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TfL to belatedly introduce iBus automated messages following Paulley decision

11 July 2017

Doug Paulley’s Supreme Court decision made it clear that bus drivers must do more to enforce priority for wheelchair users but stopped short at powers of enforcement.

More on the Paulley decision

DR UK’s response to the Paulley decision

Transport for London (TfL) recently announced that they would be introducing new iBus automated messages on London buses asking people to make space where a disabled customer needs the wheelchair priority area. If the person occupying the space does not move a second message will play saying that the bus will wait while the person occupying the space moves.

Transport for All says:

“Now those new iBus messages are a step forward but we think it doesn’t go far enough. We want TfL to introduce a policy where bus drivers refuse to move the bus for a certain amount of time, unless the wheelchair priority space is vacated. The answer from TfL was that “the Supreme Court ruling stated no customer should be forced to move out of the space if they choose not to”, but we do not believe this means they cannot stop the bus for a few moments to encourage passengers to vacate the space.”

Disability Rights UK believes that just stopping the bus is not enough as TfL are essentially right about the Supreme Court ruling. We would like to see a further change in the law. In the past we have made recommendations in relation to this in our response to the Bus Conduct regulations consultation

If a person smokes on a bus or creates a nuisance they can legally be ejected by a bus driver, who can call on the police for help, yet there are no legal powers for cases where someone unreasonably refuses to vacate a wheelchair space so that it can be used by a disabled person.