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Author Topic: Bus discrimination case  (Read 42343 times)
grahame
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« on: September 25, 2013, 08:03:21 pm »

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-24214346#story_continues_1

Quote
A disabled man has won a legal ruling against a bus company over its wheelchair policy.

Doug Paulley from Wetherby, West Yorkshire, took First Bus Group to court after he was told he could not get on a bus because a pushchair user refused to give up the space.

A judge at Leeds County Court ruled the "first come first served" policy was unlawful discrimination in breach of the Equality Act 2010.

First said it was "disappointed".

Mr Paulley, 35, told BBC Look North: "Somebody with a pushchair in the wheelchair space refused to move when asked by the driver, because their baby was asleep in the pushchair and they didn't want to wake the baby up.

"So I was unable to get on the bus, I was told to get off the bus and wait for the next one."

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anthony215
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« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2013, 08:33:53 pm »

I have always believed the wheelchair takes priority and anyone bringing a pushchair on the bus is warned that they may be asked to fold it if someone in a wheelchair gets on (If I am at the wheel)

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LiskeardRich
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« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2013, 08:35:56 pm »

I have always believed the wheelchair takes priority and anyone bringing a pushchair on the bus is warned that they may be asked to fold it if someone in a wheelchair gets on (If I am at the wheel)



What if there is no space to store the pushchair?
Will you hold the baby whilst parent folds pushchair and puts it into the storage place?
What If the parent has one of these massive pushchairs that when folded take more space than when in upright position?
Doesn't sound as simple as you make out it to be.
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Network SouthEast
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« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2013, 08:49:16 pm »

When I was a kid my parents didn't have a car. My mum managed to somehow do her shopping whilst escorting me and my pushchair on the bus. She folded it up. Even modern buses have luggage pens - back in the 80s that was a feature missing from Transit (and other small) buses!

It's like when I've had large luggage to take with me. I just put it on my lap if it won't fit in the luggage rack. Better than taking up a seat. The problem is that people are either too stupid or selfish to think of the impact of their actions on others.

It's absolutely right that wheelchair users have priority over pushchairs and luggage.
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bignosemac
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« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2013, 01:24:03 am »

I can't quite understand why First Group were 'disappointed'.

Wheelchair users, quite rightly, have legislation on their side. Pushchair users don't. Not even those whose pushchair has a sleeping occupant.

The individual circumstances may be difficult, but that doesn't mean that company/local policy ("first come first served") can ignore the law. That law being the Equality Act 2010.

Had it been another wheelchair occupying the space then yes, Mr Paulley would have had to wait for the next service.

That said, you have to feel for the driver in these circumstances. If the only guidance they are given is to rely on the goodwill of passengers already occupying the wheelchair space then that puts those drivers in a difficult position when a passenger refuses to move. Personally, I wouldn't hesitate to either fold up the pushchair or disembark to make room.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2013, 01:40:43 am by bignosemac » Logged

anthony215
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« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2013, 01:23:44 pm »

The problem these days is that many mothers have these very large buggies which are a nightmare on buses especially if you have more than 1 onboard.

I have witnessed some mothers start having a argument when they tried to get their buggies on along with their shopping.

A I stated before I always ask anyone who brought a buggie down if they can fold them down as the space if for wheelchairs not buggies.

The problem is that there are a few mothers who then complain they are being discriminated against and have even had an argument with the person in a wheelchair who was trying to board the bus. If you throw them off the bus they are running to the press to complain putting on the waterworks.

First Cymru were pretty good giving us drivers training on dealing with wheelchairs and storing  them on the bus. The company even stated that we can tell passengers to fold buggies if it is a safety hazard especially if we have to evacuate the bus in an emergency, although I still see some buses with wheelchairs blocking the isles.
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Brucey
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« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2013, 02:41:36 pm »

Here's an interesting situation I experienced on a London bus a few months ago.  Bus is completely rammed full, no more room for any more passengers (able bodied or otherwise).  A wheelchair user wants to get on the bus at the next stop, so the driver asks some standing passengers to get off the bus and wait for the next one.  They obviously weren't very happy, especially those who were using Oyster PAYG and would have to pay again (they were not offered transfer tickets).  Was the driver right in doing this?

