Newham’s disabled raise worries with transport staff
18:07 03 July 2014
Commuters have met with bus drivers to discuss accessible travel for the disabled and elderly after a wheelchair user was refused admission on four buses in a day.
Manor Park resident Jean Eveleigh, 34, of Third Avenue, contacted Transport for All, a charity driving the rights of vulnerable and disabled travellers, after she was denied access on a bus in favour of a woman boarding with a pushchair.
She said: “It happens all the time. During busier times it’s not unusual to be waiting after six buses a day.”
The charity set up the meeting on Wednesday of last week at the Lea Interchange Bus Depot.
In addition to TfL’s disability equality training, the session allowed drivers to ask questions directly of disabled and elderly passengers about the problems they face.
Topics discussed included how drivers can assist vulnerable passengers and the best ways to enforce wheelchair priority when competing for space with buggies.
Jean said: “Travelling in London is generally stressful. You never know how long it will take you to board a bus, or what kind of attitude you’ll get from the driver and other passengers, or whether or not they’ll even acknowledge you’re there to begin with.
“It can make travelling in London very frightening.”
She added: “The staff at operators Tower Transit have been amazing in their forward-thinking way of dealing with the issues highlighted by inviting us to come and discuss the issues with drivers, managers and training staff, to try and find solutions to improving bus journeys for all concerned.”
Vince Dalzell, the garage manager, said: “It has been a pleasure to have them talking, sharing stories and helping our staff to understand how elderly and disabled passengers’ needs differ from others.”