Better Buses

Glasgow

I am a wheelchair using mother, who uses a power chair, and who takes her toddler with her on her lap. As you can imagine, getting out and about takes a lot of energy and skill. I have several health conditions that mean I am exhausted and in constant pain. I frequently have to argue with bus drivers in Glasgow, because I require the ramp to board and leave the bus. Drivers frequently lower or raise the bus and think that is sufficient for me to get on or off. The safest method is to use a ramp, and if there is any gap between the bus and the kerb, it is not possible for a powerchair to cross it. I am often treated with anger and frustration despite politely asking for something I am entitled to. The First Bus accessability policy states that I am entitled to ask for a ramp. On Friday 18th October, I had a driver refuse to let me have the ramp put down at all. I explained why I needed it, and eventually threatened to call the police. This was ignored, and the driver shouted at me ‘Who do you think you are?’ A passenger kindly went to lower the ramp, and the driver shouted at them, ‘Don’t you dare touch that ramp!’ When it was lowered, he shouted at me never to get on his bus again. Both I and my toddler were very distressed. It was a terrifying experience, and left me shocked and shaken. It is not enough to provide equipment on the buses for access. Drivers need to receive adequate training for all forms of wheelchairs requiring it, and should be disciplined for arguing with passengers who request the ramp. Having met many drivers who do use the equipmment correctly and treat me with respect I know it is possible. I am posting here because not everyone will be aware of the attitudes wheelchair users encounter, and sadly this is a classic example of the attitudes that still exist.

Laura Miller. At a Glasgow bus stop.

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