First Bus Wins Appeal Re Wheelchair Users but Appeal Underway to Supreme Court

23 December 2014

The Court of Appeal overturned the decision of Leeds County Court ruling bus companies should not be forced by law to draw up policies forcing parents with buggies to make way for wheelchair users in designated bays on buses.

Mr Paulley was unable to board a First Group bus because a parent with a buggy with a sleeping baby inside was occupying the wheelchair space. First Group operated a "first come, first served" policy. At first instance the County Court ruled that this policy contravened the Equality Act 2010.. In the appeal court, Lord Justice Underhill said that "wheelchair users will occasionally be prevented by other passengers from using the wheelchair space on the bus" and "Sometimes there will be a reasonable justification for that happening, but sometimes there will not."

The matter is not over yet as an Appeal has been lodged with the Supreme Court.

However, the litigation could still benefit disabled bus passengers because bus companies will have to "provide training for bus drivers and devise strategies that drivers can adopt to persuade people to clear the wheelchair space" and to also provided awareness campaigns about the needs of disabled travellers for staff.

(link to Court of Appeal full judgement - https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/judgments/firstgroup-plc-v-paulley/)

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