Interesting - Bus Company on wheelchair/Pram spaces..

(1000 Posts)
Bathsheba Tue 01-Jan-13 15:39:53

Yes -that old chestnut.

The Chair of the NCT has posted a letter on her facebook page (and has asked for it to be shared so I doubt any problems with doing this) from a bus company's solicitor - the bus company are being accused of being disabalist in not insisting that parents fold down prams/Get off etc. I've posted the info from the bus company below and will happily post a link to this thread on the facebook page as they have been asked to garner as many opinions as possible.

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I write further to our recent telephone conversation. As I explained, we are solicitors acting for Arriva North East Limited, which runs bus services in the North East. Arriva is currently involved in a court case brought by a number of disabled passengers. They are alleging that Arriva has discriminated against them because of its policy on use of the wheelchair space by parents with buggies. The court case is very important as it is likely to decide how wheelchair spaces in buses and trains across the UK can be used in future. Arriva’s policy is that drivers will ask parents with buggies to fold them down if a wheelchair user wishes to board the bus, but if parents cannot fold down the buggy or refuse to do so, they will not be forced to. Arriva believes that its policy is in line with the government guidelines and aims to minimise conflicts between passengers by striking a balance between the competing rights of parents with young children and disabled people to use the wheelchair space. The people bringing the claim have proposed various changes to this policy, to ensure that wheelchair users have absolute priority over the space – the proposed changes are listed below. Arriva is obviously concerned about the impact of these proposed changes on parents of young children and their ability to use public transport. Arriva has been given until 28 January 2013 to gather evidence on the potential impacts of these changes. We would be very interested in hearing your members’ views and experiences on the practical impact of the proposed changes on parents of young children. I would be very grateful if your members could respond directly to me with their views by 18 January 2013.

Proposed changes:-

1. Prohibit prams on board
2. Get drivers to ask passengers to fold down their buggies before they board the bus.
3. Get drivers to warn passengers each time they board the bus that they will have to fold their buggies and/or vacate the bus if a wheelchair user wishes to board.
4. Offer passengers with buggies onwards tickets if a wheelchair user wishes to board and buggy cannot be folded down.
5. Refuse access to buggies, prams and pushchairs which cannot be folded.
6. Refuse to continue the bus journey until the passenger with the buggy moves from the wheelchair space.
7. Insist the passenger with the buggy leaves the bus if a wheelchair user wishes to board and buggy cannot be folded down.

Kind regards,
Adam
Adam Hedley
Solicitor
(contact details follow but I thought best to remove them - Bathsheba)

ChocHobNob Tue 01-Jan-13 16:07:21

I think they should do 3&4. There are already signs on most buses but it may be helpful to remind people so if a wheelchair user does want to get on they will expect to be asked to move. Plus as a parent, if you are aware you are going to possibly need to use public transport a lot, keep that in mind when buying a push chair and buy a practical one. Some of the buggies people try to fit on buses are ridiculous sizes.

ihearsounds Tue 01-Jan-13 16:09:26

I think this is a long time coming, and about time too imho.
I use public transport a lot in London. I see a lot of self entitled parents/carers refuse to move/fold up their buggies to allow a wheelchair on. Even worse are the selfish scroates that get on with the buggy up, take child out and leave the buggy there. This obviously takes up the space for other users.
When had my youngest, I bought his buggy knowing that I would be using public transport. Wasn't hard, just needed to use some common sense. If the space was free I would just wheel on, other times I would fold.
The spaces are convenient but not necessary. I say this as a parent who used to use public transport with 3 under 5's in the days the buses had steps. Although I still remember after the wheelchair accessible buses were being introduced, some buses still had steps, and saw several people to the bemusement of the driver try and get the buggy up the steps lol.

3 drivers already do this. But it is mainly ignored.
5 drivers would need to learn about every model, not just from this country.
7 Used to be done, but drivers stopped because of the abuse.

Not sure what the actual solution would be though. Fining would be hard to police, and some parents wouldn't give a shit anyway. Others would probably have it as a badge of honour.

We would need a scheme of card holding, for disabled parents who cannot legitatmately fold a pram, many will have disability bus passes, but some won't.

This isn't about disabled parents, but people who take the piss.

Sirzy Tue 01-Jan-13 16:12:40

For the small amount of parents who are unable to fold a pram themselves then surely you can ask someone else on the bus to help?

TheNebulousBoojum Tue 01-Jan-13 16:15:07

'"If you can't manage your children under those restrictions, then you should use alternative forms of transport. Perhaps use CB for taxis?"

CB for taxis? You're shitting me, right? What freaking world do you live in?!'

The kind of world where people believe that wheelchair users get travel allowances to enable them to afford taxis?

SirBoobAlot Tue 01-Jan-13 16:19:22

I get mobility allowance. And sometimes I do have to take taxis. But I then have to work out for the rest of the month how many meals I am not going to eat so I can afford to leave the house.

Whilst your imaginary world sounds love, this is the real one.

TheNebulousBoojum Tue 01-Jan-13 16:20:52

Switch your sarcasm spotter on SirBoob.

5madthings Tue 01-Jan-13 16:25:40

Pushchairs should be folded or get off for a wheelchair user.

But i posted on fb recently as i was hirrified by a new sign on first buses (norwich area) as they have a sign that states wherlchair users fo NOT get priority over wheelchairs and that if there is a pushchair then the wheelchair will have to wait for the next bus!!!

CaHoHoHootz Tue 01-Jan-13 16:29:45

I presume NCT stands for Nottigham City Transport and not the National Childbirth Trust blush

Wheelchair users should always have priority.

