Wheelchairs on buses

Wheelchairs on buses is a bit of a hobbyhorse of mine. (Surly one space out of 50 odd is not too much to ask for?)so I watched with interest on the news that first buses are appealing an earlier decision that ruled wheelchairs should have priority in the space.

A young mum was questioned about how she felt giving up the space for a wheelchair “why should I?” The interviewer phrased it as “getting off the bus” but even the big posh buggies fold up don’t they? I have only once been denied on a bus by a mum who refused to fold up but once was enough. It will be interesting to see what the court of appeal decides


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i think the argument of the lady with the buggy centred around the child being asleep.

A difficult one. I can understand the argument of all 3 parties (the chair user, the buggy lady & the driver/bus company).

would I want a crying baby on the bus? What is the frequency of the buses? Was there space for buggy/ mother & child? What were weather conditions?

what is the answer? I don’t know, but bet solicitors are taking it in.


I think it is a tough one as well as can see both arguments that have been put forward above. Polar bear I think we would see no alternative in the situation you describe. I am a new to being a :wheelchair: user I can transfer and walk minimal with crutches, I wouldn’t be annoyed at having to wait for another bus if the pushchair/travel system wasn’t folded up if the little one was asleep, if it was screaming and the person showed no attempt to try and make it possible for all to be accommodated. I did get very annoyed on the London underground recently after boarding a train in the disabled section to find the space filled with suitcases. Now I was traveling off peak not an overloaded train either but the owners never offered to move them. I had to go quite a few stops and I caused lots of hazards for other passengers getting on and off the train. I kept finding myself apologising but if I could have put myself in the disabled spot I wouldn’t have caused any obstruction. I think common sense and politeness needs to be applied at all times and the problem is these days politeness doesn’t come naturally to some people this can apply to both buggy owners and wheelchair users. The thought of using my :wheelchair: on a bus I am avoiding as much as possible I hated them before my disability, but hope I come across a big enough bus for everyone.


my old avatar is nowhere to be found - I must seek out a new one.

I’m not a member of the disabled Mafia who think that everyone should automatically make way just because I’m in a wheelchair. I’ve had a baby in a buggy - I know how hard it is and I am sympathetic but mums with buggies have options that I just don’t. I can’t fold up and go to another part of the bus, half an hour in the cold waiting for the next bus can mean my outing will have to be abandoned and I can’t get a lift or a taxi (no wheelchair accessible taxis locally) I am always at the mercy of first come first served because there is another wheelchair user who gets on at the stop just before me, but I really think that wheelchairs should take priority over healthy mums who can wait, walk or fold.

Interested to know what others think about this



hiya jane

where i am theres not even an hourly bus, some runs are once weekly (i kid u not!)

i have not had a big issue but have had sighs and tuts. i think that ‘someone in my state’ should not been seen in public! however the good thing about this rural area is that i am known locally because i have made the effort to get out (its taken over a year) and most folk can see beyond themselves and appreciate i have no option to be in powerchair and so help me as i need. i cant have carer with me all the time and i am reliant on folk being human! i guess it will be totally different in well populated area?

ellie x

Hi, I was involved in a difficult situation last year, on holiday. I dont use buses at home, but do when away. I got on a bus to find the wheelchair space taken up by a mum with a toddler in a buggy, and an old lady with a shopping trolley.

The driver was really surly and didnt help as she shouted, Move that pram! The poor mum, with all her shopping did move, but the old lady stayed put! I could only get so far in and there was a bar which came down and held my chair in place. The bar couldnt come right down and the old lady knew she was stopping my wheels from getting in situ.

My carer ended up lifting the trolley onto my feet to get me in!

I was travelling facing all the other passengers and felt so embarrassed!

Didnt like the situation at all!



They call my local bus the “pensioner express” so many oldies use it to get to the shops. I have to say that shopping trolleys in the wheelchair space are a more common problem than prams. Most of the old ladies are lovely and jump up to move their walkers but some … As Ellie said - they look at me as though I should stay at home rather than cause them an inconvenience. I think you need to be tough and smile sweetly. But it’s so important to have supportive drivers. I don’t expect them to get into slanging matches on my behalf but I know that more than one of my regular drivers welcomed the court ruling because it gave them the confidence to be assertive with passengers - if we go back to first come first served I think I might find myself left at the stop more often.

with regard to other passengers moving I have found that you need to be really explicit because they totally underestimate how much room we need to manoeuvre and shuffle a couple of inches to one side. I’m quite bold now and say things like “could you wait down the aisle until I get in the space?”


