Local bus company responds to a ruling made on 18 January where a disabled man wins a Supreme Court case (FirstGroup Plc v Paulley) after a dispute with a woman with a buggy over wheelchair space on a FirstGroup bus.
Managing Director Martin Harris said: “We welcome the judgement which clarifies the position and moves accessibility forward by requiring bus companies to do more than simply ‘request’ someone to vacate the wheelchair space for a wheelchair user.
“The judgement also recognises there are situations in which the needs of customers for that space can sometimes be difficult to resolve for a bus driver who will need to make a judgement on the circumstances and how to seek to clear the space for a wheelchair user.
“Our established Wheelchair Taxi Guarantee scheme helps our drivers avoid having to create problems for any of our customers or intending customers.
“While we will continue with that scheme, we will be working with Possability People and our drivers to create new guidance training and information for customers.”
Brighton &Hove Buses work closely with Possability People to help disabled people in the city live independent lives.
Possability People’s Chief Officer, Geraldine Des Moulins, said: “Buses provide a vital lifeline for disabled people in and around the city and we welcome the Supreme Court’s ruling that bus companies should do more to ensure wheelchair users can use them.
“In Brighton and Hove we are extremely fortunate to have a bus company which does a great deal to ensure its service is as accessible as it can be for disabled people. They put their words into action; things like their Helping Hand and Wheelchair Taxi Guarantee schemes, as well as choosing vehicles which maximise space, really do make a difference.
“But not all areas as so lucky. The judgement, while a step in the right direction, could have made it a legal requirement for non-wheelchair passengers to move.”
More information available at: www.disabilityrightsuk.org/firstgroup-plc-v-paulley
Brighton & HoveTaxi Guarantee Scheme – www.buses.co.uk/taxi