FixMyTransport is now closed to new submissions. The site is available as an archive for you to browse, but you can no longer report problems. Find out more…

“Please help me persuade Transport for London to help me persuade TfL to make Buses4U” – Theo Harris

Description

Theo Harris

I wish to report the poor experience of a disabled Kingston resident. She was unable to board both the 131 and 312 buses from New Malden to Kingston last. I have checked with my client that she has an average sized motorised wheelchair (not a scooter). Neither bus was full nor were there other buggies or wheelchair uses on-board (as far as my client could see) yet the driver refused to pick her up.
When she eventually got to her destination she was also unable to get on a return bus as again she was told that they couldn’t take her with her wheelchair. She approached a group of bus drivers in discussion at Fairfield to raise this issue they told her that they have been told by TfL that they cannot pick up passengers in electric wheelchairs on the buses. They stated health and safety reasons for this. (Something to do with not being able to get the wheelchair passenger off the buss if they bus was to breakdown.)
I for one do not believe that drivers have been told this and so I am writing to you to get further clarity on this matter since KCIL (Kingston Centre for Independent Living) supports hundreds of disabled people to live active, independent lives and if they can no longer expect to get on buses then we need to be able to understand why this is.

Problem History

  • 1 Theo Harris reported the issue on FixMyTransport. close 09:47 13 Aug 2012
  • 2 Theo Harris wrote to Transport for London close 09:47 13 Aug 2012

    Here is the letter that Theo Harris wrote.

    Bus drivers refusing to take passengers in wheelchairs

    I wish to report the poor experience of a disabled Kingston resident. She was unable to board both the 131 and 312 buses from New Malden to Kingston last. I have checked with my client that she has an average sized motorised wheelchair (not a scooter). Neither bus was full nor were there other buggies or wheelchair uses on-board (as far as my client could see) yet the driver refused to pick her up.
    When she eventually got to her destination she was also unable to get on a return bus as again she was told that they couldn’t take her with her wheelchair. She approached a group of bus drivers in discussion at Fairfield to raise this issue they told her that they have been told by TfL that they cannot pick up passengers in electric wheelchairs on the buses. They stated health and safety reasons for this. (Something to do with not being able to get the wheelchair passenger off the buss if they bus was to breakdown.)
    I for one do not believe that drivers have been told this and so I am writing to you to get further clarity on this matter since KCIL (Kingston Centre for Independent Living) supports hundreds of disabled people to live active, independent lives and if they can no longer expect to get on buses then we need to be able to understand why this is.

  • 3 Govinden Ruben responded to Theo Harris close 09:50 13 Aug 2012
     

    The Transport for London Press Office is now operating full time
    on the Games.

    I am working shifts in a different role and I’m not covering my
    usual responsibilities.  If you need to speak to some one about
    a non-Games related issue please contact the Press Office on
    0845 604 4141 and ask for the Business As Usual Desk.  If you
    are calling about a Games related issue please call the same
    number and ask to speak to someone working on the Games.

  • 4 [email address] responded to Theo Harris close 09:50 13 Aug 2012
    Thank you for your email. We can now confirm that this has been
    received.

    For further information about the Surface Transport Complaints
    and Feedback Policy including timescales, please see
    [1]http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/about-tf...

    Problems with roadworks or other street faults? In support of
    the Mayor’s Streetworks Code of Conduct to help cut congestion,
    please report these issues by visiting
    [2]http://www.tfl.gov.uk/roadusers/reportas...

    show quoted sections

    References

    Visible links
    1. http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/about-tf...
    2. http://www.tfl.gov.uk/roadusers/reportas...
  • 5 Theo Harris added an update close 10:08 13 Aug 2012

    Fix my Transport has forwarded a response from TfL's Press Office. I have now spoken to someone at TfL (Press Office) and they have given me the name of the person who will be dealing with my query. I am told to expect a call shortly.....

  • 6 Dave H commented close 23:42 13 Aug 2012

    Sounds like a briefing problem, many people confuse mobility scooters with electric wheelchairs. The very reason a person I know has an electric wheelchair is that it is automaticallly classed as a wheelchair rather than a mobility scooter, and designed to fit on all buses & trains under all conditions, including pushing it on & off if the power system fails.

  • 7 [email address] responded to Theo Harris close 14:03 21 Aug 2012
    Our Ref:         1011079739

    Date:              21.08.2012

    Mr T Harris

    [Help me persuade TfL to make Buses4U email]

    Dear Mr Harris

    Thank you for contacting us regarding your client's experiences
    when looking to board buses on routes 131 and 312. I appreciate
    your feedback on this matter.

