I am afraid that no matter what rules and regulations are brought in it will be down to public attitudes and the employees of the public transport operators.
Only today I was waiting for a bus and when it came there were 3 young ladies all with pushchairs, behind them there was an oldish gentleman in an electric wheelchair with his wife and about 3 or 4 other passengers including myself.
The 3 young ladies boarded the bus and proceeded to use all of the wheelchair space. The other 3 passengers also boarded, while I waited for the gentleman in his wheelchair to board, however, the bus driver advised him there was no room. I objected and stated that the wheelchair space should be vacated to allow for the gentleman in his wheelchair to board. the driver was not willing to ask the young ladies to vacate the space and I went and mentioned to the driver that there have been court cases around this which came in favour of the person in the wheelchair. The driver asked me what do you want me to do, ask people to get off the bus, which I said if needs be, yes.
The ladies then vacated most of the space and the gentleman boarded with the drivers assistance into the wheelchair space and his wife went to a seat near by. I would mention that even though the bus was a single deck bus the bus was not even a quarter full, far from it.
I would mention that the gentleman and his wife were of ethnic origin and before I, myself became seated an oldish white lady said ‘I do not know what all the fuss is about for there will be another bus within 5 minutes, this is a very regular bus route. Why, when there was plenty of room on the bus for the young ladies to vacate the wheelchair space, why should the gentleman have to wait any length of time, as there was a guaranteed space for him on the bus. Even if there was limited space the young ladies could have taken their children from the pushchairs and folded the pushchairs to make more space, for this is how it was done, before the wheelchair spaces were created to allow for more equality within public transport. There is still a long way to go for true equality to be achieved.
It is the attitude of the oldish white lady who I was more aggrieved about, as this was a matter of respect, principle and general good manners, for if there had not been campaigns over the years for wheelchair spaces to be provided this space would not have been there and it should be used for the purpose for which it was intended.
Again, discriminations against persons with disabilities, by those who do not appear to respect people with disabilities.
The vacation of these spaces needs to be made legal and while we are at it make provision for more than one space. What would occur if both the gentleman and his wife were both in wheelchairs would one have to go ahead of the other on different buses., again insufficient use of space on transport for persons with disabilities.
Disabled persons do not ask to be disabled, it is not their choice and therefore reasonable adjustments have to be made wherever required and we should all take this on board.
When I left the bus I wished the gentleman and his wife a safe journey and I could see from their facial expressions and good manner that they welcomed my actions.
This is the first time I have done this, as it is the first time I have needed to, but I always said, should the occasion occur then I would act accordingly, for it shows respect to my fellow citizens.
I do hope the gentleman and his wife have had a good day.
When we were all on the bus
Today the Government has published its new Inclusive Transport Strategy, outlining how they intend to make the transport network more accessible for disabled people. This includes over £300 million of funding to deliver the projects they’ve announced.
A positive commitment
The current transport system is set up in a way which deters – or even prevents – many disabled people from using it. The Inclusive Transport Strategy is a strong step in the right direction, dismantling some of the barriers disabled people face. This is not just about adjusting existing infrastructure to make it physically accessible, but tries to put the needs of all disabled passengers at the heart of designing our transport system.
Access for All
Our recent research found 40 per cent of disabled people have difficulty accessing train stations. The biggest announcement in the Strategy is that the Government is reviving the Access for All program, to…
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