Forum

Buggies and buses

Which takes priority? I have worried about what happens if I try to get on the bus on my powerchair and there is a buggy in that space. I had read about people in wheelchairs being left on the pavement whilst buggies use the reserved space. Not long ago there was, there was no child in ia buggie parked there and my tolerance was rock bottom because my mother had died a few days prior. My daughter was with me but she had got on the bus at the front whilst I waited for the middle door ramp to drop. I shouted ’ can someone please remove that buggie’. The owner wa sitting at the seat next to the ramp and she can’t have failed to notice that I needed to get on and it was in the way. She moved it. Another day I was on the bus when a mum with buggie got on and she came down the aisle and asked me if it would be easier for me at the other side, to which I said no. There was no way I could possibly have been able to. The main problem I think is that they hardly ever (if ever) see anyone using an electric wheelchair on the bus and so they actually think that the space is there for them, not understanding that for them it’s a courtesy whilst it is a legal requirement of access for disability (ditto bays at supermarkets). And this week something amazing happened on my London bus. So there I am waiting at the middle door, to my horror there are two mums with buggies and I am thinking, that’s it then, I won’t be able to get on and I am exhausted and need to get home. The driver had seen me indicating I wanted to get on before he stopped. He didn’t open the front door but put out the ramp, got out of his cab and went to speak to the women who had to get off the bus! They did it with very good grace. But hey, that bus driver was a hero!! Susi

Hi,

I am currently a virgin powerchair bus user, all this will change next week! Going for a maiden voyage

First bus Leeds state-

“Wheelchairs do not have priority over buggies, but to ensure all our customers are treated fairly and with consideration, other customers are asked to move to another part of the bus to allow you to board.”

So if they can’t/will not move then I suppose you have to wait…not a problem for me as they are every 10 mins and less.

Can imagine there could be some difficult situations!

As a mum who’s just got out of the ‘buggy stage’, I would say always that you would have priority. I have always taken my children out of the buggy, folded it and then placed it in the luggage section. I’m pretty sure I was told that in the event I took a heavy duty buggy on a bus, I would be expected to move if someone more in need came on. Instead I kept a lightweight small buggy to hand for those occasions when I needed to use a bus.

hiya

i am in rural scotland. i have never seen a wheelchair/powerchair user use the service. when i was able to use walker one driver put the ramp down for me. however,i get my powerchair soon and am prepared to be their guinea pig! you soon get to local drivers here and them me. i find that the occassional cake keeps them happy! watch this space! there are signs saying that wheelchair users take priority over buggy’s…

ellie x

Hi Now there’s a coincidence. In my part of the world there has been a Court Case finalised today which found in favour of the bus company. The case was laid by a disability group against Arriva buses. The judge ruled that the bus company cannot be held responsible for anyone occupying a disability area on the bus and the drivers have no authority to ask them to move to give preference to a disabled individual. So in a nutshell…we are left to our own devices and the goodwill of others !! Xx

[quote=“MrsH”] Hi Now there’s a coincidence. In my part of the world there has been a Court Case finalised today which found in favour of the bus company. The case was laid by a disability group against Arriva buses. The judge ruled that the bus company cannot be held responsible for anyone occupying a disability area on the bus and the drivers have no authority to ask them to move to give preference to a disabled individual. So in a nutshell…we are left to our own devices and the goodwill of others !! Xx [/quote] I was aware that this case was undergo. Bloody disgraceful result! Anyone in this area should write to their MP and Ministervfor disability. We all have a duty to campaign to retain our rights. Susi

Hi Susi I kind of get both sides. Of course the disability group are right in that disabled individuals should be able to get access to public transport but, how on earth is this going to be enforced. As a friend of a bus driver, who already is subjected to daily abuse, why should he be in the position of asking people to move ? And why should the bus company be held liable ? They provide the transport but they don’t sell tickets for allocated seats in advance leaving disabled spaces free. It’s a difficult one. In an ideal world, people would have the grace and respect not to occupy designated seats but they do and without possible confrontation, I’m not sure how the transport company employees would get around it. Xx

People can give up the space as a courtesy but they are not required to do so. The driver should request that the person using this space moves, if they have a buggy to fold it and put it in the luggage compartment.

