change just one thing , I would change those judgmental attitudes . Because theyrepeatedly makes me feel that this socity really isn’t worth living
        in,not even if I could be wealthy, healthy, and lukhy in ever which way.

        Actually, I do fel lucky for being at the bottom of the social heap, becauser I’ve e learned things about the world that I would not have otherwise learned, and that
        experience increases my empathy for other people. I think empathy is something
        that is in ridicu;ously short supply these days, and that we badly need
        more of it.( By “we” I mean the human race. all of us. )so that’s no small blessing

        By the way, I have also been hated and abused for being a single parent, for being out-of-work, and (all the more so!) for taking what work I could get (low paid work on a zero-hour contract).

        Wheelchair -users are far from being the only victims of prejudice. one
        would think we could all stick together.

        Sadly, being a wheelchair-user doesn’t make a person a saint, nor free-from prejudice Sadly, people who have an especially hard time in life often do become rejcied and hateful as a result. Sadly, this does include wheelchair
        users, of course. And ironically, they are often hateful and prejucided towards
        other disabled people… perhaps on the assumption that non-wheelchair
        users have an easier time? Well, . I don’t beliweve that is ever a safe
        assumption, neither do I believe it ever appropriate, nor ever anything
        other than destructive. You cannot fight hate with hate.

        I were a prejuciced sort, then i would surely be prejudiced against
        wheelchair-users by now, on account of all the abuse I’ve had from the
        loud, aggressive utterly self-centred minority of wheelchair users .

        Hpwever I do realise that all social groups have their loud aggressive minority , whoalways stand out from the rest, simply by dint of being loud and aggressive. Even buggy-pushing mothers! That’s never a good enough reason to hate the
        whole group.

    • Doug Paulley

      I agree with you. Public transport should be available to everybody, adaptations – both to physical features and to attitudes ava procedures – should be made for everybody, everybody should treat everybody with respect and empathy, and the driver is in an impossible situation. I support the call for adjustments to make it easier for parents with kids.

      The way our barrister put it was quite good, I think. He said that we totally acknowledge that other groups experience difficulties and that adaptations should be made, but that wheelchair users object to the tacking on of solutions for other groups in a manner that undermines the specific solution (the wheelchair space) put in place to take our access problem.

      Hopefully, if the judgment comes out our way, parents and drivers will know where they are, so to speak, and will prompt more thought around solutions for parents.

      • Julie Moseley

        Thanks fpr this lovely post! It helps restore my faith in human nature. Those other hate-filled replies were beginning to seriously depress me.

        That was a very good way of putting it “wheelchair users object to the tacking on of solutions for other groups in a manner that undermines the specific solution”.

        My point was that wheelchair users are not the only ones who object to said tacking on, nor are they the only people undermined by it!

        That three respondantsout of four thiink that “Boo hoo” is an appropriate response to that observartion…well!

        Hopefully they will lend a more sympathetic ear to you, since you have a “proper” disability unlike myself

        • Doug Paulley

          I suspect that negative reactions are as a result of the polarisation of the debate, caused by the ostensibly confrontational element of the case: “wheelchairs versus buggies”. It is of course much more complicated and nuanced than that, but it’s the purported conflict that makes the media interested. As a result, I have experienced a lot of hate and personal insults from a lot of people, predominantly people with buggies who have said I’m being selfish, expecting special treatment rather than equality and am willfully putting babies’ lives at risk. There has been an increase in reports of disabled people being unable to use the bus because a significant minority of parents with buggies, and bus drivers, have refused to try to make the space available following the judgment against me. It’s a definite minority, Mumsnet has the same views as you and I, but that minority have been making my life unpleasant and other disabled people’s too, so there are a lot of very bruised people on both “sides” of the debate. As ever, when people actively listen to each other, we realise that in general the other side is a human being with understanding and is reasonable in the most part – with the odd exception.

          The supposed confrontational nature of this dispute is what has saddened me most, and I’ve tried to give a fuller story as much as I can when I’ve spoken to the media.

          Whatever the judgment, we will have to accept it and make most of the situation for all affected, I guess. A bit like a very mini Brexit.

          • Julie Moseley

            “it’s the purported conflict that makes the media interested”

            Point! And media distortions are another highly depressing subject. Notice how everybody talks in sound-bites these days? The media claim to be reflecting a dimiished attention span in their audience, but I seriously wonder if they’re helping to foster that! It’s bad news at any rate, because the kind of polarised debate it creates isn’t the least bit helpful as regards solving real issues

            “As a result, I have experienced a lot of hate and personal insults from alot of people, predominantly people with buggies who have said I’m
            being selfish…”

            Damn , damn, damn. I was afraid thatsort of thing would be end result of this kind of reportage, and i’m taking no joy in being proved right . I am really sorry to hear that. It’s clearly not you at fault here, but people who purport to speak on your behalf.

            “As ever, when people actively listen to each other, we realise that in
            general the other side is a human being with understanding and is
            reasonable in the most part – with the odd exception.”

            Indeed.And let’s hopeto God that people don’t lose that skill of listening to each other,

            “The supposed confrontational nature of this dispute is what has saddened
            me most, and I’ve tried to give a fuller story as much as I can when
            I’ve spoken to the media.”

