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Man wins “wheelchair v buggy” bus case - BBC News

MarkmywordsMarkmywords Posts: 398Member Pioneering
edited January 2017 in Disabled people
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.

Replies

  • MarkmywordsMarkmywords Posts: 398Member Pioneering
    I don't know how the Appeal Court could interpret the law as it being ok to not provide him with a service.
  • CaderMacCaderMac Posts: 105Member Pioneering
    Love the response from Scope - a victory for common sense, I couldn't put it any better. 
  • salwil89salwil89 Posts: 61Member 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.

  • salwil89salwil89 Posts: 61Member Courageous
    Excellent. Well done.
  • Blue FrogBlue Frog Posts: 373Member Pioneering
    Fantastic news  :):):)
  • MikeBroderickMikeBroderick Posts: 234Member Courageous
    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_ScopeSam_Scope Posts: 7,732Administrator Scope community team
    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
  • RosRos Posts: 12Member 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_ScopeSam_Scope Posts: 7,732Administrator Scope community team
    That is such an interesting perspective @Ros as you have been in both situations!
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • RosRos Posts: 12Member 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.
  • KirstyAKirstyA Posts: 1Member 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! 
  • MartinInchMartinInch Posts: 2Member 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

  • RosRos Posts: 12Member Connected
    Yes, for me the saddest part is that we have to legislate rather than people being respectful and understanding.
  • AlexAlex Posts: 1,325Scope Team Scope community team
    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.
  • grahamfindlaygrahamfindlay Posts: 15Member, DPO 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.
  • milomilo Posts: 165Member 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. 
  • MarkmywordsMarkmywords Posts: 398Member 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?
  • FundamentalistFundamentalist Posts: 134Member 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_ScopeSam_Scope Posts: 7,732Administrator Scope community team
    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
  • grahamfindlaygrahamfindlay Posts: 15Member, DPO Courageous
    Sam_Scope said:
    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!
    I picked up a comment on Facebook yesterday from a mum with two kids who was "incandescent with rage" about the Paulley judgment. She felt she had an equal right to the wheelchair space and said anything else would be gross discrimination against her. Sadly, she didn't acknowledge the long battle disabled people and their organisations engaged in to  create the space in the first place! She simply felt she had a fundamental right to that wheelchair space. See my post above about the difficulty with having an "access for all" policy when buses and other vehicles are not "inclusively designed". 
  • MartinInchMartinInch Posts: 2Member 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

    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.
    I have just published a blog from one of our ambassadors, which coveres some of the points raised in this comment - https://disabilityrightsuk.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/the-paulley-principle-view-of-dr-uk.html

  • salwil89salwil89 Posts: 61Member Courageous
    @Sam_Scope I have noticed on a few occasions, how inconsiderate mothers with pram chairs are. They seem to think that everyone must fall over backwards to accommodate them. I have been pushed out the way on several occasions even when sitting down. So I appreciate where this is coming from. Watching wheelchair users negotiating buses is no mean feat and this in itself should tell the viewing public how difficult life can be in a wheelchair especially on a bus!!
  • grahamfindlaygrahamfindlay Posts: 15Member, DPO Courageous
    edited January 2017
    salwil89 said:
    @Sam_Scope I have noticed on a few occasions, how inconsiderate mothers with pram chairs are. They seem to think that everyone must fall over backwards to accommodate them. I have been pushed out the way on several occasions even when sitting down. So I appreciate where this is coming from. Watching wheelchair users negotiating buses is no mean feat and this in itself should tell the viewing public how difficult life can be in a wheelchair especially on a bus!!
    Attitudes are notoriously hard to legislate for and changes in behaviour can take a long time.  This is a good example of when disabled people need non-disabled people as allies to help change things. To use a parallel example, there are clips on You Tube of white passengers "calling out" racist language and behaviour on public transport when it happens. So it would be good to see other (non-disabled) passengers challenge the pushy parent with the pushchair on behalf of the disabled person  and apply peer pressure to help alter the behaviour. Who knows, it might even make him/her think about his/her attitude too?
  • grahamfindlaygrahamfindlay Posts: 15Member, DPO Courageous
    Alex said:
    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.

