Category

Out and About

Story by

Clem

Date published

23 January 2019

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How it all started

I would like to know if I have the right, as a wheelchair user, to board a bus. On several occasions the bus driver has refused to put the ramp down for me and I have had to wait for the next bus. It is really cold at the moment and waiting for half an hour out in the open is torturous for someone who is immobile and cannot move around to keep warm. A couple of months ago the driver said he wouldn't put the ramp down but would not say why. When another passenger said she thought that he had a duty to put the ramp down he started ranting about how he was fed up with people complaining about him not putting down the ramp. In the end, a heavily pregnant lady kindly put down the ramp. I had to get off the bus a stop earlier than I wanted because the pavement was higher, so negating the need to put the ramp down. I was quite upset about the incident and contacted the bus operator to complain. They have told me that they are obligated to employing a number of drivers with medical conditions which means that they are unable to put down the ramp. To me, this is a form of discrimination. It means that I am having to wait around in the freezing cold. The Sunday service is the worst because the buses run infrequently. Can you tell me, do I have the right to board the bus?

What I did to try to overcome it

I emailed the bus company but didn't get a satisfactory outcome.

How it made me feel

I felt as though I was totally unimportant and that the bus company could not be bothered with my complaint.

The outcome

No, nothing has changed

Final thoughts

Only that some bus drivers are not willing to ask passengers with pushchairs to fold them up to let me into the bus. On a recent visit to London, the bus driver said it was now law and that wheelchairs take priority over pushchairs. Is this correct?

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Comments

Anon 24 January 2019

There is an organisation called transport for all which might be able to answer your questions. Best of luck.

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