When King Russell and I went to join Fat Sister to see in the New Year our journey got off to a bad start. We were waiting at the stop near the castle for the right bus, and I was pleased when one came along quickly because it was cold out and I wanted to get inside and warm up.
As the bus approached both King Russell and I put our arms out to show the driver we wanted to get on. I was clearly visible, waiting just in front of the stop. The bus stopped. I saw a buggy in the wheelchair space but it looked there would easily be room for me and the buggy. But the driver didn’t even open the door.
He didn’t ask anyone to move the buggy and at no point did he speak to me or my regal companion. He simply drove away without letting us on. People waiting at the bus stop were shocked by what had happened, and I felt upset, powerless and humiliated.
The next bus also had one buggy on board but thankfully the driver put down the ramp and I was able to get on. And just as I thought, there was plenty of room for both me and the buggy!
I’ve contacted Transport for All who campaign tirelessly for more inclusive public transport. They offer a brilliant advocacy service through which they take difficult experiences like this straight to the relevant transport provider. This makes following up on negative experiences much easier.
It’s vital that as many incidents like this as possible are recorded so that the numerous barriers disabled people experience on public transport can be understood and removed.