London United apologises after wheelchair user told she cannot board 71 bus because of too many prams

A 71 bus at Copt Gilders - not the one pictured - failed to stop for wheelchair user Eve Hogben

A 71 bus at Copt Gilders - not the one pictured - failed to stop for wheelchair user Eve Hogben

First published in News Surrey Comet: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter

A disabled woman was left waiting at a bus stop after being told she could not board because prams were taking up too much space.

Eve Hogben, 28, who uses a wheelchair, was accompanied by her niece Amber, 21, when they were told they could not board the 71 bus at Copt Gilders in Chessington on Monday afternoon.

Wheelchair users are given priority over parents with pushchairs in the shared bay.

Dad Ian Hogben, 69, of Filby Road, Chessington, said: "The drivers don't insist that the people with pushchairs fold them up.

"One was prepared to get off the bus and wait for the next.

"Years ago the buggies always used to be folded.

"Now they're very reluctant to fold them up and drivers won't ask people.

"The wheelchair user doesn't have much alternative."

A London United spokesman said the incident was "regrettable and rare".

He added: "We endeavour to make disabled passengers' journeys as stress free and convenient as we can.

"Wheelchair users are given priority over parents with pushchairs in the shared bay.

"[While] one of the pushchair users offered to make room the other one refused, which would still not have been adequate for the procedure stipulated by Transport for London which we must adhere to.

"We would like to offer our apologies for the inconvenience caused."

Mr Hogben, a former bus driver, said he was "quite disgusted" by what happened, adding he thought London United was "passing the buck".

He added: "It's not the first time it's happened. It seems there's a regular thing.

"The same thing could equally happen if it's pouring with rain, or in winter, freezing cold.

"It's almost a case of discrimination against the disabled."

Fran O'Brien, founder of disability charity Yadapa and herself a wheelchair user, said: "I think the buses can be made a lot more accessible.

"It's a very difficult situation with the prams and I feel sorry for the mums. These days you could move house with one of those things - they're just enormous."

Motorised ramps allowing wheelchair access often break down, she added.

Comments (16)

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7:19am Wed 6 Aug 14

surfnutt says...

Bus drivers can only ask for buggies to make room as it states in the drivers handbook if they don't tell the wheelchair user why and to catch the next bus, Blame the buggies blame TFL do not blame the driver.
Bus drivers can only ask for buggies to make room as it states in the drivers handbook if they don't tell the wheelchair user why and to catch the next bus, Blame the buggies blame TFL do not blame the driver. surfnutt
  • Score: 8

9:03am Wed 6 Aug 14

helen59 says...

These buses are so over crowded.............
...I was on a bus where there were 4 pushchairs - 3 at the side and one in the passenger walkway........highl
y dangerous and hardly anyone could pass !! We need to tighten these rules up to guarantee everyone's safety
These buses are so over crowded............. ...I was on a bus where there were 4 pushchairs - 3 at the side and one in the passenger walkway........highl y dangerous and hardly anyone could pass !! We need to tighten these rules up to guarantee everyone's safety helen59
  • Score: 21

9:24am Wed 6 Aug 14

Amber93 says...

surfnutt wrote:
Bus drivers can only ask for buggies to make room as it states in the drivers handbook if they don't tell the wheelchair user why and to catch the next bus, Blame the buggies blame TFL do not blame the driver.
The bus driver didn't ask the buggy users to move... he said no, i reminded him it's a wheelchair space, he closed the doors and drove off.
[quote][p][bold]surfnutt[/bold] wrote: Bus drivers can only ask for buggies to make room as it states in the drivers handbook if they don't tell the wheelchair user why and to catch the next bus, Blame the buggies blame TFL do not blame the driver.[/p][/quote]The bus driver didn't ask the buggy users to move... he said no, i reminded him it's a wheelchair space, he closed the doors and drove off. Amber93
  • Score: 13

9:26am Wed 6 Aug 14

Angela M says...

