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Interesting - Bus Company on wheelchair/Pram spaces..

(1000 Posts)
Bathsheba Tue 01-Jan-13 15:39:53

Yes -that old chestnut.

The Chair of the NCT has posted a letter on her facebook page (and has asked for it to be shared so I doubt any problems with doing this) from a bus company's solicitor - the bus company are being accused of being disabalist in not insisting that parents fold down prams/Get off etc. I've posted the info from the bus company below and will happily post a link to this thread on the facebook page as they have been asked to garner as many opinions as possible.

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I write further to our recent telephone conversation. As I explained, we are solicitors acting for Arriva North East Limited, which runs bus services in the North East. Arriva is currently involved in a court case brought by a number of disabled passengers. They are alleging that Arriva has discriminated against them because of its policy on use of the wheelchair space by parents with buggies. The court case is very important as it is likely to decide how wheelchair spaces in buses and trains across the UK can be used in future. Arriva’s policy is that drivers will ask parents with buggies to fold them down if a wheelchair user wishes to board the bus, but if parents cannot fold down the buggy or refuse to do so, they will not be forced to. Arriva believes that its policy is in line with the government guidelines and aims to minimise conflicts between passengers by striking a balance between the competing rights of parents with young children and disabled people to use the wheelchair space. The people bringing the claim have proposed various changes to this policy, to ensure that wheelchair users have absolute priority over the space – the proposed changes are listed below. Arriva is obviously concerned about the impact of these proposed changes on parents of young children and their ability to use public transport. Arriva has been given until 28 January 2013 to gather evidence on the potential impacts of these changes. We would be very interested in hearing your members’ views and experiences on the practical impact of the proposed changes on parents of young children. I would be very grateful if your members could respond directly to me with their views by 18 January 2013.

Proposed changes:-

1. Prohibit prams on board
2. Get drivers to ask passengers to fold down their buggies before they board the bus.
3. Get drivers to warn passengers each time they board the bus that they will have to fold their buggies and/or vacate the bus if a wheelchair user wishes to board.
4. Offer passengers with buggies onwards tickets if a wheelchair user wishes to board and buggy cannot be folded down.
5. Refuse access to buggies, prams and pushchairs which cannot be folded.
6. Refuse to continue the bus journey until the passenger with the buggy moves from the wheelchair space.
7. Insist the passenger with the buggy leaves the bus if a wheelchair user wishes to board and buggy cannot be folded down.

Kind regards,
Adam
Adam Hedley
Solicitor
(contact details follow but I thought best to remove them - Bathsheba)

threesocksmorgan Tue 01-Jan-13 16:54:23

oh here we go again

mymatemax Tue 01-Jan-13 16:57:48

It is a sad state of affairs indeed Mselletow. I find it so worrying.

lottiegarbanzo Tue 01-Jan-13 16:58:45

I knew I'd want to use buses with dd, so chose a pushchair I can fold with one hand, that is also suitable from birth, the Baby Jogger City Mini.

No-one can expect a particularly large, awkward pushchair to fit and be accommodated everywhere. Doesn't everyone think about their requirements before they buy?

lottiegarbanzo Tue 01-Jan-13 17:02:15

I'd say 3, 4 and 6 (by extension 7) are very reasonable and what should be happening already. Refusing to let pushchairs on ought to be unnecessary if people are at all reasonable.

H and the Norwich bus company need a rocket up their arse.

Combatitive? Moi?

mymatemax Tue 01-Jan-13 17:06:46

in the 70's when everyone had silvercross prams and shopping bags on wheels, we all crammed on the bus.
Everyone just sort of shoved up a bit & made more room. & then shuffled about again when someone needed to get off.

No policy, no legislation needed everyone sort of helped each other out, lifting prams on & off & wheelchairs.

I worry for my son (who has physical & learning disabilities), if he is ever going to go out indipendently he is going to rely on people looking out for him.
I think there needs to be a bit more kindness shown to each other before everyones needs can be met.

All the policy & legisaltion in the world will not improve things if the intent to do the right thing is not there

ZedZed Tue 01-Jan-13 17:07:56

I think that there are some small things that bus drivers could do to help buggy users on public transport and make it easier for them to fold that they just don't do. As well as all the major 'proposed changes', maybe they could just ask their drivers to be a bit more helpful and a bit less impatient.

It's tiny things, but I've asked if I can buy a ticket before folding the buggy before so I have both hands to get the ticket bought and my purse put away and been told that they want me to fold first (perhaps to prove that I am actually going to do it).

I've asked if the bus driver could shut the front door of the bus before I got DD out of the pushchair and folded it just to stop her bolting out of the door and just been ignored.

I've had bus drivers pull off immediately when I have DD in one hand and the pushchair in the other and I've nearly fallen over.

I'm more than happy to fold the pushchair (and I've done it often enough that DD was going and choosing a seat for herself before 18 months while I was buying a ticket and would often fold at the bus stop to save time because it was possible by then), but I don't want to be made to feel like I'm ruining the driver's day and making all the other passengers run late because I'm daring to fold a pushchair instead of just waiting for the next bus.

Full sympathy for wheelchair users, but I think a blanket ban on buggies would be a little unfair - I would prefer a policy of 'don't be a dick' covering bus drivers, parents with buggies and other passengers. This was First in Norwich as well by the way - apparently they're even less wheelchair friendly than they are parent friendly hmm

threesocksmorgan Tue 01-Jan-13 17:08:27

I think all disabled people should have a card. so then small people in sn buggies would be allowed in the wheelchair space.
when dd was little she had a pushchair from the wheelchair service, it was brilliant, so supportive, but folding it was a nightmare and even then it was really big. so I would not have been able to fold it and she bing disabled could not even sit on her own.
wheelchair spaces should always be for wheelchairs/sn buggies.