    I was sorry to learn that bus drivers on these routes have
    refused to pick up your client, despite the designated
    wheelchair space being empty. I appreciate that this must have
    been upsetting, and would like to apologise to your client for
    the inconvenience caused.

    As you would expect, we are committed to making our buses
    accessible to everybody, including those travelling with
    electric wheelchairs. The guidance we provide to drivers is that
    they should allow passengers in electric wheelchairs to board
    the bus if there is sufficient room in the disabled bay area.
    This also means that there needs to be enough room for the user
    to manoeuvre his/her chair into its correct position, and that
    the weight of the wheelchair and its occupant must be able to be
    accommodated by the ramp.

    In light of your feedback, I have contacted Arriva, who operate
    route 312 on our behalf, and London United, who operate route
    131. They will remind all drivers of the importance of allowing
    electric wheelchair users to travel, provided the necessary
    safety requirements are met. I hope that your client will not
    have any further problems, however, should she do so, I would be
    grateful for some specific information regarding the time, date
    and location of the incident. This will enable the bus operators
    to investigate further.

    Finally, your client may be interested to learn about our
    Mobility Aid Recognition Scheme. This provides electric
    wheelchair and scooter users with the opportunity to have their
    mobility aid assessed. Should the aid be deemed suitable for bus
    travel, we will issue a card which can be shown to bus drivers
    before boarding. More information about the scheme can be found
    on our website at
    [1]http://www.tfl.gov.uk/gettingaround/tran....

    Thank you once again for getting in touch. Please do let me know
    if I can help at all in the future.

    Yours sincerely 

    Sophia Mead

    Customer Services

    DO NOT DELETE.............................
    {ticketno:[2927993]}
    DO NOT DELETE.............................

    Original Text

    From: [Help me persuade TfL to make Buses4U email]
    To: [Transport for London problem reporting email] <[email address]>
    CC: [email address] <[email address]>
    Sent: 13.08.12 09:50:04
    Subject: Bus drivers refusing to take passengers in wheelchairs

    Dear Transport for London,

    I wish to report the poor experience of a disabled Kingston
    resident. She was unable to board both the 131 and 312 buses
    from
    New Malden to Kingston last. I have checked with my client that
    she
    has an average sized motorised wheelchair (not a scooter).
    Neither
    bus was full nor were there other buggies or wheelchair uses
    on-board (as far as my client could see) yet the driver refused
    to
    pick her up. When she eventually got to her destination she was
    also unable to get on a return bus as again she was told that
    they
    couldn’t take her with her wheelchair. She approached a group of
    bus drivers in discussion at Fairfield to raise this issue they
    told her that they have been told by TfL that they cannot pick
    up
    passengers in electric wheelchairs on the buses. They stated
    health
    and safety reasons for this. (Something to do with not being
    able
    to get the wheelchair passenger off the buss if they bus was to
    breakdown.) I for one do not believe that drivers have been told
    this and so I am writing to you to get further clarity on this
    matter since KCIL (Kingston Centre for Independent Living)
    supports
    hundreds of disabled people to live active, independent lives
    and
    if they can no longer expect to get on buses then we need to be
    able to understand why this is.

    ------------------

    Here is some information from FixMyTransport about the location
    of
    this issue:

    Location name: Fairfield Bus Station (KT1)

    Location ATCO code: 490006705B2

    Area: Kingston Upon Thames

    Indicator: Stop B2

    Bearing: W

    Easting: 518347.0

    Northing: 169307.0

    ----------

    To view a map of the precise location of this problem, or to
    provide an update on the problem, please visit the following
    link:

    http://www.fixmytransport.com/campaigns/...

    [ PLEASE NOTE: Your replies to this problem report will be sent
    to
    Theo Harris and will be published online. This message was sent
    via
    FixMyTransport.com - a not-for-profit service dedicated to
    helping
    people get public transport problems resolved. If there is a
    more
    appropriate email address for messages about this type of
    problem,
    please let us know by visiting
    <http://www.fixmytransport.com/feedback>. This will help improve
    the service for people travelling. We also welcome any other
    feedback you may have. ]

    References

    Visible links
    1. http://www.tfl.gov.uk/gettingaround/tran...
  • 8 Dave H commented close 21:56 21 Aug 2012

    This may help in assessing some of the issues - http://www.cpt-uk.org/_uploads/attachment/1941.pdf

    Provided the wheelchair operates within the envelope required for a 'standard reference wheelchair' and does not exceed the weight limits, and is you want to take a Class 2 Invalid Carriage on board you can also do so with this scheme - endorsed by major UK bus operators.

Comment
  • started 13 August 2012
  • supporters 0
Fairfield Bus Station (KT1) (Stop B2) bus stop in Kingston Upon Thames
Problem Reporter
Top of page