I have read a lot of news articles regarding buses and disabled people over the last few months but the stories have been in the local media so I assumed any issues with bus services only occur in the Hertfordshire area. My thought was backed up by the fact that when I have used the bus, it has always been in London and I’ve encountered no problems. However, the link I keep mentioning (http://www.buzzfeed.com/louisebruton/things-youll-know-if-youre-a-wheelchair-user) spoke about ‘when a buggy is waiting at the bus stop, war is about to commence for that sacred space reserved for wheelchairs’ which made me chuckle before I realised it must be common.
As you will have probably guessed, the issue that has been in my local press lately and I’d like to bring to everyone’s attention involves mothers refusing to move buggies from the reserved area so that a wheelchair can board. This is the first article to help illustrate my point: http://www.hertsad.co.uk/news/st_albans_bus_driver_turns_away_disabled_girl_1_2309440
It’s not just shocking but utterly disgraceful. Both the Uno driver and the toddler’s mum should be ashamed of themselves. Not allowing a disabled person on because a pram is in the area. Make the mum close the buggy and the child get out, something a wheelchair user cannot do.
Shortly after the outrageous incident in St. Albans, I read of a similar occurrence in Watford: http://www.watfordobserver.co.uk/news/10614446.Disabled_man_refused_entry_on_buses_takes_legal_action/?action=complain&cid=11904194
This time, a disabled man was taking legal action against Arriva for the way various drivers have mistreated him. I think the driver should have made the mum move in the first example but driving past a wheelchair user because you know it takes longer for them to get on is completely out of order. That is almost as bad as nasty taxi drivers who refuse to pick up wheelchairs because they’re lazy! Who on earth do I mean?
Now you have read the stories, imagine ‘Wheelchair Boy’ in both scenarios. I have played through the first one in my head and this is what I’d do. When the driver says the bus isn’t going anywhere until the wheelchair gets off, I would stand (sit) my ground and refuse to move. Then, I’d begin chanting Arsenal songs loudly until the toddler wakes up so that there is no issue about a sleeping child anymore. Simples.
The second example has an easy solution too. If the bus deliberately stopped away from me so that it was unable to pick me up, I’d drive in front so the bus would have to call the police or other passengers would get frustrated by the delay and demand that the driver let me board. I’d just want to let the world, including bus drivers, know not to mess with ‘Wheelchair Boy’. They won’t get off lightly. I’ve said this before but I should begin using different routes to see if there are any rogue drivers who need confronting.
Bye for now!