September 15 2014 Latest news:
by Hayley Anderson
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Transport for London (TfL) is investigating claims a disabled man was refused entry on a bus in Chadwell Heath.
Tony Parker, of Third Avenue, Chadwell Heath, said he felt “humiliated” after the incident on August 8.
The 59-year-old, who uses a wheelchair, said he went to board a 173 bus in Chadwell Heath Lane but when the doors opened, the bus driver told him he could not get on.
Mr Parker said he asked why and was told there was not enough room because a buggy was already taking up the space set aside for wheelchairs users.
Mr Parker said he stopped using public transport after a similar incident happened last year.
He said: “I felt embarrassed and humiliated. It puts not only me off, but a lot of other wheelchair users too, as it would be quite intimidating to be put in this situation for many people.”
TfL said wheelchair users take priority over buggies and bus drivers should use the onboard automated announcement system to share the space or ask parents to fold their buggies.
But buggy users or other passengers who cannot, or refuse to, leave the space are not required to leave the bus.
Mr Parker said: “I couldn’t believe it was happening for the second time, when I was told by TFL that it would be sorted.
“I am thick-skinned but a lot of people in wheelchairs are not and this could put them off from using public transport.”
TfL’s head of bus operations, Ken Davison, said: “We are disappointed to hear that Mr Parker experienced an issue when trying to board a route 173 bus.
“Our guidance to bus drivers clearly states that wheelchair users are to be given access to the dedicated space on our buses even if it is occupied by a buggy or other passengers.
“We are working with Arriva, who operate the route 173 bus, to investigate Mr Parker’s complaint.”