Wheelchair user 'kept off bus' despite Paulley Principle


A wheelchair user has again been prevented from boarding a bus in Yorkshire, despite the recent Supreme Court ruling, it has been reported.

The BBC reported that an Arriva bus driver told Kirsty Shepherd from Wakefield that she could not board the bus, even though a woman with a pushchair was happy to move.

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It follows the recent Supreme Court ruling in the case of Doug Paulley, who was unable to board a bus in Leeds in 2012 after a woman with a pushchair refused to move.

The court ruled that bus operators are obliged to apply ‘pressure’ to non-wheelchair users to vacate the designated space but cannot force them to do so - in what has been called the Paulley principle.

In the Wakefield case, the BBC reported that the bus had a sign asking passengers to give up the designated space on the bus if it was needed by a wheelchair user.

Commenting on that case, Mr Paulley said he could not see why Ms Shepherd had been denied a bus journey.

He told the BBC: ‘On her bus there was a buggy space, so there were two separate spaces. When that lady [with the pushchair] moved into the buggy space that space was free and available, so I don't know why the driver didn't let her on.'

Mr Paulley said he thought the Supreme Court ruling had gone far enough to help wheelchair users. He said: ‘I think some people would have liked it if it was more concrete. But there are always exceptional circumstances, so there has got to be some flexibility.’

Jon Croxford, Arriva Yorkshire area managing director, said: ‘Our customer service team have had extensive conversations with Ms Shephard about the incident and we are investigating this as a matter of urgency. We are in the process of downloading the CCTV footage and speaking to those involved. We have promised to conclude this investigation swiftly.’

He added: ‘All of our drivers receive disability training as standard and we take our obligations extremely seriously.’


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