Man wins “wheelchair v buggy” bus case - BBC News — Scope | Disability forum
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Man wins “wheelchair v buggy” bus case - BBC News

Markmywords
Markmywords Member Posts: 419 Pioneering
Breaking news on the BBC web site
A disabled man has won a Supreme Court case after a dispute with a woman with a buggy over wheelchair space on a bus.

It means bus drivers may have to do more to accommodate wheelchair users.

Wheelchair user Doug Paulley brought his case after he was told he could not get on a bus to Leeds in 2012 when a mother with a pushchair refused to move.
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Comments

  • Markmywords
    Markmywords Member Posts: 419 Pioneering
    I don't know how the Appeal Court could interpret the law as it being ok to not provide him with a service.
  • CaderMac
    CaderMac Member Posts: 105 Pioneering
    Love the response from Scope - a victory for common sense, I couldn't put it any better. 
  • salwil89
    salwil89 Member Posts: 56 Courageous
    Breaking news on the BBC web site
    A disabled man has won a Supreme Court case after a dispute with a woman with a buggy over wheelchair space on a bus.

    It means bus drivers may have to do more to accommodate wheelchair users.

    Wheelchair user Doug Paulley brought his case after he was told he could not get on a bus to Leeds in 2012 when a mother with a pushchair refused to move.

  • salwil89
    salwil89 Member Posts: 56 Courageous
    Excellent. Well done.
  • Blue Frog
    Blue Frog Member Posts: 358 Pioneering
    Fantastic news  :):):)
  • MikeBroderick
    MikeBroderick Member Posts: 234 Pioneering
    I just congratulated Doug on his blog (where he has posted his thoughts on the decision) for his tremendous effort and that of Chris Fry and Unity Law and others in helping to fight for the rights of those of us who have a disability.

    As I mentioned to him, I am far less sanguine than he is about what the decision could mean in practice.

    What's to stop an able-bodied passenger from refusing to vacate the disabled space in the future - be it tonight, tomorrow, or a further 5 years from now?

    The bus driver now has to request the person to leave the space (forcefully, as Doug writes) and perhaps stop the bus for a few minutes, but ultimately it is down to the driver's judgement, and there is nothing in the decision to compel a driver to force the person to leave the one and only wheelchair space on the bus.

    Doug "won" the case, but wasn't even awarded damages, so First Bus avoided even that slap on the wrist.

    To me, the decision is a legal "fudge" that leaves a very bitter taste.


  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,682 Disability Gamechanger
    On twitter, one user says "fact of the matter is, you choose to have kids, you don't choose to be in a wheelchair."

    What do you think?
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • Ros
    Ros Member Posts: 12 Connected
    I was interviewed about this on Premier Radio yesterday, on behalf of the small Christian disability charity I work for, Through the Roof.  They picked me because I've been that mum struggling with 3 small kids on the bus, and I've accompanied my adult daughter, a wheelchair user, on the bus, and I can verify it's far harder for the wheelchair user.  You can hear my interview here: http://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Weekday/The-News-Hour/Episodes/The-News-Hour656 and read Through the Roof's press release here: http://www.throughtheroof.org/supreme-court-ruling-enables-level-playing-field-for-wheelchair-travellers/  I've also been asked to give an interview about it to UCB Radio at 11.40 this morning on behalf of Through the Roof.


  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,682 Disability Gamechanger
    That is such an interesting perspective @Ros as you have been in both situations!
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • Ros
    Ros Member Posts: 12 Connected
    Yes, and there's no doubt the world is loaded against disabled people, especially those with sensory and mobility impairments.  People who haven't experienced it just don't realise.
  • KirstyA
    KirstyA Member Posts: 1 Listener
    Years ago when busses didn't have the access for prams or wheelchairs... prams still boarded folded and stored whilst child sat on Mum or dads knee. Wheelchairs never boarded because that user can not simply jump out of their chair, fold it and sit on a bus seat. This is ridiculous that the people are saying the parent with child has priority when they are able bodied to be able to hold the child out of the pram. Wheelchair users should not be made to feel like this. Pram users did not fight to have these spaces so why should they have priority! Disgusting as a society that people think it's acceptable to treat people this way! 
  • MartinInch
    MartinInch Member Posts: 2 Listener
    The feeling at Disability Rights UK is that this ruling, though welcome, is inadequate and that the law needs to be changed regarding unreasonable occupance of a wheelchair space. This is not wheelchairs vs buggies - it is any anti-social behaviour. Right now you can be thrown off a bus, or the police can be called for smoking or having dirty clothes but not if you are unreasonably occupying a wheelchair space. See https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2017/january/paulley-case-important-milestone-–-and-more-legal-clarification-needed

  • Ros
    Ros Member Posts: 12 Connected
    Yes, for me the saddest part is that we have to legislate rather than people being respectful and understanding.
  • Alex
    Alex Scope Posts: 1,307 Pioneering
    Really interesting @Ros, thanks for sharing.

