Mothers with babies in prams can occupy wheelchair spaces on buses
Public transport should be available to all. Yet when travellers have additional needs, such as a wheelchair or a pram, prioritisation of passengers can be contentious. Richard Griffith explains
The UK Supreme Court has, in part, overruled the Court of Appeal in an appeal in the case of Paulley v Firstgroup PLC , bringing to an end protracted litigation over whether wheelchair users or mothers with pushchairs should be given priority over reserved spaces on buses. In Paulley v First Group PLC , a bus company was ordered to pay compensation to a wheelchair user who was unable to board a bus because the wheelchair space was occupied by a mother and her baby, who was sleeping in a pushchair. As the child was asleep, the mother refused to move when asked by the driver and the wheelchair user had to wait for the next bus, causing him to miss a train and arrive over an hour late for a family lunch. The bus company in this case operated a ‘first come, first served’ policy for the use of the space and would only request that a non-wheelchair user move. The policy did not allow for the bus driver to insist that the woman move and close her pushchair. The bus company appealed the decision to award compensation to the wheelchair user.
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