Warrington Disability Partnership

Supreme Court hears the famous Doug Paulley case

Moment of truth for every disabled person who has ever used public transport

The Supreme Court have heard the appeal by Doug Paulley and now they will consider their judgement. Should the use of the "wheelchair space" on a bus be enshrined in the law? Is this truly a "right" and the correct interpretation of existing anti discrimination legalisation?

My personal view remains that Government's of all colours got this badly wrong a decade ago and are now running scared in the face of overwhelming evidence that the problem isn't necessarily a bus drivers reluctance to force a buggy to vacate the wheelchair space on a bus.....it is far more fundamental. No, the issue is simply that Government should have legislated that when forcing all buses to be accessible by 2017, ish, they had to ensure that there were two accessible spaces on EVERY public bus. At a stroke this would have hugely reduced (though not totally eliminated) the number of times a wheelchair user couldn't access the designated space. Many of the new, single decker, longer, buses DO have two spaces, one for wheelchair users and one for buggies. This is a fair enough scenario as far as I concerned, but sadly many buses have just one space and this massively exacerbates the conflict between drivers and parents with buggies and wheelchair users left on the kerbside as there is usually only ever one winner in that triangle.

Fingers crossed for a win at the Supreme Court when the judgement is made later in the year but being honest I already sense the disability lobby is expecting a defeat but as Doug himself says, even that defeat, if it happens, will have highlighted the huge flaws in this area of anti discrimination legislation - meanwhile many would still be left at the bus stop in pouring rain as buses don't stop or move away with intransigent buggy users not making eye contact.

Read more about the Supreme Court's historic heating here :


Oh and if you look hard enough you may read a quote from someone close to home!


About the author

Mark Wilson was a trustee on the WDP Board for five years, and a social media management lead until 1st May 2017. Mark's personal blogging website, The Blue Badge Blog, covers a wide range of disability issues, particularly accessible travel.

17th June 2016