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I'm so sorry it's about disabled bus seats

(397 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

YourNewspaperIsShit Thu 08-Sep-16 19:14:50

But It's absolutely not the normal "having a dig" thread and if I wasn't torturing myself about the situation I promise I wouldn't post it.

So I don't drip feed: I'm autistic and have an invisible physical disability.

The bus to DD's nursery was just a small one on this occasion and there was one wheelchair/disabled seat. The front seats have 'elderly' signs on and there's a sign on the wheelchair seat saying something like "This seat is for wheelchair users. Small prams and buggies may use this seat but must move if a wheelchair user needs access". Totally acceptable, I have no dispute.

So basically what happened was I got on to pick DD up from nursery, normally we go in the car but only DP drives and he was called to work. I have 6 month old DS in his pram (Silver Cross Wayfarer if it's relevant coz I can't fold it). I was in a lot of pain that day or I would have used his sling, i physically couldn't do it. In fact I kind of lean on the pram like a zimmer frame IYSWIM.

Pay for my ticket, park pram in the space and sit in the disabled seat. Every other seat on the bus is taken. Elderly people in the front seats. Halfway through the journey we reach a bus station and a lady in a wheelchair is in the queue, bus driver tells me to get off. Normally I'd 100% do this but I wouldn't have made DD's pick up.... She is only 4 so can't exactly wait another 30mins for the next bus.

I start having a panic attack with the situation and kind of splutter out that I really need to catch the bus. The absolutely lovely lady in the wheelchair says she's only taking her shopping home and will wait for the next bus.

Bus driver, assuming I guess that I'm just a snotty young entitled mother demanding the seat, continues to tell me to get off the bus. I start to cry.

I manage to choke out that I'm also disabled and get told "aye of course you are love, what kind of person takes a seat from someone in a wheelchair". It then felt like he was pitting us off one another, like some awful 'disability contest' saying things like "go on then what have you got, is it worse?"

The lady eventually gets through to him that she really isn't in a rush and goes out of the station so he can't just sit and wait for her. He reluctantly drives off with a shitty attitude and a grunt sad

I don't know what I'd have done without her lovely calm demeanor. I'm still absolutely mortified that I didn't get off the bus though, if it wasn't for DD there's no way I'd have stayed on.

Totally prepared to hear I WBU, especially for starting a bus seat thread. But I can't stop thinking about it and have noone to discuss with IRL blush

In hindsight I would have caught an earlier bus but usually they have big ones with 3 disabled/pram seats so I didn't think.

Skittlesss Thu 08-Sep-16 19:17:27

Aww that sounds awful. You need to report him. He shouldn't be doing that.

Soubriquet Thu 08-Sep-16 19:21:16

It's a hard one

The problem is, that bay isn't a disabled bay it's a wheelchair bay, so technically by law you need to collapse your pushchair.

You might need to look at getting a smaller buggy that can be easily collapsed.

What if the lady in the wheelchair had an urgent appointment to get to and HAD to use that space?

What would You have done then?

CrohnicallyAspie Thu 08-Sep-16 19:22:45

And this is the problem isn't it? When there have been so many entitled people refusing to move/make accommodations or whatever means that those who are genuine get lumped in with the entitled ones., rather than people give the benefit of the doubt. Add a confrontational bus driver to the panic caused by a potential change of plans and the physical pain you were in, it's no wonder you were struggling!

Would some sort of official card help? I have an autism awareness card from Autism West Midlands, and I also have an Access Card from a company called Nimbus disability. Something that you can show when you are unable to talk properly. I have found that carrying the cards actually means I'm less likely to panic, knowing they are there if I need them, and so I'm more able to make myself understood verbally.

OwlinaTree Thu 08-Sep-16 19:23:49

What a horrible situation. Just as well the wheelchair user was willing to wait really.

Bus driver was overly aggressive but had possibly had lots of issues with this matter in the past so was possibly on the offensive.

Must have been very upsetting. Hope you are ok now.

YourNewspaperIsShit Thu 08-Sep-16 19:24:07

Yes exactly I have no idea what I would have done blush I certainly wouldn't have taken it from her, the sign told me it was for wheelchair users and I'm very literal. I would have gotten off but then freaked out about DD.

But she was really nice and offered it to me and I took it that, that kind of 'overrides' the sign

DavidPuddy Thu 08-Sep-16 19:25:21

The bus company is at fault for not running the bigger busses.

CrohnicallyAspie Thu 08-Sep-16 19:25:30

soubriquet I would imagine this comes under 'reasonable adjustment' for the OP. The OP was in too much pain to use the sling and needed a sturdy pushchair to lean on. I imagine she would not have been able to hold her DS and fold the pram even if she had brought a smaller pram. So a reasonable adjustment is to allow her to keep the pram in the wheelchair space.

TheFairyCaravan Thu 08-Sep-16 19:25:49

It's a wheelchair space not a disabled space as Soubriquet says, so technically you were in the wrong to have said you weren't folding or getting off. It was lucky that this time the lady in the wheelchair didn't have somewhere they needed to be.

