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Sal Brinton receives apology from Transport for London after being denied access to bus

September 11, 2017 7:16 PM
By NewsHound in Liberal Democrat Voice
Originally published by South Lincolnshire Liberal Democrats

Sal BrintonYou would think, by now, that bus drivers would not be so crass as to refuse to ask someone with a buggy to make way for someone in a wheelchair. Unfortunately, this is not the case as Party President Sal Brinton found out on Monday.

She later spoke to the Evening Standard about this:

Transport for London has apologised to Baroness Brinton and launched an investigation.

She told the Standard: "The bus was fairly empty, but regardless - if the wheelchair goes in first you can fit both a buggy and a wheelchair in the spaceā€¦ In fact, that's exactly what happened when I boarded another bus afterwards.

"I couldn't see the parent, and the driver did not put down the ramp and said they were not prepared to ask the parent to make space so it made it impossible for me and so I had to wait."

She added: "It made me very angry, and even more so because this is not the first time this has happenedā€¦ When this happened to me two years ago, I spoke to TfL and they said they would make sure bus companies trained drivers so that this would be avoided. Clearly that was not the case."

Well done to Sal for highlighting her experience. She's previously written about the frankly appalling way she and others have been treated on the railways.

"I tend to find that problems tend to arise with the lack of safe systems to prevent individual staff messing things up. In the last 6 months that I have been using a wheelchair full time I have experienced the following:-

  1. Last Sunday, returning from the Scottish Lib Dem Conference in Aberdeen, I was left on an empty train on an empty platform at midnight at King's Cross for over 15 minutes before I spotted someone on the first floor, and waved furiously to get her attention;

  1. Refused permission on to a pre-booked train, because rush hour commuters rushed on the train ahead of me, and the train conductor didn't want to move the commuters and risk being late - even though she watched them barge past the National Rail guy with the ramp and me;

  1. Often been taken off the train by the conductor because the station staff weren't notified I was on the train;

  1. Having to be transported off the end of a rail platform, across the rail lines and up the other side, because many of our stations, even on main lines like Brockenhurst on the London to Bournemouth line, don't have lifts;

  1. And been told by Complaints Dept at First Capital Connect that lifts at Luton aren't on the capital works schedule for some years and it is also acceptable not to have lifts there because they are available at Luton Airport station;

  1. Wheelchair spaces in new trains tend to be beside the toilets, which is great, but not when they are smelly, or worse, out of order on long journeys.

  1. * Newshound: bringing you the best Lib Dem commentary published in print or online.