I specifically chose a lightweight compact buggy with one-handed-umbrella-
fold for this exact purpose. However, I didn't realise at the time that as soon as you've got a pile of shopping and a crawling baby to contend with, folding the buggy is really difficult on your own! Also, lot of prams and buggies these days fold down more like a deck-chair style to fit in a car boot, but still take up pretty much the same floor space.

Presumably, most people on the bus are trying to get somewhere at a certain time. Taking small children to health appointments is very important, and missing them does count against you. Others mums may be taking their children to nursery before work. Asking anyone to take the next bus is unfair.

Yes, wheelchair passengers should of course take priority in the wheelchair space, but shouldn't there be more flexible spaces on buses with fold-down seats? if out of necessity you are travelling alone on public transport with a wriggly child, it may not be as simple as just getting off the bus or folding your buggy.

In the meantime, I'll just walk.
I specifically chose a lightweight compact buggy with one-handed-umbrella- fold for this exact purpose. However, I didn't realise at the time that as soon as you've got a pile of shopping and a crawling baby to contend with, folding the buggy is really difficult on your own! Also, lot of prams and buggies these days fold down more like a deck-chair style to fit in a car boot, but still take up pretty much the same floor space. Presumably, most people on the bus are trying to get somewhere at a certain time. Taking small children to health appointments is very important, and missing them does count against you. Others mums may be taking their children to nursery before work. Asking anyone to take the next bus is unfair. Yes, wheelchair passengers should of course take priority in the wheelchair space, but shouldn't there be more flexible spaces on buses with fold-down seats? if out of necessity you are travelling alone on public transport with a wriggly child, it may not be as simple as just getting off the bus or folding your buggy. In the meantime, I'll just walk. Angela M
  • Score: 16

10:24am Wed 6 Aug 14

elyobelyob says...

Let me check the 71 timetable. Oh, there'll be another one along in 8 minutes.
Let me check the 71 timetable. Oh, there'll be another one along in 8 minutes. elyobelyob
  • Score: 1

11:28am Wed 6 Aug 14

Angela M says...

elyobelyob wrote:
Let me check the 71 timetable. Oh, there'll be another one along in 8 minutes.
I was referring to buses generally. This has happened on many other routes, some of which are scheduled 20 minutes apart or more. Even with these very regular buses there are no guarantees. The 93 bus for example, which supposedly comes every 6-7 minutes, except when there's nothing for 20 minutes followed by 3 at once.
[quote][p][bold]elyobelyob[/bold] wrote: Let me check the 71 timetable. Oh, there'll be another one along in 8 minutes.[/p][/quote]I was referring to buses generally. This has happened on many other routes, some of which are scheduled 20 minutes apart or more. Even with these very regular buses there are no guarantees. The 93 bus for example, which supposedly comes every 6-7 minutes, except when there's nothing for 20 minutes followed by 3 at once. Angela M
  • Score: 12

3:07pm Wed 6 Aug 14

The whole truth 5 says...

This journalist is awful! The lady with the pushchair refused to fold up her buggy. The Driver asked her, but what else can he do? He can't physically make her can he? This is a non story.
This journalist is awful! The lady with the pushchair refused to fold up her buggy. The Driver asked her, but what else can he do? He can't physically make her can he? This is a non story. The whole truth 5
  • Score: 3

3:47pm Wed 6 Aug 14

anon122 says...

I saw an elderly gentleman and his carer refused entry to the K3 bus because of a buggy, it was freezing with ice on the ground. When I challenged the driver he said 'why should I bother asking people who are going to refuse?' The mother concerned told me her little boy, who was about 6 weeka old, was disabled, he was small enough to be held. This woman just couldn't be bothered...lets hope when her son is bigger and in a wheelchair people dont treat him in the appalling way his mother behaved. I complained to the bus company, the drver is still on the K3 route. I had some sympathy with him having challenged the woman myself. I walked everywhere when my children were young, I suggest other Mums do the same if they cant be bothered to fold pushchairs. wheelchair users don't have this luxury.
I saw an elderly gentleman and his carer refused entry to the K3 bus because of a buggy, it was freezing with ice on the ground. When I challenged the driver he said 'why should I bother asking people who are going to refuse?' The mother concerned told me her little boy, who was about 6 weeka old, was disabled, he was small enough to be held. This woman just couldn't be bothered...lets hope when her son is bigger and in a wheelchair people dont treat him in the appalling way his mother behaved. I complained to the bus company, the drver is still on the K3 route. I had some sympathy with him having challenged the woman myself. I walked everywhere when my children were young, I suggest other Mums do the same if they cant be bothered to fold pushchairs. wheelchair users don't have this luxury. anon122
  • Score: 6