MeAndMy3LovelyBoys Thu 08-Sep-16 19:26:26


I'm pissed off for you OP. Why do some people seem to think it's only people who have visible disabilities who have "proper" ones?

vicki2010 Thu 08-Sep-16 19:30:19

I think what you've experienced is a disgrace!! Please do report the bus driver to the bus company, he may then think twice next time.
Also, is there anyway you could carry some kind of card to prove your disability rather then being humiliated like that? Not nice I know, but I would prefer I had a way of just clarifying my issues if I were in your very situation.

Soubriquet Thu 08-Sep-16 19:30:41


This isn't an invisible disability problem. It's the fact that the bay if for wheelchair users only. So someone with crutches for example, highly visa me, still can't sit in that bay if someone with a wheelchair needs it.

Queenbean Thu 08-Sep-16 19:31:26

I understand that this was stressful for you but if you have an invisible disability I think you need to be able to stand up for yourself and say that you have it. Because otherwise it doesn't look good.

Can't you get one of those cards that shows you have it?

Fwiw though, it was a wheelchair space, not a "any vehicle used by a disabled person" space so I think you were lucky the lady was so nice about it

flowers for you though, sounds like a difficult exchange

ProudAS Thu 08-Sep-16 19:32:50

The bus driver's behaviour was totally out of order especially to someone with autism and just what are passengers who are physically unable to fold buggies supposed to do???

It may have been a space intended for wheelchairs but the Equality Act applies to anyone with a disability and the woman saying she was happy to wait for the next bus should resolved it.

Dontyoulovecalpol Thu 08-Sep-16 19:34:29

I'm not sure I've followed correctly but why couldn't you move the Pram and the wheelchair user go there? That seems to be the real issue. The wheelchair user didn't want your seat she wanted your babies. I'm not sure your disabilities are relevant when to you weren't using the disabled space anyway?

That said what a lovely lady.

Sirzy Thu 08-Sep-16 19:34:35

Thankfully the other woman was nice and used common sense.

Yes in theory it was "her" space but at that point your need was more.

Ds is in a SN buggy and if you had explained to me I would have done exactly the same as the other woman.

If you feel up to it I would contact the bus company and suggest perhaps some disability training for the drivers.

Handbagsandgladrages Thu 08-Sep-16 19:35:45

I think you wbu in a way because its not a disability space its a wheelchare space and wheelchair takes precedence over a pram.

The driver was rude but I don't know, this is a difficult one as I don't think the lady in the wheelchair should have had to wait either as she has the most right over that space you were in. Very tough but I'm sorry you were made to get upset.

YourNewspaperIsShit Thu 08-Sep-16 19:37:19

The card suggestion is good, i never thought I'd have to 'prove' it to be honest but my care worker can help me apply for one I think so thank you.

I really would have got off if she hadn't offered and i would have to deal with the situation left over. But i was shocked the driver was shutting down her offer confused

The bus had clear 'elderly' seats and the wheelchair seat and both had the words 'disabled' in the sign somewhere but there wasn't actually a seat for disabled people without a wheelchair (which I'm sure there is on the bigger buses)

Queenbean Thu 08-Sep-16 19:37:26

The wheelchair user didn't want your seat she wanted your babies.

I presume this was a typo Calpol, otherwise that gives a very different slant on the situation! grin

YouTheCat Thu 08-Sep-16 19:37:29

Being able to 'stand up for yourself' is often easier said than done when you are autistic.

Yay for the nice person in the wheelchair though.

whywonthedgehogssharethehedge Thu 08-Sep-16 19:39:10

The problem is that buses are not properly equipped for disabled people. There should be room on every bus to accommodate 2-3 wheelchairs if needed.

A wheelchair should have priority over a pram since you can't fold a wheelchair. However due to your disability you can't fold the pram or use a sling so in many ways it's not really very different.

Even if they stick rigidly to the wheelchairs have priority There are far better and nicer ways to deal with this stuff than the wanker bus driver did. All passengers on a bus deserve to be treated with as much respect as the driver would expect themselves.

ProudAS Thu 08-Sep-16 19:39:17

Also, the OP mentions that she uses the buggy like a zimmer. What would happen if someone was travelling with a walking frame that could not be folded or carried anywhere other than the wheelchair space?? Would the bus driver expect the walking frame user to get off and stand around (which they may be physically unable to do) waiting for the next bus with no guarantee of getting on that???

Ameliablue Thu 08-Sep-16 19:40:05

While the sign may have said wheel chair users, the equality act protects all those with a disability.
The bus driver needs educating about disabilities. I think it would be useful if there was a nation wide scheme where doctors could issue cards to those with a disability that they could show if challenged without have to go into any detail about personal circumstances.
I also think it would be useful if you come up with a back up plan to manage your dds pickup for similar situations to help you cope.

MoreCoffeeNow Thu 08-Sep-16 19:41:13

It is a wheelchair space so you were being U, technically. You should buy a buggy that folds then that can't happen again.

Dontyoulovecalpol Thu 08-Sep-16 19:41:20

She wanted your babies lol

Yes OP I don't think there is generally a seat for people who are disabled but don't have a wheelchair.
Tfl have priority seats but if someone was sitting in it you'd still have to explain why you wanted them to move

Sounds like a difficult situation

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