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Our response to the Bus Conduct regulations consultation

Disability Rights UK’s response to Reviewing the Public Service Vehicles (Conduct of Drivers, Inspectors, Conductors and Passengers) Regulations 1990

About Disability Rights UK

Disability Rights UK works for a society where everyone with lived experience of disability or health conditions can participate equally as full citizens. We are disabled people leading change.

Disability Rights UK supports disabled people of all ages to achieve their potential in independent living and to participate in their communities. We reach over 1,000,000 people annually through a range of services and information.

Disability Rights UK works in partnership with disabled people through our members and local disabled people’s organisations. Our evidence comes from our Helpline callers and members in disabled people’s organisations, FE, training providers, local authorities (LAs) and careers guidance practitioners. We are therefore experienced and qualified to comment on the likely impact of relevant legislation on disabled people.

Disability Rights UK welcomes the opportunity to comment on the proposals in this consultation with a focus on the impact on disabled people.

Comments on the consultation

Q5: Do you agree with the Department for Transport's proposed amendments to regulations 6 and 7? If not, please explain why?

Disability Rights UK makes no comment on the proposed amendments to regulation 7 but makes a suggestion for an amendment to regulation 6 under Question 6

Q6: Are there any further amendments to these regulations that you think should be made?

Although this consultation does not seek to increase regulatory burdens on either the bus industry or the general public a recent Court of Appeal decision suggests that the conduct regulations are deficit in meeting the intentions of the Equality Act 2010 with regard to wheelchair users.

In Firstgroup Plc v Paulley (See http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2014/1573.html) it was established that a driver has no power, under the conduct regulations, to compel any passenger who is not a wheelchair user to move from a designated wheelchair area. Leave has been sought to take this decision to the Supreme Court but, given the timing of this consultation, we would like to use this opportunity to suggest that the law be changed.

We propose that there should be an amendment to regulation 6(1)(k) granting bus drivers the power to eject passengers, who are non-wheelchair users, where they refuse to readily or reasonably vacate a wheelchair space.

This amendment maintains the intention, contained within regulation 12(3)(b), for bus drivers to arbitrate on disputes over wheelchair areas but crucially grants them the power to remove an unreasonable passenger where it is deemed appropriate.  

A failure to change this regulation would mean that a wheelchair user can expect little or no support under bus company guidance or from a bus company employee where a passenger in a wheelchair area, who is not a wheelchair user, refuses to move following a request to do so.

Q7: Do you agree with the Department for Transport's proposed approach to make no changes to regulations 11 to 17? If not, please explain why?

We believe that the change suggested for regulation 6 should be sufficient and that regulation 12(3)(b) needs no change.


Martin Inch

Disability Rights UK,

Can Mezzanine, 49-51 East Road, London, N1 6AH

Tel: 0207 250 8181

Email: martin.inch@disabilityrightsuk.org