    I think it's a shame that this has become parents Vs wheelchair users - and who deserves the space more. It feels like a deliberate misdirection from the bus companies!

    Ultimately buses need more space without seats. It's not a perfect solution but I quite like the idea of having separate space for wheelchairs and pushchairs.
  • Graham_Scope
    Graham_Scope Scope Posts: 15 Courageous
    edited January 2017
    The feeling at Disability Rights UK is that this ruling, though welcome, is inadequate and that the law needs to be changed regarding unreasonable occupance of a wheelchair space. This is not wheelchairs vs buggies - it is any anti-social behaviour. Right now you can be thrown off a bus, or the police can be called for smoking or having dirty clothes but not if you are unreasonably occupying a wheelchair space. See https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2017/january/paulley-case-important-milestone-–-and-more-legal-clarification-needed

    I agree with DRUK's comment as well.  And there's a bit of history here. Disabled people, me included, campaigned and lobbied during the 80's and 90's for more "disability-friendly" designed transport systems and vehicles. The response was a set of legal regulations that specified design solutions (including the wheelchair space on buses)  for disabled people, rather than all users. This changed in the 2000's to a well-meaning but in my view flawed "access for all" approach, which resulted in all users  (for example older people, parents with buggies etc) being invited to use the space as part of a campaign or culture change that championed universal or inclusive design . This of course resulted in the current policy confusions about who has priority over use of a bus wheelchair space. So I agree with DRUK - until public service vehicles of all kinds are designed inclusively to meet all users needs, we will need to protect those features and spaces for the use of disabled people, for whom it was originally intended.
  • milo
    milo Member Posts: 130 Pioneering
    About time. We have 2 bus companies in this area. One is fantastic and the drivers make great efforts to free up space when I want to board,  the other company is dismal in its attitude and I've been refused access numerous times.

    The disparity between them is incredible. On one particularly memorable occasion, the more helpful firm sent a taxi for me when one of their busses was out of service and  had been temporarily replaced by an old vehicle which had no wheelchair access. 
  • Markmywords
    Markmywords Member Posts: 419 Pioneering
    Disabled passengers are the least profitable for bus companies. That means a few companies will have to be sued yet before the message sinks in that they are legally obliged to provide equal access to their services.

    Punitive damages aren't big here like in America but public companies don't like being branded as abusive.

    This situation isn't restricted to just buses either.

    It doesn't need the law to change, just their willingness to change the T' & C's and policies.

    If another law was written would that one be enforced any more than the current one?
  • Fundamentalist
    Fundamentalist Member Posts: 133 Courageous
    Hi from Fm. I think this is a situation with no easy solution, a bit like Northern Ireland. The bus drivers are caught between a rock and a hard place. Also there are far too many variables involved and too many "what if's". What if the buggie or pram is loaded up with heavy shopping and therefore can't be simply folded up or what if it's a bigger double buggie with two little ones in it? And what if it's absolutely dreadful weather outside and dark and the mother is a long way from home late in the day or it's the last bus home? How can she and her little one(s) get off then? Or what if it's a rural service that only runs every two hours or even less frequently? There's too many such possibilities. And I often take a big garden trolley onto the bus in the summer which carries my inflatable boat which I take to the seaside which is the only pleasure I ever get and I need it and it weighs about 40-odd pounds and I can't lift it with my back and groin injury and if I have to get off the bus I will miss the train and my whole day would be written off just like the rest of my life! And the train is only once an hour and I have to get there in time for the tide etc. And I've had many a bus driver park up the bus and refuse to go, once because a cyclist tried to take their bike on the bus which is not allowed because it has sharp parts. And another driver panicked and parked up and called the coppers who then totally wrongly arrested me on a 136 order on the grounds that I must be "mentally ill" just because I fully justifiably got someone told because their stupid dog started absolutely howling it's guts out and causing  me absolutely intolerable torture which I will not stand for. I think that if someone can't keep their dog quiet on the bus they should have to get off. It's not just about wheelchairs, I would have to get off if my little phone went faulty and started playing music on it's own and I couldn't stop it but dogs make FAR more appalling noise yet that's allowed which absolutely enrages me! THAT is total injustice, people come before dogs! Fm.
  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,682 Disability Gamechanger
    As someone who has used the bus with a double buggy with two kids in it and one on my knee filled with shopping, yes it would be inconvenient for me to unload it and fold the buggy, BUT that is something I am able to do and so I would do that.  A person in a wheelchair has no other option and can't fold their chair and sit in another seat.  

    Basic decency would mean that whatever the inconvenience, I would move my things so that a wheelchair could go in the space that is allocated for wheelchairs!
    Scope
    Senior online community officer

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