My personal view is that the driver was wrong, because there was no room for anyone on the bus.  Clearly there would have been no discrimination had the wheelchair been refused as non-wheelchair users were also being denied boarding.  The law doesn't give disabled people priority, just entitlement to equal (or better) treatment.

(Apologies for opening a can of worms here)
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ChrisB
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« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2013, 03:03:06 pm »

I think you're right. It'd be the same on trains....
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didcotdean
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« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2013, 03:21:15 pm »

The 'Big Red Book' which is the guidance manual for TfL bus drivers says this:
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^Wheelchair users are to be given access to the wheelchair space even if it is occupied by other passengers or buggies. Use the iBus automated announcement to make it clear that the wheelchair space is needed. If necessary, politely but firmly ask the buggy owners to move or fold their buggies to let the wheelchair user into the area as this is the only safe place for them to travel. Explain you will give them the time they need to do this and be patient and polite. Do not move off until they are re-positioned.
Sometimes it is possible for a wheelchair and an unfolded buggy to share the space. You should allow this provided the wheelchair user is in the correct position and the buggy does not block the gangway.^
Nothing about getting people to get off, but the bit I have put in bold could be interpreted as such I suppose on a packed bus.
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grahame
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« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2013, 05:25:36 pm »

The law doesn't give disabled people priority, just entitlement to equal (or better) treatment.

(Apologies for opening a can of worms here)

This thread is indeed likely to be a whole can of worms - but we've talked through cans of worms before.
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plymothian
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« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2013, 08:28:27 pm »

Does the Equalities Act 2010 overule the The Public Service Vehicles (Conduct of Drivers, Inspectors, Conductors and Passengers) (Amendment) Regulations 2002?

Quote
A wheelchair user must only be carried if there is a wheelchair
space available and the seating and standing capacity of the
vehicle will not be exceeded.

Because buses can often carry more seated and/or standing
passengers when the wheelchair space is unoccupied the
opportunity for a wheelchair user to travel may depend on other
passengers and how full the vehicle is at the time. If there is space
available and the seating and standing capacity will not be
exceeded when the wheelchair space is occupied then any
passengers in the wheelchair space should be asked to move.
This may not be practical if, for example, the vehicle is nearing its
capacity or passengers with baggage or a baby buggy are using
the space.

Obviously it now does as the judge has ruled so.

In addition I have looked at the Equalities Act 2010 and the access to public transport only pertains to the right to be able to board and travel on public transport safely, not to have priority.

I feel the judge has misinterpreted the act, the wheelchair user is entitled to equal treatment - throwing someone on board off is not getting equal treatment but preferential treatment; is the child in the pushchair not being discriminated against because it could not board if the wheelchair user was on first?
« Last Edit: September 26, 2013, 08:39:15 pm by plymothian » Logged

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grahame
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« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2013, 09:17:48 pm »

In order to understand the background of a story better, I find it helps to learn a little about what the people in the story say and do in the public domain.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/user/doug_paulley

http://www.kingqueen.org.uk/

https://twitter.com/kingqueen3065
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LiskeardRich
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« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2013, 10:49:31 pm »

Does the Equalities Act 2010 overule the The Public Service Vehicles (Conduct of Drivers, Inspectors, Conductors and Passengers) (Amendment) Regulations 2002?

.

Obviously it now does as the judge has ruled so.
 [/quote]

My limited understand is the later act overules the earlier act, so in this case the 2010 act overides the 2002 act.

My concern with the equality act is disabled people getting preferential treatment, surely that isn't equality?
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grahame
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« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2013, 06:23:28 am »

My concern with the equality act is disabled people getting preferential treatment, surely that isn't equality?

