Richmond – Kew Green – Return
This week I took five trips out for various reasons. Of course being me none of them were particularly simple journeys. Every one used more than one type of transport and lasted more than 40 minutes each way, but as any Londoner will tell you, even the none disabled ones, this is par for the course in the capital.
Particularly worthy of note was my bus trip out to Kew Green today for the Kew fete, or more specifically the return journey. The first bus arrived with a brace of buggy’s in the wheelchair space. Neither parent was keen to move their charges to enable the buggy to be folded. The driver was visibly relieved when I told him I’d avoid an argument and wait for the next bus.
Of course it was sods law that when the next bus arrived the ramp crunched into the pavement, triggered the safety switch and retracted back into the bus. The best efforts of the driver to move the bus to a better position were for nought. I was again left standing by the side of the road as the bus departed.
The third bus arrived after another five minutes or so, I got on board and headed home.
So why have I bothered with this familiar tale of woe?
It hinges on the trip I took out on Wednesday to spend the day at the Supreme Court where a panel of seven Law Lords were hearing the case of Paulley verses First Group. This is, on the face of it, about the rights of wheelchair users to have priority access to the wheelchair space on buses, and whether bus companies should be required to enforce that right. During the day counsel for First Group claimed that it was rare for wheelchair users to be refused access due to an occupied wheelchair space.
I respectfully suggest that counsel is talking out of his backside.