Probe after Wakefield bus wheelchair row

A bus company has promised to '˜take any necessary steps' after a wheelchair user was refused access to a service within days of a landmark court ruling on disability.

Wednesday, 1st February 2017, 11:43 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st February 2017, 11:46 am
Wheelchair user Kirsty Shepherd.

Kirsty Shepherd said the driver of a 444 Arriva bus from Rothwell to Wakefield would not let her on board because another passenger had a pushchair.

Only days before, the Supreme Court ruled that bus drivers must be more accommodating to wheelchair users after Wetherby man Doug Paulley made a legal challenge to First Bus when a woman with a pushchair refused to move from a designated space.

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Ms Shepherd told the driver: “I don’t understand, the wheelchair space is empty. He said I can’t have a pushchair and chair on the bus at same time.”

She said the woman with the pushchair moved of her own accord but the driver decided to terminate the bus and ask all passengers to get off in the ensuing disagreement.

Arriva said it was investigating the incident “as a matter of urgency”.

Ms Shepherd added: “I’m usually a positive person but this has shook me up so much.”

Arriva area manager Jon Croxford said: “We are in the process of downloading the CCTV footage and speaking to those involved. We have promised to conclude this investigation swiftly.

“All of our drivers receive disability training as standard and we take our obligations extremely seriously. We will take any necessary steps required following the conclusion of our full internal investigation.”

The company said it was committed to improving access for disabled passengers and said it would review its policies following the Supreme Court ruling. The decision means drivers must take further steps but does not mean they are forced to remove people.