It is not very often I feel compelled to write about something that is essentially a common sense versus poltiics issue but this has got my back up. For years, decades even, campaigners faught for busses to have wheelchair access and a dedicated space for a wheelchair, inorder that those confined to such devices had the option of using public transport. It was a victory.
Now wheelchair bus users are being left, literally, on the pavement.
A bus company was taken to court by a wheelchair passenger because when he asked another passenger to politely move her childs buggy from the wheelchair space, she refused, the bus driver refused to intervene and thus the wheelchair user had to get off the bus. Initially the disabled traveller won because the actions [or inaction] contravened the Equality Act 2010. The bus company appealled and the Court of Appeal concluded that it was a “request not a requirement” for people to vacate disabled designated seating.
My blood is boiling – how can I use a bus [or train] service that can offer me no service because the only space available is taken up with a baby buggy, suitcases, shopping etc etc. A friend who lives in London and uses the bus every day, has twice this week alone, seen a wheelchair person left on the freezing pavement because something was in the space. Dis-gus-ting.
Many comments are saying that the disabled campaigners are over reacting and that common sense will prevail and that people will vacate the disabled space when it is needed – well, no they won’t.
I fully appreciate that it is ‘inconvenient’ for a parent with buggy to have to get the little one out, fold down the buggy and then sit in any of the other available seats, but you have options, you can sit anywhere, a person in a wheelchair has but one place.
Does a wheelchair user in the wheelchair space prevent a parent with buggy getting on the bus? No, they have to chose whether to wait the next bus or get on and unbuggy child and sit elsewhere.
There is an onlne petition for those inclined – Make Vacating A Space a Requirement