    @Alex I recall a transport conference many years ago that discussed the idea of two spaces for 'chairs and one for buggies. It was dismissed by the bus operating companies as unworkable in practice. For anyone interested in policy stuff about aqccessible buses, the DPTAC committee used to be a really good resource. It was almost abolished in 2013 and is sadly a shadow of its former self. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/disabled-persons-transport-advisory-committee
  • FundamentalistFundamentalist Posts: 134Member Courageous
    Hi folks, Fm here again. If Sam can manage to move her buggy with three kiddies surely others can manage with one or two. I wouldn't know having never been a parent. I have seen some dreadful young mothers on the buses including one who kept swearing at the driver and her poor little girl who was only about three had to listen to it all and needless to say she put her mum to shame as do loads of little ones. How is a little one supposed to grow up decent with a parent like that? And where I live a lot of the buses do have two spaces at the front both of which can take a wheelchair but strangely enough only one has a backrest and the seats in those areas fold up when not in use. But this is only really practical on a single decker, double deckers need the space on one side for the stairs. And I've heard one bus driver say that they're only allowed up to two buggies at a time but I've often seen more. And I try and avoid using the bus at busy times when I'm taking my big trolley with me to avoid having nowhere to move it to should someone get on with either a buggy or a wheelchair. But I definitely can't lift it on to a luggage space, not with my groin and back like they are. That's why I use a trolley as I can't carry 40-odd pounds, no chance! And I totally agree that more public transport needs to be better designed for more disabled folk, not just those with wheelchairs and white sticks and walking frames etc. Trams and trains and planes especially need to have really quiet segregated areas for folk with autism or misophonia, also known as 4S syndrome. And far too many vehicles are far too hot too, where I live far too many buses have the heating full on at the height of a heatwave and then no heating in the winter, where's the sense in that, what insanity! Fm.
  • milomilo Posts: 165Member Pioneering
    @grahamfindlay interesting that you mention the idea of a bus having a space for wheelchairs and another for buggies. Many of the newer buses in this area have exactly that. Not sure how widespread this is across the country but it's definitely something I'd like to see more of. 
  • FundamentalistFundamentalist Posts: 134Member Courageous
    Hi from Fm again. I can remember a time when parents had to fold up their buggies and prams etc. simply because the buses didn't have the one step, roll on, roll off design that they have now. And the buggies were considerately bigger and heavier in those days, back in the 60's & early 70's, I know as I was there. These days it's all about convenience more than anything else as well as selfishness. It's like I said in another post somewhere whenever you have a society which is far too liberal and Godless you always end up with a culture of gross impunity and gross inconsiderate selfishness. There's too much just handed to too many folk virtually on a plate these days without them having to earn it and they get too used to it. And today's buggies are so light you can near enough lift one with one hand. So it's at least partly a generational attitude problem not just design and that means more genuine Christians need to get their act together and win over the nation instead of just sitting back and letting it deteriorate so dreadfully. That is a duty that they take on when they become Christian. Fm.
  • AliceSAliceS Posts: 22Member Courageous
    Hello

    I write a blogged called Living with a Jude - http://www.livingwithajude.co.uk which focuses on life with our severely disabled son. 

    I'm writing a post at the moment about travel and why many disabled people fear public transport and I was wondering if anyone could give me an insight as to how they find travelling. I'd specifically like to hear the views of people with a disability, either physical of learning, or the opinions of their carers if that is easier.

    I will of course keep it anonymous but for your information, will post the article on this page once it is complete.

    Thanks,
    Alice
  • FundamentalistFundamentalist Posts: 134Member Courageous
    AliceS said:
    Hello

    I write a blogged called Living with a Jude - http://www.livingwithajude.co.uk which focuses on life with our severely disabled son. 

    I'm writing a post at the moment about travel and why many disabled people fear public transport and I was wondering if anyone could give me an insight as to how they find travelling. I'd specifically like to hear the views of people with a disability, either physical of learning, or the opinions of their carers if that is easier.

    I will of course keep it anonymous but for your information, will post the article on this page once it is complete.

    Thanks,
    Alice

    Hi Alice. I can walk and talk and see and hear etc. but I have a whole range absolutely brutal life ruining hidden disabilities, some of which are not even officially recognised as disabilities and certainly should be. The worst of all being severe heat intolerance which makes me far too hot and also misophonia or 4S syndrome as it's also known. This causes all manner of everyday noises especially those made by people and dogs to be absolutely intolerable and of course this means I cannot work so I have to use public transport which I find absolutely dreadful especially in such a liberal culture where there is such appalling disrespect and contempt for anyone like me. Everyone knows about white sticks and wheelchairs but almost no-one, including those in authority and service provision who should know knows about folk like me, instead it's totally ignored which infuriates me. And therefore public transport is an absolute nightmare, especially trains and trams which are nearly always "all open" design so there's no escape from the excruciating and absolutely intolerable noise of a few grossly inconsiderate and outrageously contemptuous passengers who couldn't care less about anyone and sometimes there's dogs making appalling noise too which is always totally ignored by the operators but they'd do their nut if I took a big loud portable music player on board, would they? it should be one rule for all, not "we can, you can't" as it always is. It's about time vehicles like trains and trams, and planes too for that matter had proper segregated areas for passengers with such special needs. Obviously it would have to be done in such a way that didn't compromise safety. Fm.
  • DasiydoDasiydo Posts: 94Member Courageous
    I got dyspraxia and hear and problems yesterday was use the public bus first thing car behind was be jerk and beep his horn second there no where seat and Oap but bags on second sit and full of fat children take two seat so left sit side on bus seat unable put my legs in. the buses are nightmare. Try Darth bus this morning but could not get on as it was full of children and toddles seat on bus seat so had get off bus walk to Crouse in pour rain I do another Crouse tomorrow and might be stand up on bus because work students. And school kids don't give you seat on Staffordshire's bus only London buses kids done that.
    V.shaw
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