The Supreme Court is anchored to govern on whether disabled passengers are rightfully allowed to have preference use of wheelchair areas on buses. The problem was precipitated by wheelchair user Doug Paulley who tried to embark a bus but was left at a stop because a lady with a sleeping child in a pushchair declined to move out of the selected region.
The bus, run by FirstGroup, had a symbol that stated: “Please give up this space if needed for a wheelchair user”, however, the female challenged the buggy would not collapse and declined to move when directed by the bus operator.
FirstGroup has a strategy of requesting but not requiring non-disabled patrons to leave the area if required by a wheelchair user. A judge at Leeds Crown Court decreed their policy broke the Equality Act to make reasonable adjustments and granted Mr. Paulley £5,000.
I am wondering if this could actually be made an Original Precedent, whereby the situation is unlike any other, and has never been in litigation, and could then be made into law. There should be specific laws and statutes when it comes to wheelchair users, while some people are in the opinion that just because you’re in a wheelchair you should have no individual freedoms.
It’s crazy the think that simply since one is in a wheelchair, he should not have any rights like somebody that is capable of walking. I admit that some people can be a little odd at times, however, they are not dumb enough to not understand that if one is in a wheelchair, or supporting themselves with a walking cane, that they do not require a space on the bus.
Intellectually, are people that ignorant, or do I have to really break it down for them? It’s not a jail sentence to have to stand on the bus or put your pram down for somebody less capable, as long as there is an extra empty place on the bus for the mother to sit down with her infant.
My mother is an amputee and lost her leg last year. She is a 79-year-old woman who feels the chill when she is out in her wheelchair with my son, who takes care of her. They utilize the bus service regularly since my son does not drive, therefore, bus transportation is a fundamental way of life for them both to get out and about.
Nobody comprehends what goes on in the world of another person, or how much they endure as a result of losing a limb, or being crippled and in a wheelchair for a long range of many things. People go about their daily life, not even appreciating what is going on with people in society, they simply believe that because it’s not befalling them, it’s not happening at all.
Granted, it’s a genuine burden to have to get your baby out of its buggy and close it down for somebody in a wheelchair. I understand the ambivalence, I was previously a parent to youthful kids in buggies, and in those days, there were no handicapped places on the bus, or areas where you could put your buggy, you had no option but to collapse the buggy and put it down.
We all exist in a society where we take so much for granted, God forbid we should have another war, nobody would have the foggiest what to do. These days, most kids don’t even know how to make a meal since it’s all so simple, you just pop it in the microwave, and hey presto it’s prepared for you – how difficult was that?
Well then, how difficult is it for somebody to get up from their seat, and donate it to somebody who is in a wheelchair, actually, not that troublesome at all. However, we have grown slothful over the years, and its simply such a burden to get up from one’s seat because there is somebody less able, and in your head, you’re telling yourself, it’s all right, they are sitting down, they can wait for the following bus.
However, the next bus comes along, and they can’t get on that either, and all the while they are freezing cold, and you’re on a nice toasty bus since you were too idle to put the pram down and assemble your baby on your legs.
Nevertheless, the decision was overthrown by the appeal court who declared the policy did not strike an equilibrium within the requirements of wheelchair users and other travelers who might be vulnerable.
It could further point to an escalation in disputes and delayed journeys.
Mr. Paulley brought the matter to the Supreme Court, who will make a judgment on Wednesday. We require and solicit a fair decision on what bus companies have to do to make it possible that wheelchair users will be able to travel.
We further must change in society so that people with pushchairs understand they have to move out of these spaces for wheelchairs so that situations become less of a crunch point and confrontational. FirstGroup stated there was no criminal distinction fronting Mr. Paulley.
He claimed travelers expected to move out of selected areas, or even removed, was not a reasonable adjustment under the Equality Act.
It is hoped the Supreme Court ruling will bring transparency for all bus users. Companies designated available places on buses following a supported campaign by disabled people. Now, they are often a lifeline into work and society.
Most people don’t understand just how hard it is for disabled people to get about, to get to the stores, or to visit friends, and it would be nice to see transport companies looking for ways to make it accessible for all of their patrons to use their services.
The court stated the company should examine additional measures to urge non-wheelchair users to move, without making it a statutory obligation to move them. It ordered that FirstGroup’s method of asking a driver to just ask a non-wheelchair user to leave the area without taking any additional measures was unjustified.
Nevertheless, the decision fell short of making it a statutory obligation for bus companies to force non-wheelchair travelers to move from the area. Embracing the decision, the company announced bus drivers would not have to remove customers from buses, which it stated was a key issue for them.
The firm announced it was pleased the Supreme Court decided it did not discriminate against Mr. Paulley. This is a significant milestone. There should be clarity, good practice and the powers of transport providers to ensure this decision becomes a reality.
The decision falls short of finding that those bus companies can eliminate non-wheelchair users from the bus, however, makes it plain they must do more than just demand they depart from the wheelchair area.
