Archives for category: Transport

A coach company is ignoring access laws by refusing to allow wheelchair-users to travel on its services on the same day they buy tickets, while exposing its drivers to possible criminal charges.

Transport laws state that any company that has already introduced accessible coaches – even though this is not obligatory until 2020 – must ensure that those vehicles provide a space for wheelchair-users to travel in their wheelchairs.

Although the coach company National Express does have such spaces on nearly all its vehicles, they are usually covered by temporary seats, and it demands at least 24 hours’ notice to remove them and so clear the space if a wheelchair-user wishes to travel in their wheelchair.

But accessible transport campaigner Doug Paulley has demonstrated that National Express is breaching the law by failing to ensure those spaces can be accessed easily and refusing to allow wheelchair-users to “turn up and go” on its services.

He is due to discuss the issue with the managing director of National Express, Chris Hardy.

Paulley’s concerns about the way the company dealt with wheelchair-users who wish to travel spontaneously were first confirmed last August.

He bought a ticket from Bradford to Leeds on a coach that was leaving within half an hour, but when he reached the coach he was told he should have given 24 hours’ notice and would not be allowed to board as it would take too long to remove the temporary seating.

Any coaches that have been adapted to be compliant with Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations – as National Express’s have – must provide a wheelchair space and make that space available to wheelchair-users.

Separate laws state that a coach driver is committing a criminal offence* if he or she does not allow a wheelchair-user to access that space, if it is not occupied by another disabled passenger and the coach is not full.

Such spaces are legally defined as unoccupied even if they are covered by temporary seating.

After realising in February that the coach driver could have been committing a criminal offence, Paulley contacted West Yorkshire Police, which initially refused to treat the incident as a crime.


Source: Coach company’s wheelchair policy puts drivers at risk of criminal record | DisabledGo News and Blog


Ministers have said they aim to improve bus access for wheelchair users, following a Supreme Court ruling.

Clearer signs saying wheelchair users have priority, and powers for drivers to remove people who refuse to move from a wheelchair space are among the measures considered.

It may also involve an awareness campaign for “bus-friendly” – easily folding – pushchairs.

The review followed wheelchair user Doug Paulley’s court case.

Mr Paulley, from Wetherby, West Yorkshire, took legal action after he was left at a stop because a woman with a sleeping baby in a pushchair refused to move out of the designated area when asked by the driver of a FirstGroup bus to Leeds in February 2012. She said the buggy would not fold.

Transport Minister Nusrat Ghani said: “Passengers with disabilities must have the same opportunities to travel as other members of society, and it is essential that the services they rely on are accessible and work for them.

“Where people live, shop, go out or park their car should not be determined by their disability.

“Accessible transport networks are vital if we are to support those with disabilities to live independent lives and fulfil their potential.”

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled it was not enough for drivers to “simply request” a non-wheelchair user vacate the space without taking any further steps, and they must consider whether it was reasonable to “pressurise” reluctant passengers to move.


Source: Bus access to be improved for wheelchair users, ministers say | DisabledGo News and Blog

Bus drivers will be given the power to remove passengers who refuse to vacate wheelchair spaces to allow people with a disability to get on, under Government proposals. Legislation should be amended to enable bus drivers to remove passengers who “unreasonably refuse to remove when requested from the wheelchair space”, ministers wrote in a statement to Parliament. Improved signage should also be introduced to “better reflect the behaviours expected from drivers and passengers with respect to use of the wheelchair space”, they suggested. “Our view is that drivers need to play an active role in ensuring that the wheelchair space is made available for passengers in wheelchairs, which includes requiring other passengers to move where necessary, but that drivers also need more powers than they have currently to enable them to do this effectively,” the task and finish group on the use of wheelchair spaces on buses said.

Source: Bus drivers to get powers to move pram users from wheelchair spaces : i

In 1890, no one foresaw the rise of the internal combustion engine: horses were the fastest means of transport, and a status symbol. Today, society stands at a similar tipping point. No one can really predict how transport will be used in the coming century, or if people will even need to travel as much as they do today. But some of the most commonly used modes of public transport may be closer to extinction than previously thought.

Buses have been a reliable feature of urban and rural landscapes for more than 200 years. They have helped to define communities; think of London’s red double-decker bus, or the iconic Greyhound bus across the US. And buses have traditionally been a great social leveller: ethnic minority groups fought hard for the right to share the same seats and stops and the poor enjoy the same regulated prices as the middle class.

Yet the end of the bus has already been signalled. In the UK, there has been a reported decline in bus and train usage over recent decades – and it’s not related to the nation’s sluggish economy. Today, only 5% of journeys are made by bus, with 10% by rail, 1% by air, 1% by bicycle and 83% by car or taxi.


Source: Buses could be history sooner than you think – here’s why : The Conversation

It’s a little after 3pm in Detroit’s 8 Mile neighbourhood, and the cicadas are buzzing loudly in the trees. Children weave down the pavements on bicycles, while a pickup basketball game gets under way in a nearby park. The sky is a deep blue with only a hint of an approaching thunderstorm – in other words, a muggy, typical summer Sunday in Michigan’s largest city.

