National Express commits to wheelchair priority policy

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National Express is bringing in a wheelchair priority policy on its buses after a disability rights campaigner raised a question on the issues at its Annual General Meeting in May.

The operator had a ‘first come, first served’ policy of wheelchair boarding on its buses, where passengers with pushchairs were entitled to occupy the wheelchair bays on their buses, even if they were needed by a wheelchair user looking to board.

Disabled athlete Susan Cook went to the company’s AGM on May 6 and managed to secure a subsequent meeting with the company’s CEO Dean Finch and Peter Coates, Managing Director of the operator’s bus division.

Ms Cook was supported in the activity by campaigning charity Transport for All, and was trained to ask her question by ShareAction, a charity which coordinates an ‘AGM Army’ project, to help people attend company meetings and raise issues with the directors.

Ms Cook said: “It was great to use my power as a shareholder to secure a meeting with the company and persuade them to change their policy. I’m glad National Express saw sense on this issue and I’m looking forward to going to more AGMs to raise disability rights issues in future.”

Peter Coates, Managing Director of National Express UK Bus division said: “National Express as a group has always worked hard to ensure that our bus, coach and rail services are as accessible as possible. It was great to meet Susan and hear what more she felt we could do to make journeys on our services easier for those with disabilities.”