            I suspect the only way of ensuring that the full story is published is to write the story youself, and offer the script for publication on the strict condition that the editor prints it in full. Seriously. You’re clearly a good enough writer.

            Thanks again for another thoughtful post. All the very best!

            julie

  • Ryan Montgomery

    For me there is a very simple solution to this problem, separate spaces on the bus for wheelchairs and buggies…plenty of regional buses have this (Hertfordshire and Wiltshire/Hampshire).

    I live in London and am fed up of anxiously waiting to see if I’ll be able to get on, whether I’ll have the embarrassing situation of having to barge a small baby out of the space, whether the ramp will work…if I was less ambitious it would honestly put me off going to work…I can only imagine how it effects others as I am quite a positive and determined person and it really gets me down…

    I also note the lack of storage for pushchairs on London buses…and even the new ones don’t have a provision for a pushchair…

    On a weekly basis I experience situations where I can’t board the bus because of prams, where the ramp is broken, where the bus driver just drives off without explanation or doesn’t even bother to stop…

    The other issue is the lack of flexibility from some bus drivers. Most of the time there is space for both my wheelchair and a pram/buggy yet the bus driver either won’t let me on or doesn’t let the buggy on despite me telling him there is plenty of room (he didn’t even give the poor lady the option to fold it despite the bus being empty). The other issue is what happened before wheelchair spaces when a pram couldn’t be folded? Presumably it had to park in the aisle? Why isn’t that allowed?

    As I say the most obvious solution is to take a couple of seats out and make a designated buggy space…or in the absence of that some common sense and flexibility re: where a buggy can be placed…

    It’s ridiculous…I’ve got fed up of complaining…if I had a pound every time I had issues on the bus I could quit work and not have to worry about it…

  • Andi Sernicki

    Well as a pushchair/pram user I have to suggest that it is parents of such, large, cumbersome baby carriages that cause a problem. I use a fold up wheelchair and so did my parents. I fold the chair and carry my wee bairn on my lap or to sit beside me. Parents are very protective of their £1000 buggies and feel they have the right to not fold them and also have them piled high with shopping.

    The space in question is a designated wheelchair space and teir access to a lot of other transport systems is severely lacking. So the least us parents and carers can do is free up the space designated for them so they can have a relatively stress free journey. If we are a caring nation this is not an issue and we should all do our best to accommodate all the members that make up our society. I have little regard for the London buses as the drivers are more often not bothered about who travels or how. They even use up baggage space for the availability of free newspapers at the cost of fare payers journey comfort. TFL should be investing in less seats on buses to make room for £1000 buggies, people with wheelchairs and those that carry luggage, such as tourists visiting the capital. Also homeless people carry baggage and need to travel on buses so less seating more space. Also, like me, there are people who are overweight so standing is good for us as it burns more calories.

  • Julie Moseley

    Congratulation on the Ruling ! (just saw it on the News) .

    That said, I was disappointed by ITV’s reporting. The announcer said that “disabled people” .will now find it easier to travel by bus. Actually, that might be true (with various qualifications, of course) for wheelchair users, but , as usual , the language reinforced the myth that disabled people means people in wheelchairs! The majority are not in wheelchairs, of course. And the ruling makes no practical difference whatsoever to that majority .

    Since *some ” wheelchair users made the point, on this very thread, that they “don’t give a damn” about the rest of us, I do very much feel that our existence needs to be acknowleged more often. i surely don’t expect us all to be accomodated (Personally, I’ve just had to give up on public transport, becauise It’s just too fatiuing for me , to the point that i usually have seizures on the return jouney. if not sooner. What the heck can the transport companies do about that? ) and I certainly don;’t begrudge those that do get accomodated.

    I was also disappointed by the parents interviewed by ITV. . They all presented their issue as “not wanting to wake the baby up” . If only it were really that trivial! My own problem , back in the day, was that I simply didn’t have themanual dexterity to fold the buggy with one hand whilst holding the baby with the other arm , Do “normal ” people really find it easy to do that? Perhaps they do? Or perhaps ITV just managed to find a load of idiots who were happy to deliver the expected spiel. . i don’t know. I really don’t.

    In any case. i’ll say it agai: buggies should NOT be expected (nor even allowed) to use the wheelchair space at all. The only people who should ever be permitted occupy that space when it’s free are people who can easily re-locate. That means fully able-bodied people without babies. the accomadation of baby buggies should be kept as an entirely seperate issue.

    Andi– thoughtful post but really,m there’s no solution that would work for everybody. Take me, for example. Years ago, when I travelled by bus, i didn’t dare stand, as i would lose my balance and fall- often into the laps of other passengers, much to my embarassment! Your “less seating, more space” solution would imake bus journeys all the more nightmarish for people with “invisible” disabilities like ataxia (A bit of misnomer. iI’s visible, alright, but usually mistaken for drunkenness!)

    I think the only “adaptation” that would seriously make easier for people like myself is if people stopped making assumptions. I use a walker nowadays which helps clue people in to the fact that I have mobility issues, besides helping me to keep on my feet, but prior to that, but prior to that , whenever i went out, people (includding wheelchair users) barging in to me and yelling at me for being “selfish” and “ignorant” because I couldn’t jump out of their way fast enough

    It would be oh-so-nice if only people could just resist pasing judgement, wouldn’t it?