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folding pushchairs on buses because of wheelchairs

(20 Posts)
happymumwithbump Sun 12-Jun-11 08:51:26

Hello there,

I'm looking for information on safety of children in pushchairs on buses vs holding them on laps.

TurtleAnn says "In fact, in Spain, it is deemed so unsafe, it is illegal to leave your child in the buggy/pram during a bus ride and you are required to hold the child on your lap." Does anyone have a reference for this? I'd be interested to find out more.

Personally I never worried as buses are very safe in general and I'd fold or not fold the pushchair depending on convienience and who else needed the spot.

Being a recent wheelchair user, however, I have been utterly shaken up at the attitudes towards folding pushchairs on buses. I am effectively unable to travel on the bus at anything other than very quiet times as there is almost always a pushchair user on the bus and at least 3 times out of 4 they refuse to fold.

On the two occasions that my husband has insisted (third bus to refuse us and hospital appointment), the mums have been really rude and insulting. I am not allowed to drive due to disability, get no financial support as I am currently undiagnosed and have no other means of transport, so I am feeling extremely trapped and under attack.

Any insights into mums minds or suggestions of how to deal with this situation welcome.

Thank you.

Gastonladybird Sun 12-Jun-11 08:59:33

Am sorry to hear about your experiences - but you are in the right, wheelchair users should get priority and I am amazed bus drivers aren't insisting on that. I know it can be painful to fold a pushchair up but you have mo alliterative.

You could ring your local bus company to ask their policy and advise on what to do. Then hold frim and use that in any argument¿

missnevermind Sun 12-Jun-11 09:06:42

Our bus company has recently changed it's policy to give wheelchair users priority over pushchairs. Which is only right.

CristinaTheAstonishing Sun 12-Jun-11 09:11:55

Folding a pushchair is a PITA, who will hold the baby (not all pushchairs are foldable with one arm only), esp if you have bags, another child etc. I suppose there's also the thinking of 'I was here first' and the fact discussions between someone getting on the bus and the driver won't always be heard in the middle of the bus where the pushchairs are. All pitiful excuses and none are for rude behaviour.

AuntieMonica Sun 12-Jun-11 09:16:04

IME on public transport, ANYONE who has less than 100% mobility, for whatever reason (and for the purpose of this eg only i mean a pushchair also) gets a rough deal.

if i folded up my pushchair, there was nowhere to put it, there aren't any luggage racks on the smaller single decker buses!
i would be left trying to juggle (not yet walking) DD, a folded buggy and perhaps a few bags of shopping that had been stashed underneath it, in a seat barely big enough to get your knees into!
drivers did not have the time allocated on their schedule to wait for you to get organised anyway, it is a wholly unpleasant experience for most people!

this however, does NOT excuse any passenger's rudeness to you, but may give you a little insight to other users experience.

i can't comment on using a wheelchair on a bus, i've never done it, so please don't think i'm taking sides here.


nickschick Sun 12-Jun-11 09:18:41

When my ds1 & 2 were small you could only catch the bus if you collapsed the pram (a nigh on impossibilty) so I walked.

Nowadays you can catch a bus without collapsing it but those spaces are limited and disabled have preference.....I think thats right.

WorzselMummage Sun 12-Jun-11 09:28:03

Its just not possible to fold a pushchair when it is fully laden with a weeks shopping and you habe a squirmy 18 month old trying to make a break for freedom.

I do agree with you that wheelchairs should get priority, of course but one of the pushchair mums might have a hospital appointment too, or older children to pick up from school, it's not as simple as saying i'm getting on.. you have to get off.

mousymouse Sun 12-Jun-11 09:37:40

worzel well, it should as simple.
maybe we should a new campain about bus layouts. it should be possible to have busses that fit 1 or 2 buggies + wheelchair.
I have been asked to get off the bus when wheelchair users needed to get on and have got a ticket from the driver that I could use on the next bus.

Geepers Sun 12-Jun-11 09:49:49

When my 17 year old was a baby everyone had to collapse pushchairs to get on a bus, and they managed.

iskra Sun 12-Jun-11 09:51:03

But if there was space for two buggies and a wheelchair you'd just get three buggies and the same situation when someone wanted to get on with a wheelchair.

I think pushchairs just have to accept the inconvenience. Ask for help to hold the shopping etc. Or buy a mclaren in the first place wink

I have witnessed appalling behaviour from bus drivers towards a wheelchair user on my commute (who is also trying to commute) so that really influenced my thinking once I started getting buses with pushchairs. It's hard enough for wheelchair users to get around without contending with parents too.