“8 Mile”, as the locals call it, is far from the much-touted economic “renaissance” taking place in Detroit’s centre. Tax delinquency and debt are still major issues, as they are in most places in the city. Crime and blight exist side by side with carefully trimmed hedgerows and mowed lawns, a patchwork that changes from block to block. In many ways it resembles every other blighted neighbourhood in the city – but with one significant difference. Hidden behind the oak-lined streets is an insidious piece of history that most Detroiters, let alone Americans, don’t even know exists: a half mile-long, 5ft tall concrete barrier that locals simply call “the wall”.

“Growing up, we didn’t know what that wall was for,” says Teresa Moon, president of the 8 Mile Community Organization. “It used to be a rite of passage to walk on top of the wall, like a balancing beam. You know, just kids having fun, that kind of thing. It was only later when I found out what it was for, and when I realised the audacity that they had to build it.”


Source: Roads to nowhere: how infrastructure built on American inequality : The Guardian

A mum who opted to have her cancer-riddled arm amputated so she could see her children grow up was left stunned after finding out she doesn’t qualify for a disability grant.

Carol Haslam, from Co Meath in Ireland, has called for a rules shake-up after learning she is ineligible for a grant to adapt her car, the Irish Mirror reports.

The 38-year-old said that the Primary Medical Certificate is only granted to people who have lost one or both legs or two arms – but doesn’t apply for those who have only had one arm amputated.

Carol, who has worn a prosthetic arm since last August, has used her own funds to buy a new car and a further €2,000 to adapt the steering wheel.

Obtaining the Primary Medical Certificate would have saved her the VAT and VRT on a new car or the VAT on the adapting an Irish-sourced vehicle.

Carol was due to get part of her hand amputated after developing a rare form of sarcoma last year – a cancer so rare that she has more of a chance of winning the lottery.

However she chose to get most of her lower arm amputated to decrease the chance of the aggressive cancer returning and see her two children grow up.

But the strong willed mum was left aghast when she learned of the grant constraints while having to change her car.


Source: Cancer battle mum who had arm amputated to fight disease told she can’t have disability benefit | DisabledGo News and Blog

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has promised that no disabled people will have their benefits reduced because of its decision to review 1.6 million personal independence payment (PIP) claims.

The review follows last month’s decision by the new work and pensions secretary, Esther McVey, that she would not appeal a court ruling that found new rules introduced last year by DWP were unlawful, “blatantly discriminatory” and breached the UN disability convention.

The rules, which were rushed into law by the government last March, had meant that people who were unable to plan or undertake a journey due to overwhelming psychological distress would receive fewer qualifying points when assessed for PIP, with many receiving a lower level of financial support as a result, or even no PIP at all.

The new rules were only introduced because an upper tribunal ruling had found that DWP was wrong to say that such PIP claimants should not be entitled to those points.

Sarah Newton, the minister for disabled people, announced this week that, following McVey’s decision not to appeal the court ruling, DWP would review every one of the 1.6 million PIP claims that have been made since the benefit was introduced in 2013 to see how many had been wrongly assessed and were now entitled to backdated PIP payments.


Source: DWP promises no-one will lose out in huge review of 1.6 million PIP cases | DisabledGo News and Blog

Confusion over new rules for disabled taxi passenger fares has led to “discriminatory” price differences, a charity claims.

A test in Nottingham saw a wheelchair user quoted up to five times more than an able-bodied caller.

Muscular Dystrophy UK said the practice was unacceptable.

For an existing ban on charging more to come into force councils must compile a formal list of accessible taxis but many have not done this.

Nirav Shah, who was born with muscular dystrophy, rang four companies in Nottingham and was quoted higher prices by every one.

In one case, a journey from his home to the local hospital, a distance of 2.5 miles (4km), an able-bodied caller was quoted £3-4 while Mr Shah was quoted £15.

Mr Shah said he was “disheartened and disappointed”.


Source: Disabled taxi price premium condemned by charity | DisabledGo News and Blog

It is 70 years since the era of public rail ownership began in Great Britain. The British Transport Commission formally took control of the operation and planning of the whole network, having been brought into existence by Clement Attlee’s Labour government under the Transport Act 1947 (the name British Rail didn’t appear until 1965).

At the time, the network was in dire need of investment. The Railways Act 1921 had consolidated over 100 operators into “the big four” – Great Western; London, Midland & Scottish; London & North Eastern; and Southern Railways. They had been financially squeezed by rules that forced them to carry freight at rates that were often unprofitable, and competition from an emerging road sector that had been prioritised for public investment.

The rail network had then been worn to the bone in supporting the war effort and considerably damaged by German Luftwaffe bombing. Rail safety had become a serious concern: two major accidents in the southand north of England within two days in October 1947, resulted in 60 fatalities, and contributed to that year being the second deadliest in British railway history.


Source: Britain’s railways were nationalised 70 years ago – let’s not do it again : The Conversation

A disabled man refused an Uber ride home from a Cardiff party on New Year’s Eve has said he is convinced it was because of his cerebral palsy.

Ted Shiress, who walks with a frame, said the taxi driver drove off after being asked to move closer so he could get in the car.

The 30-year-old said his friend was then charged a £4 cancellation fee for not using the ride.

Mr Shiress said he was “used to things like this happening”, adding “you get a bit jaded after a while”.

Uber has since apologised to Mr Shiress on Twitter.


Source: Disabled Comedian Ted Shiress Refused Uber In Cardiff On NYE

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