My understanding of the act is that it requires where it's practical for disabled people to get an equivalent or better service.  Although it may be known as the "equality act", exact equality would be hard to define - how on earth do you compare two services which are different because of the very nature of the people you are serving and define them as being equal?  So the law writers took the boundary line called "equal service" and said that everything was required to fall on one side and not the other, and that's much easier to evaluate ... if you can't evaluate it in a particular situation, then you can simply provide an even better service for the disabled person / persons and you'll eventually get to the point where there's no dispute and you have complied.

I have a handful of friends and good contacts, personal and business, who are unfortunate enough to have to use a wheelchair or crutches or are disabled in a legal sense in some other way.  And I'm happy - more than happy - to go that extra mile, or even that extra marathon, to ensure that they are excellently provided for;  that's not really because the law tells me I must (in fact I resent being dictated to by the law) but rather out of common politeness and being a social and sociable animal.  And that's just as I would go those extra steps for those who are less able, but haven't crossed the magic threshold of being classified "disabled".  A babe in a pushchair is no more capable of walking than a middle aged person in a pushchair, and there are so many people who are limited because of medical conditions and treatments.

Without exception, the friends and good contacts I mention are lovely people, as are my friends and good contacts in real life.  Alas, there's always a small minority of people that you or I would find difficult to get on with, would consider to be unfair / manipulative / taking advantage / biased, and that's irrespective of any (dis)ability or other personal situation that could be regarded as potentially discriminatable - there are lots of other "equality" laws too.  And where such a person takes a service provider to task, that service provider is put in a hugely difficult situation, as it's so easy for the person from the minority I have labelled 'nasty' to cry 'fowl' and - often with a great deal of time and resource on his / her hands - he / she can waste a lot of service provider resource, especially if the case is taken up by an organisation that's looking to help define the law for the maximum benefit of the disabled.  Regrettably to the extent that there develops an atmosphere of fear in service providers when called to look after someone who's potentially in an "equality"protected minority.

I have been careful not to refer to any specific public cases here - I have no personal knowledge beyond what's reported and what I have read online of any of the situations reported on the forum, and I'm in no position to express an individual view.   But I can tell you that I'm thinking of three specific sets of situations I have found myself in or close to in the past which make this post rather more than pure theory.  One was actually "disabled on disabled", one was a test made to see just how far [we] could be pushed into making special arrangements by someone who, it turned out, had no intention what so ever of using the services where I was working, and the third alleged discrimination due to having to do a different job to colleagues, when everyone had different job descriptions and had applied for and taken on various roles so that we had everything covered in the first place.  I have probably said too much ...
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2014, 06:53:42 pm »

An update on the case, from the BBC:

Quote
First Bus appeals against wheelchair court ruling

First Bus is appealing against a court ruling, won by a disabled man from West Yorkshire, that the firm's wheelchair policy is discriminatory.

Doug Paulley, 36, from Wetherby, was denied access to a First bus to Leeds when a woman with a pushchair refused to move. He won his claim the company had breached the Equality Act in a hearing at Leeds County Court in September.

First said its drivers needed to know "what they are legally required to do". The case is expected to last three days at the Court of Appeal.

Mr Paulley attempted to board the bus to visit his parents in Leeds in February 2012. But he was told to wait for another when the woman with the pushchair refused to move because her baby was asleep.

A judge at Leeds County Court said First's policy of "requesting but not requiring" non-disabled travellers, including those with babies and pushchairs, to vacate the space if it is needed by a wheelchair user was in breach of the Equality Act 2010. Mr Paulley was awarded ^5,500 damages.

At the Appeal Court in London, Martin Chamberlain QC for First Group said it was an example of a long-running problem on public transport that had "produced conflicting court decisions". He said bus operators were now seeking legal clarity.

Mr Paulley said: "Public transport should be for everybody, including parents with pushchairs, but ultimately it is a wheelchair space. Without that space, wheelchair users are unable to travel on the bus."
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