I would choose option 3, in conjunction with option 4 when needed. Ultimately, if the pushchair user still didn't cooperate then the bus driver should use option 6 or 7.

Maybe the bus drivers could be allowed (and trained) to assist pushchair users in exceptional circumstances. Bus drivers should also be given reassurance that they will be supported by their employers for insisting that disabled users have priority.

shayshaysmum Tue 01-Jan-13 16:30:20

Saving place for later..

Seriously 5madthings? That's appalling!

* but don't wheelchair users receive travel expenses so that they can use a taxi?*
Can't you see the statement above is just as ridiculous as suggesting CB is for taxis? hmm
How fucking depressing, it's usually a couple of pages in before the uggeion is made that wheelchair users are all on benefits or have nothing better to do than wait at a bus stop for hours! angry

5madthings Tue 01-Jan-13 16:34:00

I know annie i took.a photi of the sign and fb it and others tweeted the bus company as i was horrified! No reply from the bus company.

Have bern meaning to email them.but we have all been ill.

Our arriva buses have done away with luggage racks so even if you could fold the buggy you have absolutely nowhere to put them except on seats which then decreases the seating capacity!

Surely this is ridiculous, I have no problem folding a buggy when requested but we do need storage space for them!

Ephiny Tue 01-Jan-13 16:34:52

It sounds perfectly sensible and normal to me. It's the same on London buses, wheelchair users are supposed to get priority for the wheelchair spaces, according to the TfL website. That's the whole point of the spaces, after all. Not for people to put their prams/shopping trolleys/suitcases in.

mymatemax Tue 01-Jan-13 16:36:20

What a fcking sad world we live in when we need legislation to ensure people are afforded a little common courtesy.
As human beings we should offer assistance to those who (for whatever reason)need it.

If everybody considered others needs alongside (or occasionally) their own than this sort of costly action would not be required.

What a sad, sad, society sad

I think 3 and 4 are practical.

Btw, boomer, a mate of mine doesn't 'even' use a wheelchair, and did used to get some taxi services provided when we were students. But then, she has no hands or feet and very poor sight, so she got tired and disoriented trying to walk far on prosthetics. I'm not trying to be snippy, I just wanted to stress that the phrase 'didn't even use a wheelchair' makes it sound as you would only expect someone in a wheelchair to have serious difficulties with transport, but actually there are quite a lot of other things too.

mymatemax Tue 01-Jan-13 16:36:57

(or occasionally above)

SecretSantaFix Tue 01-Jan-13 16:37:04

Ok, I am going to fling this out there for the people who are under the misconception that being in receipt of DLA means the person who gets it is able to flash the cash and hire a taxi whenever they need to go somewhere, especially if they are wheelchair users.

A ticket for the bus -a full Day ticket, which covers all the surrounding villages and towns is £5 per day. Between my town centre and the nearest seaside town costs £13.75 + ONE WAY.

So say for example, you lived in said seaside town and have 2 appointments a week at the hospital in my town or benefits office etc- that works out at £10 for bus tickets or at least £55 in taxi fares.

Why does a person already with substantial health issues have to endure further poverty because selfish asses who refuse to fold buggies don't get penalised for their revolting attitude? I am not talking about parents with mobility issues themselves.

There WILL be posters on later to point out that their buggies shouldn't need to be folded because of the pesky wheelchair users. There just will, I know it.

TBH if it's down to parental disability then I don't think they should have to fold, it would cause extreme difficulty.

I would however like major buggies recognised for what they are - a wheelchair for a child. I've been told to fold it when DD was so fatigued she was unable to stand because it was perceived to be a buggy.

With a bit of consideration bus companies shouldn't have to an buggies. After all if there is no wheelchair user wanting to use the space there is no need to fold anyway.

HoHoHoNoYouDont Tue 01-Jan-13 16:42:46

I was on a busy bus last year on the way into work. Three buggies were on and at the next stop a wheelchair user wished to board. None of the buggies offered to get off or collapse their buggy. The wheelchair user didn't want to make a fuss and said he'd wait for the next bus.

I was quite annoyed at the time that the driver wasn't more assertive. What if the man was adamant he wanted to board? What would the driver have done I wonder.

StickEmUp Tue 01-Jan-13 16:43:48

im able bodied and i dont have children but my position on this is its very easy to forget anything could happen at anytime and one day i might need a wheelchair or need to look after someone in a wheelchair so i pretty much treat them, and in fact everyone i meet i hope with the same common courtesy ans one day i might need someone to show that to me.

I think the driver should be responsible for saying 'there is a wheelchair user waiting, unless you have a disability could you fold your buggy'? They have no problems with saying you're not allowed to come onboard with hot food/alcoholic drinks when those are banned so it's not as if it's unusual to have to explain the rules.

rogersmellyonthetelly Tue 01-Jan-13 16:46:10

As a parent I know how difficult it is to wrestle a baby, toddler and shopping whilst trying to fold a pram. On the other hand, it is possible, just difficult, folding a wheel chair isn't as the person needs to be sitting in it.
Rules should be simple, pushchairs are fine on the bus provided they can be folded and you are willing to do so. If you won't fold it, you can get off the bus and on the next one.

MsElleTow Tue 01-Jan-13 16:53:13

There will be, also, be posters Glitter who will moan that their babies will get wet, that they were there first and that why are disabled people more entitled to the space than them!

I think it is a sorry state of affairs that it is taking potential legal action for transport companies to sort this out.

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