Bus firm Arriva wins landmark court case
Arriva North East has been told to make “adjustments” so wheelchair users are not unduly disadvantaged. An article about the original problem was written in December, it can be seen here.
Judge Peter Bowers at Teesside County Court ruled Arriva had not breached the Equality Act and had not left wheelchair users at “substantial disadvantage” over able bodied passengers.
Seven disabled people had claimed wheelchair users had been refused access to some buses where there was already a pushchair on board. Arriva said its staff complied fully with Department for Transport guidelines.
One of the judge’s recommendations for the Sunderland-based bus firm was a “hotline” for wheelchair-using passengers who want to use the service.
The company was being sued by several disabled people – with the support of Darlington Association on Disability (Dad) – who claimed they had experienced discrimination, such as being denied access to buses when wheelchair spaces were occupied by other passengers.
Chris Fry, managing partner at Unity Law, who was acting for the claimants – seeking £18,000 in compensation – said they would seek an appeal.
The campaigners had been challenging Arriva’s first come, first served policy that means drivers do not have to force passengers occupying wheelchair spaces to move if a wheelchair user wants to board.