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If there is already another wheelchair already on then it’s tough luck which is why I would never catch the last bus and I’m often ages early for appointments because I always have to aim for the bus before the one I really need just in case I can’t get on. It all adds to the frustration of using public transport in a chair but hey ho without the bus I’d be very isolated so I keep on doing it



hiya anon above

i am guessing you are not a w/chair user-and i hope u never will be! my apologies if i am wrong.

my last bus home is at 5.30pm-i have never used it for the possible reason you say but like jane i learned quickly that the world doesnt revolve around me and my chair! planning is the key-its stupidity not to! hence another reply of mine somewhere i often have plan e f g etc as well!

i have become even more organised and patient since using powerchair-i have had to be. i too ,like jane, have no access to wheelchair taxi nearest one is 30 miles away!

life is certainly a challenge!



A woman called LBC to argue that mums with buggies deserve to use wheelchair areas on buses more than disabled people. The presenter dealt with her very well:

Have a listen:

Stewart (admin)

Lots of supportive comments from listeners so there is hope

Just listened to the radio interview Stewart.

The mentality of some people, never ceases to amaze me.


Such a tricky one. You can imagine that bus companies are fervently hoping to keep the arrangement whereby their drivers encourage but don’t oblige people to give priority to wheelchair users. How on earth would it work otherwise? Stopped bus and the police called every time a tired and cross mum with a buggy stood her ground? The police need that like they need a hole in the head, as do bus drivers and other bus users.


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inferring that someone discriminated against the disabled because they are foreign is in fact racist. Racism, bigotry, discrimination all grow from the same seed. And on a disabled website, really?

The parent with the pram, the bus driver and the person with a disability (wheelchair) all should show tolerance and respect for one another and we will get there.


I’ve just listened to the recording of the woman who THINKS she has priority over wheelchairs on the bus,can she not read the sticker on the windows says PLEASE GIVE UP THIS AREA SHOULD A WHEELCHAIR USER REQUIRES IT.

I can see her point of view but she probably doesn’t know that on the disabled persons bag may be a change of clothes and maybe some pads or catheters to assist the persons toileting needs plus medication .

She really doesn’t have a clue whats shes talking about,yesterday i was collecting for the ms society after two n half hrs of sitting in a drafty railway station i want to get the bus home it was very cold and very windy the first bus that came was full with buggies in the disabled bays,the driver looked back at them shook his head at me and closed the Doors and drove off.

There was an elderly lady at the bus stop too and she had a walker on wheels she also couldn’t get on the bus we had to wait a while for the next bus and hope that the same thing didn’t happen again,lucky we got on the next one.

The debate rumbles on and even if the court rules that w/chairs have priority how is the driver going to police this and how much abuse is he /she going to get trying to follow any ruling i don’t know how this will turn out we can but wait and see.


there is good folk out there! i was already on board and a dad with buggy wanted to come on… i asked him to take my footrests of and put buggy in at my feet so we we all onboard! mickman-u r spot on-a little communication often solves it. when ‘its my right’ starts getting branded about then the probs start.

on slightly different note the supervisor of local bus company brought me bouquet 2 days ago. saying sorry for something u may assume? no-the opposite i had done something nice for them and that was their way of returning the pleasure

treat others the way u want treated-has huge benefits!


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I drive the London busses, there are stickers on the bus saying wheel chair priority area, with me, if I have two pushchairs and they are not willing to fold them then I have to apologise and say I can’t take the wheelchair, if I have one push chair then I’ll take the wheelchair, however once the wheel chairs on and the pushchair is off then I won’t take any more, although a few times I’ve had more than one wheel chair want on, that I can’t do

Here is an article that started the discussion on the ‘wheelchair space’

If the judgement goes in the favour of the wheelchair user. The only thing that is needed is the bus driver to inform a parent when entering the bus with a buggy/pram that you are free to use the space, but if a wheelchair user wishes to get on the bus, you will have to fold and store the pram or leave the bus and wait for the next one.

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Thought you might find this interesting:

Doug Paulley (the gentleman who started the debate) on the “Today” programme on the day that the appeal started in Paulley vs Firstbus, over the right for wheelchair users to use the wheelchair space when occupied by pushchair users.

Stewart (admin)

Hi again. Only just listened to the radio prog when the woman rang ranting about her belief that she has priority over a wheelchair user. She said a blind person can manage and ask for help, so why cant the wheelchair user get out of his chair, fold it and sit in a regular seat…eh? what? is this woman for real?

That is what the show presenter asked her…if she is for real?

She then went on about how much stuff a parent has to take with a baby…as if wheelchair users don`t need extra pads, a change of clothing, a container to empty a cath bag etc.

I dont think it is fair to make any comment about her accent…that has nowt at all to do with this subject.

I do believe the wheelchair user DOES take priority over a baby buggy!

There, I`ve said it!


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