Wetherby Wheelchair User Loses Bus Appeal

A wheelchair user from Wetherby's lost his appeal, after he wasn't allowed on a bus because a mum with a buggy was using the disabled space.

Doug Paulley's been told he can now take his case to the Supreme Court though.

Mr Paulley attempted to board a bus operated by FirstGroup Plc which had a sign saying:
"Please give up this space if needed for a wheelchair user.''

But he was left behind at the stop because a woman with a sleeping baby in a pushchair refused to move out of the designated area when asked by the bus driver, saying the buggy would not fold.

The appeal judges rejected Mr Paulley's claim of unlawful discrimination.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission, which backed his case, said:
"This judgment means a wheelchair user has no effective legal rights if unable to gain access to a bus because a traveller blocks the designated wheelchair space.''

FirstGroup Plc has a policy of "requesting but not requiring'' non-disabled travellers, including those with babies and pushchairs, to vacate the space if it is needed by a wheelchair user.

A judge at Leeds County Court ruled the policy was discriminatory and in breach of a duty under the Equality Act 2010 to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people.

Mr Paulley, 36, won £5,500 in damages against FirstGroup, after Recorder Paul Isaacs declared the company should have taken measures to ensure he was not at a disadvantage when he tried to get on the bus.

But that decision was overturned by the appeal court judges.

A date is et to be announced for the Supreme Court hearing. 

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