Wheelchair users in London will continue enjoying priority access to a dedicated space on their bus despite a Court of Appeal ruling.
Hearing a case brought against First Bus in Yorkshire, the court ruled that bus operators were under no obligation to remove buggy and pram users from such spaces.
A lower court had previously ruled that the firm’s policy of “requesting but not requiring” non-disabled travellers to vacate the space was discriminatory.
However the Court of Appeal today overturned that ruling.
In London wheelchair users enjoy priority use of the space, with bus drivers trained to ask other users to move or fold their pram if the space is needed by a disabled passenger.
Although the case wasn’t against a London bus operator, Mike Weston, Director of Buses at Transport for London, said the organisation would “now take time to consider the judgment.”
However Mr Weston stressed: “Our guidance to bus drivers clearly states that wheelchair users are to be given access to the dedicated space on our buses even if it is occupied by a buggy or other passengers.
“Drivers are advised to use the onboard automated announcement system to make it clear when the wheelchair space is needed and, if necessary, ask buggy owners to share the space, move or fold their buggies.”
In addition to dedicated wheelchair spaces, London’s entire fleet of 8,700 buses are fitted with ramps to ease boarding and exiting of the vehicle.
They’re also fitted with the iBus information system which provides audio and visual next stop information, making it easier for this with sight or hearing impairments to use public transport.