Do you have difficulty accessing public transport in London?

Recently I went on a bus journey with a local resident who has been having difficulty getting on buses with their wheelchair.  Problems have included:TfL's priority access campaign poster

  • bus drivers not requesting that prams or buggies be folded
  • bus drivers informing wheelchair users that they do not have priority and it is first come, first served, which has been backed up by inspectors and managers at Edmonton bus station
  • the ramps are not always working, or the bus driver pretends that the ramp is not working.

This is not acceptable and the Big Red Book given to all bus drivers clearly states that the bus driver should politely ask those with prams or buggies to fold them to allow the wheelchair user on the bus. You can watch the video about my morning travelling by bus with a local constituent and Transport for All below:

I have been working to highlight the issues that some of my constituents are experiencing by raising these issues with the Mayor.  Below you can see the response that I 
received from the Mayor of London to my question regarding the rules around priority access for wheelchair users:

Priority access for wheelchair users at Edmonton Green
Question No: 2013/3730
Joanne McCartney
I recently met a resident in Edmonton who is a wheelchair user and has been having difficulty with bus drivers from the Edmonton Green bus station who have been wrongly informing him that once a pushchair is on the bus, a wheelchair user does not have priority and cannot get on the bus. Drivers have been refusing to ask pushchair owners to fold their pushchairs and have informed him that the “rules have changed” and that they do not need to make this request. When he has complained to the drivers’ supervisors (on a number of occasions) they have stated to him that the drivers are right and that the rule has changed. The Big Red Book given to all bus drivers clearly state that wheelchair users have priority and pushchairs should be folded so both passengers can ride the bus. What are you doing to ensure all managers at bus garages are enforcing this regulation? What action will you take ensure that managers and supervisors at Edmonton Green bus station are informed that they must give priority to wheelchair users?

Written response from the Mayor
The policy is clear; wheelchair users have priority access to the wheelchair area when needed, as stated in the Big Red Book. Drivers should use the PA system to explain this if necessary. TfL continues to remind all front line staff of the importance of this policy. This will be further reinforced in a new training film called “All Aboard!” produced in collaboration with Transport for All and Age UK London. All bus drivers will participate in this interactive training session by December 2014 as part of their annual training. As always, if any customer believes that the policy has not been applied in practice then they are encouraged to report this to TfL.

I will continue to put pressure on the Mayor to ensure that everyone is able to access public transport in Enfield and Haringey.  If you have been experiencing difficulties in accessing public transport, please get in touch and I will raise these issues on your behalf.

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