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 01-Jan-13 17:08:51

Onward tickets sounds like a good idea.

Someone getting off the bus to let anybody else who was more in need of that particular bus use it shouldn't have to pay twice.

Also it should be a condition of using the bus that unless you are disabled yourself your buggy should be folded if the space is needed, if required the driver should assist.

And specialist Buggys should come under the classification of a wheelchair, I was pissed off the other day watching a passenger verbally abuse a mother and her daughter ( using a disability adapted buggy) for being in the space he wished to use ( he had foot in one of those plastic things they use for broken feet and there were adequate other available seating for him) it angered me enough that I interrupted and highlighted that it was a disability adapted buggy and that he was being very rude and should know better.

RyleDup Tue 01-Jan-13 17:11:39

People should be told to fold their buggies or get off if a wheelchair user needs the space. If its a child with a disability using a buggy instead of a wheelchair, they should have an equal right to the space. And if its a parent with a disability who needs a pram or a buggy that doesn't fold, then they should be issued a card, similar to a blue badge, to allow them the use of the space as well.

threesocksmorgan Tue 01-Jan-13 17:13:22

you do know there is only one wheelchair space.
aimo a sn buggy can fit in a buggy space. there are more of them, but they should not be asked to fold. it should only be the normal (for want of word) that should have ot be folded.

devilishmangerdanger Tue 01-Jan-13 17:14:15

you can use the blue badge on the bus

MrsDeVere Tue 01-Jan-13 17:15:18

Oh FFS.
Hands up anyone with DCs over 15....

We managed. You HAD to fold your buggy to get it on the bus. Yes it was a bit of a pain but it was one of those pitas that you expected when you had small children. You knew it wouldn't last long and you dealt with it.

I have some sympathy for parents who have only ever been used to the current system. It must feel like they are being pushed aside a bit.
But buses cannot accommodate every buggy user anyway. You can only get a couple on each bus.
Get an umbrella fold buggy for when you need to use the bus.
Use your pram for when you can walk.
Get a buggy board for the toddler

I am talking from an urban point of view though. I have no experience of what its like in rural areas where there are no pavements and only one bus an hour.

But in London its different. I used to walk everywhere, specially when I had the two under 2. Getting a double on a bus was impossible. But I was fit and able so I walked.

Pagwatch Tue 01-Jan-13 17:16:14

These threads are so sad. That people have to be told how to treat others with simple consideration is shocking indeed.

Pagwatch Tue 01-Jan-13 17:17:41

Yy MrsDevere.
I ad a sling and a buggy I could flip with one hand.
I ad to commute into the city with 6 month old ds.
I had to figure out how to do it.

<<puts hand up>>
I took it for granted that I folded the buggy as I saw the bus coming. If there was anyone else at the stop, they helped.

mymatemax Tue 01-Jan-13 17:18:31

Yep Pag, my thoughts entirly. I really do worry for ds2's future if this is indicative of society

smokinaces Tue 01-Jan-13 17:18:51

I really don't understand why people wouldn't fold their pushchairs. Ds1 was 3 weeks old or even less when I was using buses post c section. He was in a graco trenton thing. Huge. But one handed fold. Which I did with no complaint when a wheelchair user tried to board. Its sad not everyone is courteous in this day and age.

Bathsheba Tue 01-Jan-13 17:19:30

(Sorry just to clarify - yes, the National Childbirth Trust in this case - they were approached in order to garner opinions from parents who would be affected by this)

devilishmangerdanger Tue 01-Jan-13 17:20:13

I even managed to take my heavy DS out of his heavy SN buggy, lie him in the aisle (he couldn't sit) while I took off all the parts needed to fold the buggy. Then carry his quite heavy bag with all his equipment in as well as usual necessary stuff. Going back for DS and his oxygen tank which was attached to DS, whilst getting a seat. Bloody faff, took a while, lots of huffs and puffs tuts and comments about holding people up. All because buggy parade wouldn't fold and we were already late for DS's daily heart check.

If I could do it, why can't you.

mymatemax Tue 01-Jan-13 17:24:26

devil, yep I've had a very floppy (no muscle tone) 16mth old unable to support his own head under my arm while ive inlisted the help of 4yr old ds1 to fold the pushchair & cram on to a tube.
When needs must & all that!

Folding your buggy was just what you had to do if you wanted to get on the bus with your baby/toddler. Even saw a driver hold a baby for a mother once while she sorted out her shopping.

We're kind of spoilt, in a perverse sort of way, now buses are more accessible.

I think the proposed regulation is essential, sadly.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Tue 01-Jan-13 17:27:21

Obviously wheelchairs should have priority over buggies.

The issue is now do you enforce it. What do you do if the driver asks a buggy/pram to shift for a wheelchair and they don't - there are some very nasty abusive people out there and I don't think it should be the drivers responsibility to remove some from the bus by verbal/physical means.

I think passive aggressive is the way to go. Buggy user given onward ticket and bus doesn't move until wheelchair can board.

But then that puts the wheelchair users in a potentially awkward/vulnerable situation.

It's a really tricky one, especially as the sort of person who doesn't move straight away is unlikely to take kindly to being removed.

I guess it might take a couple of years of battling then it will become second nature.

threesocksmorgan Tue 01-Jan-13 17:30:06

that is the problem. the person in the wheelchair can't board until "allowed"
sadly I think the only way to stop it is all buggys having to be folded.
but that won't happen

There used to be the physical barrier preventing you from getting on with a pram. If these rules are enforced across the board (and I agree with ItsAll that this could take some time), then that physical barrier will be replaced with an invisible one. Where it just becomes 'One of those things' that you just can't get on the bus without folding your pram/buggy.

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