New from the ‘about bloody time’ pile: Transport for London has issued new guidance to bus drivers about accepting wheelchair and mobility scooters.
The last few months has seen a spate of stories about disabled people having difficulty travelling by London bus, probably triggered by the imminent Paralympics. There’s Ray Bellisario, told 28 times he could not board buses, sworn at and assaulted. Muscular dystrophy sufferer Ollie Knocker says he is late for work twice a week because drivers won’t let him on board with his mobility scooter. Johnathan Byrne had to pay £73 for new train tickets after a driver prioritised an empty pram over him, and meant he missed the connection home.
TfL have reminded their drivers that the wheelchair space on buses is for wheelchairs, not buggies (which should be folded if a wheelchair user needs to board) or people standing or luggage. They’ve also issued an illustrated guide to permitted chairs and scooters, which complements a mobility card issued to disabled people earlier in the year.
The able bodied should also take some responsibility: if we see a driver being an arse, we should speak up instead of grumbling about being made late. Bus use is important for wheelchair users, as this recent map highlighting the lack of tube accessibility demonstrates.