Woman 'humiliated' by bus scooter ban in Motspur Park
A disabled woman was “humiliated” by a bus driver who refused to let her travel because her mobility scooter might obstruct other passengers.
Julia Bowers, who lives in West Barnes Lane, complained to Transport for London (TfL) after she was denied access on the K5 bus as it stopped outside Motspur Park station.
The bus only arrives once every hour and the refusal meant she was unable to attend a crucial pre-surgery appointment at Kingston Hospital.
Ms Bowers, 56, said: “The driver looked at me and said ‘I am not letting you on’.
"I was really embarrassed and it was humiliating just sitting there while people inside were watching me.
“It only takes a few seconds for the driver to put down the ramp and there was loads of space, but in any case I should have been allowed on the bus because it is my right.
"It happened previous when a driver had to ring the depot before he would let me on. Most of the time I am let on but the rules seem to be discretionary."
A TfL spokesman said the driver had “absolutely made the correct decision” to refuse Ms Bowers access.
He said: “The turning circle is quite tight and it is very difficult for them to manoeuvre on the bus. It causes problems for other bus users."
Mike Weston, Operations Director for London Buses said: "We aim to make our buses as accessible as possible to all passengers.
"Our bus fleet is the most accessible in the world with every London bus fitted with a low floor and wheelchair ramps, and able to carry all types of wheelchair.
"We are unable to carry some types of motorised scooter because they are difficult to manoeuvre in the space available on a bus, however we are currently developing new guidance to help drivers to easily identify the scooter designs which do fit."
A spokeswoman from Transport for All, a service which supports disabled access on public transport, said: "I would strongly advise anyone who is considering buying a scooter to choose their model very carefully so it can fit on buses, and even to consider whether a wheelchair might suit them better, as TfL guidelines are that bus drivers should always allow wheelchair users onto buses."
Disabled users of public transport are invited to attend a meeting where they can learn more about their rights.
Transport for All will be speaking about what accessible transport is available, how to make complaints, and campaign to make transport providers more aware of the needs of disabled passengers.
Go4M are hosting 'Your rights on transport' on Monday, June 18 (1.30-3pm), at All Saints Day Centre in All Saints Road, Wimbledon.
For more information call 07703 596834 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.