A new campaign outlining the ‘rules’ around the use of the wheelchair space on buses has been launched by Transport for London (TfL).
TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, Leon Daniels, said: “Our research and feedback shows there is some confusion around the priority area, not just among passengers but also with our drivers. The entire London bus network is wheelchair accessible and there should be no reason for a wheelchair user being unable to use a bus. However, wheelchair users tell us they are sometimes refused entry to our buses because the space is already occupied and other passengers will not move.
“We are asking, through this campaign, for passengers to show consideration to their fellow travellers. We are not saying other passengers can’t use the space at all, just that if a wheelchair user does require access during their journey they must be given priority. Wheelchairs must be positioned correctly in the priority area to travel safely.”
Guidance has also been provided to drivers to help them deal with this issue. When a wheelchair user wants to board the bus, and the wheelchair priority space is occupied by a buggy or pram, the bus driver will use an automated iBus message and if necessary the PA system to alert passengers. Extra time will be given to allow passengers with a buggy or pram to move out of the way or to fold the pram/buggy to allow the wheelchair to gain access to the space. On many buses it is possible for the buggy/pram to move back into the priority space, alongside the wheelchair, as long as it does not block the gangway. Bus drivers have been instructed not to move off until both wheelchair and buggy/pram are safely positioned.
For more details on bus accessibility go to http://www.tfl.gov.uk/gettingaround/transportaccessibility/1171.aspx. A TfL accessibility video can be found at http://tinyurl.com/bnsj8pr