As the high court has announced its decision that wheelchair users do not have priority use of reserved space on buses, many disabled commuters are left feeling betrayed and even more marginalised.
But it isn’t just buses that there’s trouble, it is also trains – the assumption that society can be trusted on its own to act sensibly is rather utopian. It just doesn’t happen. Which is why we are calling for the law to be changed to protect disabled parking bays!! At least with the trains you can book a space – even if the disabled area is located near the doors and the toilets (who the hell had that idea?).
Many disabled people are unable to drive so their only option is public transport, sadly people are selfish and full of self importance and care for their fellow man – even the most vulnerable in our society face harsh treatment from their fellow man. But it is the bus companies that are to blame here. They have failed to provide a space for wheelchair users AND buggies. Travel on a red London bus and this is exactly what you find (correct me please if I am wrong it has been a few years since I have ventured to our capital city). Everything costs money, I understand that. But to expect a mother and child(ren) to stand out in the cold and wet waiting for another bus, that could potentially be full is wrong. To expect a disabled person (whatever their disability) to do the same is just as wrong. One could even say this is morally wrong and that the bus company has a duty of care to its passengers, whoever they may be.
We no longer live in the 1950’s when people showed respect for their elders, would happily give up a seat for someone infirm, or for a pregnant mother. I also firmly believe better training for the drivers is necessary, but they should not be forced to become judge and jury. They are not paid enough for a start.
So what can be done?
Discussions with disabled people would be a great start, particularly at the design stage. Correct provisions on buses and trains should be enforced when applying for the licence to provide the service. I for one wouldn’t mind paying a little extra to ensure I could get on a bus like every other punter. For now though I have the luxury of my own vehicle.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter.
In case you missed the ruling click here to read the BBC’s article.