The Christmas Spirit?


Richmond – Kingston – Return

Having been a bit busy for most of November & December the inevitable last minute Christmas shop couldn’t be avoided.

The first bus had the increasingly common negotiation with a mother and her buggy. Sadly, the bus didn’t have enough space in the wheelchair space for both of us, but fortunately the  driver was accommodating and let the buggy muddle through for a couple of stops until they got off.

I stopped off in Richmond station to drop off a box of chocolate thank yous and got a huge hug for my trouble. Fortunately it was from one of the lovely lady wranglers, not one of the hairy blokes! Of course mostly the station is used for catching trains, but it being Sunday the service to Kingston is only hourly and today was running late, so instead I headed back to the bus stop.

Even on Sundays the buses are every ten minutes, but this didn’t stop there being quite a queue, including a small buggy. Fortunately I knew that these buses have lots of space so we were able to agree that before the bus even arrived. In hindsight this might not have been a good idea.

The bus arrived, the driver put the ramp out and I wheeled on. The mother followed me up the ramp, only to have the driver shut the door, separating her from her daughter in the buggy. Not surprisingly she got rather agitated. The driver got quite mouthy in his turn and a brief but quite heated shouting match ensued.

Whilst the driver was correct in that buggies should check with him before using the ramp, it did seem logical to me and he does have two mirrors and a camera covering that door. A little observation and flexibility could have made the situation much less unpleasant for everyone involved.

They were still muttering and shaking their heads at each other when she left the bus ten minutes later.

The rest of the trip passed without further incident. I didn’t even bother checking the train for the return journey. After successfully stocking up (pun intended) with Christmas presents, I rewarded myself with a screening of Star Wars so it was late by the time I set off home. Mostly that just means the bus is less full and the traffic lighter so the journey is really quick.

I guess the real lesson for today is that it’s not just disabled people who have problems on public transport, but then I guess I knew that given how often I come up against buggies.


About Alan

I'm an Economist, Geek, Campaigner & wheelchair user who's been using all forms of public transport for 20+ years.
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