I really think it should be made compulsory to give up this area for a wheelchair, if you do not get on a bus you may have to wait 30 minutes or one hour for the next one. Able-bodied people have around 50 seats to choose from, we have one area.

I’ve just asked my friend…who it has to be said, does NOT work for the bus company involved…and it would seem that his company is one f the good guys !! He told me that they are told to ask the buggy user once, to fold the buggy up and move to another seat but that this is often met with effing and blinding especially in certain areas, so his company policy is to provide a taxi for the wheelchair user. The driver radios control and they call a taxi to the bus stop in question. They have an ongoing contract with a specific taxi firm. He says it works well and passengers often hope for the taxi as it takes them straight to their destination rather than going all around the world !!

Stupid thing was the judges ‘suggestion’ that the bus company should set up a hotline that disabled people have to ring if they want to use a bus. So disabled people cannot just turn up and use public transport, and what happens if a disabled person uses the hotline and ‘books’ a space, but a non-disabled person gets on the bus a couple of stops earlier and blocks the space with a pushchair or something - will the driver throw them off or, more likely. will the disabled person have to miss out.

Yep, it was a ridiculous situation…but as is often the case in law, the people making the judgements have no concept of how this would actually work in practice !! I’d like to see him try to ask someone to move and be met with the kind of verbal abuse that these drivers are met with for the slightest reason. Anybody murmurs in a courtroom and they’re removed by security or cell guards…sometimes forcibly. But they are paid to do this and know its in the job spec…bus drivers should not be expected to do this.

Gosh I wish First in Leeds would do this. The buses from my house are only every half hour and I often wait at the stop keeping my fingers crossed for the space to be free - I can see that I would hope for it to be full!!!

The downside of living up here is that most if not all of the bus companies and the Metro system have now banned motorised scooters from their systems due to numerous accidents…one in particular, that I remember made the news, was a lady who shot in one side of the Metro through the open doors and straight out the other side, through the closed doors and down onto the train line !! I think you can still use electric wheelchairs though.

hiya

well thats my pillow talk with a first driver sorted for tonight…

ellie x

[quote=“chocorange”]

hiya

i am in rural scotland. i have never seen a wheelchair/powerchair user use the service. when i was able to use walker one driver put the ramp down for me. however,i get my powerchair soon and am prepared to be their guinea pig! you soon get to local drivers here and them me. i find that the occassional cake keeps them happy! watch this space! there are signs saying that wheelchair users take priority over buggy’s…

ellie x

[/quote] I know there are signs but signs aren’t the problem, people are! As you get on middle part of the bus, drive in, turn round back to window and then straight off cake for the driver aren’t deliverable sadly. Tho I always buy something for the two lovely elderly guys in Shopmobility Brent x who bring out a scooter to the car and take it back from my car to their pad when I get back. My daughter reckons its because they don’t trust her with it, but I think it’s just cos they are lovely (thanks Sandy and Godrey!). Susi

susi

since writing my reply have done futher asking/nosing. its not law for chairs to take priority as others have said. we have to rely on ‘good will’.

the buses here dont have a middle entrance-only one oppositethe driver.

ellie

[quote=“chocorange”]

hiya

well thats my pillow talk with a first driver sorted for tonight…

ellie x

[/quote] Aa ahh !!! The romance of pillow talk !!

[quote=“MrsH”] The downside of living up here is that most if not all of the bus companies and the Metro system have now banned motorised scooters from their systems due to numerous accidents…one in particular, that I remember made the news, was a lady who shot in one side of the Metro through the open doors and straight out the other side, through the closed doors and down onto the train line !! I think you can still use electric wheelchairs though. [/quote] I have no idea how you get a scooter on and turn it around in a small circle on the bus, I have never tried but I think it’s beyond mine (and my scooters) capability! I remember there was a guy in London, I think in my area, complaining about being banned ( he was also on You and Yours R4). Reporters kept referring to his ‘wheelchair’ which it decidedly was not. Unless its a tiny one I don’t know how it would be possible. Susi

Because we have, what are loosely termed, bendy buses, shuttling backwards and forwards to a large shopping centre. You get on the middle door which has a huge hinge type thing where the bus would flex as it goes round corners. You then drive to the front of the bus where the disabled area is. So no turning required. Or at least there wasn’t before they were banned !!