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Government signals commitment to improving bus access for wheelchair users

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Government signals commitment to improving bus access for wheelchair users

 

Government accepts expert legal recommendations aimed at ensuring that wheelchair users can access bus services.

 

New measures to ensure that wheelchair users can safely access on-board wheelchair spaces on buses will be introduced by the government.

 

This follows a Supreme Court judgment last year concerning the ‘reasonable adjustments’ which bus operators should provide for passengers in wheelchairs, and will be aimed at challenging the barriers still faced by some people with disabilities when using bus services.

 

Today (8 March 2018) the Department for Transport announced that it will begin developing proposals to ensure that wheelchair users can access buses and that drivers can fulfil the duties given to them by the courts.

 

READ MORE HERE: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-signals-commitment-to-improving-bus-access-for-wheelchair-users


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This is good news. Whilst I've never personally experienced someone who doesn't need it refusing to give up a wheelchair space, I know that it does happen and quite often the bus driver, sometimes under pressure from other passengers to continue the journey as quickly as possible, is apparently unable to do anything about it.

 

My biggest issue is often actually getting on to the bus - the sinking feeling when you see someone else in a wheelchair already queuing and you know there's only one space on this hourly service and the often protracted manoeuvres to get into the space once on the bus, plus the sighs of other passengers at the time involved in the driver putting the ramp out and then putting it away again before he can carry on.

 

However the railways shouldn't feel complacent. Only last week I held the train up for more than 10 minutes whilst station staff attempted to get me on board, involving at least 30 people having to get off the vastly over-crowded service and a lot of luggage being temporarily relocated to the toilet just so I could reach the space, and even then the guard ended up physically lifting the back of my chair into place because there simply wasn't enough room to manoeuvre without removing more passengers and luggage. Of course there was one person who seemed to blame me personally for the inconvenience though most simply blamed 'Chris Failing' to quote the guard.

 

I think everyone in charge of public transport should be made to do at least one journey in a wheelchair just to experience how difficult it can be.


RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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I do find it strange in our "developed" country how difficult it is to use a wheelchair or mobility scooter on public transport. To use the train at Malaga Airport a ramp automatically comes out and you can drive a mobility scooter straight on or off. The majority of their buses are similar - don't forget the bus driver can see as he approaches if he needs to deploy the ramp and/or its kneeling function. Whilst a lot of the newer vehicles in this country are adapted a lot of the older ones are not. Catching a train here is fraught with difficulty even if you have asked for assistance as you don't always get it and are left to struggle on your own.


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I am extremely reluctant to use any train that is driver only because booked assistance so often fails to turn up.

 

When I had to use London Overground earlier this year, on a train with no guard and going to an unmanned station, I actually researched which was the next station that was manned and where I could (hopefully) get off and demand that they pay my taxi fare back to where I wanted to be. Luckily, it all went smoothly that time but I doubt I'll ever be confident in that situation and it is reflected in which journeys I am prepared to attempt.

 

As for the Underground - never!


RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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I am extremely reluctant to use any train that is driver only because booked assistance so often fails to turn up. Worst station - Manchester Piccadilly, best so far Newcastle Central/Edinburgh Waverley/Kings Cross

 

When I had to use London Overground earlier this year, on a train with no guard and going to an unmanned station, I actually researched which was the next station that was manned and where I could (hopefully) get off and demand that they pay my taxi fare back to where I wanted to be. Luckily, it all went smoothly that time but I doubt I'll ever be confident in that situation and it is reflected in which journeys I am prepared to attempt.

 

As for the Underground - never!

 

 

For London always used black cabs. Must point out it wasn't me that needed the help it was my other half.


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