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Bus operator wins wheelchair court judgement

Rightly or wrongly Bus companies are not required legally to force parents with babes in buggies to make way for wheelchair users in designated bays on vehicles, senior judges ruled on 8th December 2014. Having experience of both we can see it from both sides and agree that people should vacate designated spaces for disabled users if they are able to.

This all kicked off about 3 years ago when Doug Paulley a 36 wheelchair user was denied access to a First bus going to Leeds when a woman with a pushchair refused to move because her baby was asleep. Paul who wanted to board the bus in Wetherby to visit his parents in Leeds in February 2012 was told to wait for another one. At that time First Bus, the operator concerned, had a policy of "requesting but not requiring" non-disabled travellers, including those with babies and pushchairs, to vacate space needed by a wheelchair user.

In September 2014 during a court hearing the county court judge said the firm's policy was in breach of the Equality Act 2010 and so Mr Paulley was awarded £5,500 in damages and Lord Justice Lewison commented: "The judge seems to me to have thought that the needs of wheelchair users trumped all other considerations".

So is this reasonable ? Mr Pauleys lawyers don think it is and are already trying for appeal in the supreme court, being the highest in the land to try to overturn this ruling which is of course of paramount importance to many of us wheelchair users.

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