Where a driver decides a refusal to remove is extreme, he or she should examine some additional measures to coerce the non-wheelchair user to leave the area.
These might involve re-wording the solicitation as a requirement, or even a denial to drive on for numerous minutes with a view to coercing or shaming the resistant non-wheelchair user to move. This puts a lot of burden on the driver.
There are further important implications for all service providers with wheelchair areas or amenities, supermarket car parks, disabled toilets on trains etc. Businesses will have to make certain their policies go far enough to bypass substantial disadvantage to wheelchair users, and that workers are correctly equipped to implement them.
It’s been astonishing the volume of help Mr. Paulley has had from disabled people, companies, lawyers, family, allies. This is positively going to make a significant difference to disabled people’s travel. However, the problem would invariably require a matter of judgment from drivers.
There’s always got to be some judgment and there will always be some rare situations where somebody can’t be required to leave the area.
However, what this ruling indicates is the driver has to make their own judgment as to if the person is being biased in declining to leave, and if they are, he or she has to tell them that they are expected to move, and if needed, decline to drive the bus until they move.
Therefore, that appears quite clear. Nevertheless, Mr. Paulley’s lawyer told that the decision had fallen short. The decision should have gone further, as there’s no power as things currently stand to force somebody off a bus. Therefore, it goes as far as that, but not that far yet.
Mr. Paulley won an initial lawsuit on FirstGroup in 2013, after he claimed its method of requesting, not requiring able-bodied travelers to move was unlawful disability discrimination. Nevertheless, FirstGroup triumphantly appealed to the Court of Appeal in 2014, following which Mr. Paulley took his petition to the Supreme Court.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission, which helped Mr. Paulley at the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, described the latest ruling in the case as a victory for disabled people’s rights. The whole purpose of the argument was to attempt to get more transparency on how far bus drivers are meant to go in terms of asking people to move out of the area. It is not certain if this decision has given that transparency.
It requires some kind of transparency. Mr. Paulley has done an incredible task of drawing this problem to light and to the mainstream media’s consideration, but at the end of it, there’s no recognition.
It’s sort of back to square one.
Assuming the woman on the bus was fit, strong and well, this parent is thoroughly disagreeable, she should have packed the pushchair up and carried her child. Oh, the disabled can’t actually pack up their wheelchairs.
Readers, please don’t start moaning at me about the possible prejudice upon the mother, it’s pure etiquette, supporting those out who require more help than you. Furthermore, also those with children have the preference of seats and you’d believe if the bus was jammed, somebody would give up their chair so she could take a seat.
The debate that somebody was there first, so they shouldn’t have to pack up their pushchair decreases the reason of right that has effectively mashed up our culture.
It should also be noted that nothing in the decision puts any burden on travelers to abide by the demands or terms by bus drivers or disabled passengers to move or get off the bus. All it means is that bus drivers will have to make two endeavors at urging somebody to give up a spot rather than one endeavor.
The Supreme Court makes the case that bus companies cannot be expected to employ force by putting existing patrons off the bus if they decline to give way to a wheelchair. It further makes the case that the police will not be interested, as a non-compliant traveler is not performing any crime.
It is, of course, subject to bus companies to sell tickets on terms that ask you not to occupy the wheelchair bay when it is needed by a wheelchair user, much as their regular terms probably eliminate your freedom to travel on the outside of the bus, or in the engine bay, and it appears like they may well be asked to do so.
I live in the outskirts outside of London, and here in the outskirts people are really hesitant to move for a wheelchair user, and frequently the bus driver will not let my mother on the bus since there are no places, however, my son has stated that there have been places, but the person in the disabled bay does not want to leave, therefore, the bus driver just won’t let my mother on – now I would call that prejudice.
London is a huge place, and there are numerous people racing about here and there, not giving another thought to another person. I am also a wheelchair user, and I embarked on a bus in London with my son traveling to Enfield.
We got approximately 5 stops down the road, and some unfortunate girl on the bus who was coming home from school had a seizure on the bus. The paramedics were summoned for the young girl, and the bus driver asked if we wanted to board the bus behind, so we got off.
It was crowded since everyone was getting off the bus that we had been on, therefore we didn’t believe we would get on the bus behind us. As the doors cracked open, there was a woman on the bus with a baby in a buggy, so I said to my son, we would have to wait for the following one. The woman put her hand up and stated that it was not a problem, that she would get off the bus and wait for the following one.
My son was completely astonished, there are some genuine people out there that will give up their seat for somebody else in a wheelchair, it’s really a matter of being affable to your fellow bystander. If a mother with a pushchair could have gathered up a buggy and moved to make room for a wheelchair, then she should be compelled to do so. It’s simply good manners.
On the other hand, if the bus was so crowded that she could not have departed the area without getting off the bus, why should she, as a passenger who has paid for her fair, should she be forced to leave? She may have been on the way to catch a train or go to an urgent appointment too.
Lots of able-bodied people are denied admission on buses because they are full and may miss a train as a result. But then clearly the general practice should be to leave lots of time for your journey?