Man wins compensation over bus discrimination

Man wins compensation over bus discrimination 25633

A man with a disability has won a legal fight against First Bus Group after he was refused a space on one of its vehicles.

According to the BBC, Doug Paulley from Wetherby in West Yorkshire was told he could not get on board a bus because a pushchair user did not give up their space for him.

Mr Paulley then had to wait for another bus, something he saw as unacceptable.

Although the 35-year-old raised the issue repeatedly with First Bus Group, he was not satisfied with their responses to his criticisms and decided to launch legal action.

First's current policy is that wheelchair users should have priority use of the wheelchair designated area of a bus, but this is reliant on a goodwill system from pushchair users and, as such, is legally redundant.

Because of its failure to implement a fixed guideline to give disabled people the right to use the zone as part of customers' terms of use agreements, a judge ruled the Equality Act 2010 was breached and Mr Paulley has been awarded £5,500 in compensation.

In a statement seen by the BBC, First Bus Group said: "At First we do recognise how important it is that bus services are accessible to all and our drivers across the country are trained to act in accordance with the law in this area."

But Mr Paulley's solicitor said the verdict is a breakthrough and will represent a step-change in the way disabled people are treated on public transport.

Research revealed yesterday (September 23rd) by the Guide Dogs charity organisation showed 23 per cent of all of its complaints from partially sighted and blind people relate to poor provision of transport.

Although 60 per cent of these issues pertained directly to taxis and other private modes of travel, some related to policies dictated by train and bus operators. This shows the industry needs to do more to make sure it is compliant with European legislation on disability equality.

By Francesca Witney