Judges Rule Against Priority For Wheelchair Users On Buses
09 Dec 2014
Senior judges ruled yesterday that bus companies are not required by law to force parents with buggies to make way for wheelchair users in designated wheelchair bays on buses. The ruling, which comes as a blow to disabled users that rely on public transport for getting around, reverses an early ruling by Leeds County Court.
The case was originally brought by Doug Palley, a wheelchair user, who was unable to board a bus as a mother refused to move her pushchair from a wheelchair bay, as her baby was sleeping. The court initially ruled that the bus company First`s policy of "requesting but not requiring" non-disabled users to make way for wheelchair users, was discriminatory and in violation of the 2010 Equality Act. However, First Bus appealed the decision, and the Court of Appeal reversed the original ruling, advising that the "proper remedy" was for wheelchair users to get parliament to change the law.
The case highlights a common problem that disabled users often face when attempting to use public transport, and may yet be appealed to the Supreme Court. A Leonard Cheshire Disability spokesman expressed disappointment, saying that the ruling "does not provide enough clarity and certainty for disabled bus passengers that the space they need will definitely be made available for them."