Forum

London buses

Anyone here who uses buses in London? Often a driver will refuse to let a wheelchair user onto a bus because there is a baby-buggy in the wheelchair space. If they refuse to let you on for this reason, they are acting incorrectly, because the Big Red Book, the manual issued to all London bus drivers, states:

“Wheelchair users are to be given access to the wheelchair space even if it is occupied by other passengers or buggies. Use the iBus automated announcement to make it clear that the wheelchair space is needed. If necessary, politely but firmly ask the buggy owners to move or fold their buggies to let the wheelchair user into the area as this is the only safe place for them to travel. Explain you will give them the time they need to do this and be patient and polite. Do not move off until they are re-positioned.”

You can find the Big Red Book online by googling “Tfl Big Red Book”, and the section I quote is on page 11 of the PDF file. I have printed off this page to wave at bus drivers in future, to alert them to their responsibilities if they refuse to let me board in my wheelchair when there’s a baby buggy in the wheelchair space.

I’d be very keen to hear of other wheelchair users’ experience with London buses.

Hi, I think this situation applies to buses in other locations too. I’m in Scotland and have seen the same situation discussed in local papers and local news programms. It’s a difficult situation because I don’t know if I would feel happy asking a buggy owner to move their buggy and I suspect a driver is probably always under pressure timewise to get moving. I can’t believe there can’t be a better solution. Btw I don’t use buses, and the only time I have used buses in recent years was when on holiday in London. I was in my wheelchair and there were no buggies, I was pleased with the journey I took. Cheryl:-)

I am a regular bus user (in Yorkshire) and come across this problem from time to time. The bus driver has always dealt with it when there have been buggies in the wheelchair place. Once I was left behind because the mother refused to fold up her buggy. It happened again last week and the driver said “you’ve got 2 choices – fold up or get off” Of course the mum chose the fold up option and spent the whole journey giving me daggers!

On the other hand I’ve had mums get off and walk the remainder of their journey just to let me on. You have to have to be thick skinned to travel in a wheelchair. On the whole I find people helpful and friendly and I try to ignore the ones who tut and mutter. I’m not a disabled Mafioso but its just one space on a bus for goodness sake and I’m determined to use it.

Jane

Quite right too, Jane! I’m appalled at some people’s attitude towards you. Do they really think you are in a wheelchair to deliberately take up the extra space and upset their petty little world?! It’s quite sad really that there’s such a lack of respect and patience from some members of society today. I’m not sure why I’m surprised really as it happens in all walks of life and in all situations; those who think they are so important they can rush from A to B with complete disregard for everyone else.

On the plus side, I went to Banham Zoo on Saturday with the MS Society - East Anglia Region and had a fantastic day. The zoo was open to the general public but there were approx 500 of us connected with the MSS and quite a large contingency in wheelies/scooters. I saw nothing but consideration and respect for them all and hopefully seeing so many enjoying a day out with their families will help to remind the able bodied that they are just the same as anyone else in most ways. It was a really enjoyable day for children from 0 to 90 lol!! Best of all I saw the tigress with her cubs, such beautiful animals and well worth the long wait until the babes appeared :slight_smile:

Tracey xx