I often fold if there's a third buggy waiting to get on too.

StewieGriffinsMom Sun 12-Jun-11 09:55:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Maryz Sun 12-Jun-11 10:24:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Gastonladybird Sun 12-Jun-11 10:31:46

Yes worzel it should be as simple- am not saying it's a walk in lark with pushchair, shopping, squirming child but the fact Is you can fold and sit elsewhere (albeit with difficulty) - wheelchair users cannot. And it's painful enough being a wheelchair user without ignorant selfish fuckers making life more difficult by refusing to move.

Also while I am about it agree with the buying a smaller easier to fold pushchair if you are likely to use public transport. I know this has been done to death but you wouldn't buy a car that didnt fit your garage or drive ( unless you are my next door neighbour) so why buy a buggy that is going to give you endless troubles.

Gastonladybird Sun 12-Jun-11 10:33:11

Maryz - agree re sense of entitlement - I always made sure (and bloody tough it was too) that could fold and take shopping if necessary .

Bucharest Sun 12-Jun-11 10:34:43

The carrier bag of tatties presumably will not die if they're place on the bus floor for a minute. (for those whinging about having shopping on their pushchairs) There will be someone else who can hold the baby for 10 seconds while you flip the pushchair down.

The wheelchair user gets priority, absolute priority IMO.

thumbwitch Sun 12-Jun-11 10:38:58

Howver much of a PITA it is to fold a pushchair etc. etc. it really doesn't compare with needing to be in a wheelchair and I am really quite shock that the bus drivers refused to insist that the pushchairs make way for you.

When I was in Edinburgh a couple of years ago, we got on a bus with our large pushchair - as soon as a wheelchair needed it, we were told to fold the pushchair. No problem. Mind you - at the next stop there was another wheelchair user and they had to wait until the next bus as the spot was now full.

Peachy Sun 12-Jun-11 10:42:55

CAn I just say that A) YANBU and B) you need to take benefits advice as many people never get a diagnosis- 60% across the gamut of disabilities according to opur PAed- and a dx is not necessary for a DLA claim, even though it can make it easier.

please peak to a charity or the CAB about getting some help.

Peachy Sun 12-Jun-11 10:44:02

They've taken away the bit where you can put a folded buggy locally to make space for extra seats

I still managed to sit with sopping, a folded buggy, and a screeching toddler (who has and is being diagnosed atm with, ASD and got scared by bus)

TotalChaos Sun 12-Jun-11 11:12:03

agree with Maryz. If the shopping was that difficult to take off pushchair it was my own fault for not organising myself better

OP - sorry you are going through a tough time. Please feel free to pop over to SN board (SN board children is the busiest) and/or Parents with Disabilities on here if you want to discuss wheelchair practicalities/benefits queries etc

happymumwithbump Mon 13-Jun-11 07:53:48

Thanks very much for all the helpful comments. It seems that the main factor is convienience rather than safety, (or, I had worried, a sense of "why should she get special treatment").

When I am with my husband, we have started sending him onto the bus first, saying to the driver as he passes "please could you put the ramp down for my wife" not waiting for a reply and then immediately saying to the pushchair users "we'd like to get on, can I help someone fold a pushchair down?". That worked on Saturday and hopefully will again.

It won't help me get to work though. I considered walking onto the bus to do the same, (I can walk in a wobbly fashion about 10-20 steps) but worried I would end up in the paper as a fraud (woman in wheelchair WALKED!! onto bus and demanded I move my pushchair), also I'm not really capable of either folding pushchairs or holding babies while standing at the moment.

Maybe, when the bus pulls up I can say to the driver "please can you put the ramp down, I can help the pushchair users by holding the baby while they fold if they want", which I can easily do in my chair. But as I'm not on the bus, and in a wheelchair, I don't think anyone will have much confidence giving a baby to me to hold.

I've got a strategy now for bus drivers that won't let me on as they are level access with no ramp , when there are no buggies. I can get round the back of my chair and get it up the step myself, then even if the driver protests, I'm on and if he wants me off again, he'll have to ring his manager and I'll be in the wheelchair space. That's worked once so far, after 2 failed attempts to get on empty level access buses with no ramps.

Anyway, many thanks and now I know what to ask the bus companies when I write back, ie. ask the drivers to get out of the cab and offer to help the pushchair users fold rather than stay in the cab and shout " anyone want to fold a pushchair up?".

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