I recently attended the National Register of Access Consultants (NRAC) Conference in London.
This event covers everything Access related and features expert presentations from a variety of guest speakers.
What piqued my interest this time was a presentation by Unity Law regarding a case where the Court of Appeal had decided to treat ‘wheelchair users’ the same as ‘mother’s with buggies’ when it comes to occupying the wheelchair space on buses. Originally the courts found in favour of the wheelchair user but the bus company appealed.
The case resonated with me as friends of mine suffer from the same problem of trying to use the buses and finding buggies or luggage in the wheelchair bays. The bus companies generally will only ‘ask’ the buggy users to fold them up and allow wheelchair users on board but frequently the wheelchair user has to wait for another bus which sometimes of course also has the wheelchair space blocked.
“It is fine to have someone thrown off the bus for eating a kebab or committing general nuisance, then it should be ok to do the same for someone who won’t move out of the space, which is there for wheelchair users.” Unity Law, 2015
Unity Law have lodged an appeal to the Supreme Court to be heard in June 2016, where hopefully some clarity will be achieved.
New cases regarding Access issues are being brought all the time and result in changes to what is acceptable. We could all look at ways of making our services more accessible.