3:58pm Wed 6 Aug 14

WackerJ says...

Basically the law needs to be changed to ensure that there is a space for wheelchair users. Where I live, the bus invariably has to leave disabled chair users at the bus stop because of the usual clutter of single mothers taking up all the allowed space and more. And it's no use saying wait for the next bus as that's normally the same.
Basically the law needs to be changed to ensure that there is a space for wheelchair users. Where I live, the bus invariably has to leave disabled chair users at the bus stop because of the usual clutter of single mothers taking up all the allowed space and more. And it's no use saying wait for the next bus as that's normally the same. WackerJ
  • Score: -3

4:08pm Wed 6 Aug 14

Amber93 says...

The whole truth 5 wrote:
This journalist is awful! The lady with the pushchair refused to fold up her buggy. The Driver asked her, but what else can he do? He can't physically make her can he? This is a non story.
Not sure if you read the comment above... The bus driver did not ask the buggy users at all.
[quote][p][bold]The whole truth 5[/bold] wrote: This journalist is awful! The lady with the pushchair refused to fold up her buggy. The Driver asked her, but what else can he do? He can't physically make her can he? This is a non story.[/p][/quote]Not sure if you read the comment above... The bus driver did not ask the buggy users at all. Amber93
  • Score: 0

6:54pm Wed 6 Aug 14

Donsmk says...

It very rare this happens on route 71 as the drivers that drive this route know the regulars on it and endeavour to do a fine job as you make 5,6,7 trips a day to chessington/Kingston and get to know there regular people in a wheelchair esp in Gilders
It very rare this happens on route 71 as the drivers that drive this route know the regulars on it and endeavour to do a fine job as you make 5,6,7 trips a day to chessington/Kingston and get to know there regular people in a wheelchair esp in Gilders Donsmk
  • Score: 12

12:19pm Thu 7 Aug 14

Imigrante says...

What had happened here was indeed not good.
But people should not be blaming the bus driver.
The problem here is that the driver can ask the people with pram/buggies if they can be folded or moved.
BUT, the big questions is - what will happen if they refused to move or fold their buggies? In these times, he can be either verbally abused or worst assaulted.
What had happened here was indeed not good. But people should not be blaming the bus driver. The problem here is that the driver can ask the people with pram/buggies if they can be folded or moved. BUT, the big questions is - what will happen if they refused to move or fold their buggies? In these times, he can be either verbally abused or worst assaulted. Imigrante
  • Score: 3

12:38pm Thu 7 Aug 14

WackerJ says...

Imigrante wrote:
What had happened here was indeed not good.
But people should not be blaming the bus driver.
The problem here is that the driver can ask the people with pram/buggies if they can be folded or moved.
BUT, the big questions is - what will happen if they refused to move or fold their buggies? In these times, he can be either verbally abused or worst assaulted.
................and that is exactly why the law needs to be changed. Then he could refuse to move his bus until they did and the police called if the need arose.
[quote][p][bold]Imigrante[/bold] wrote: What had happened here was indeed not good. But people should not be blaming the bus driver. The problem here is that the driver can ask the people with pram/buggies if they can be folded or moved. BUT, the big questions is - what will happen if they refused to move or fold their buggies? In these times, he can be either verbally abused or worst assaulted.[/p][/quote]................and that is exactly why the law needs to be changed. Then he could refuse to move his bus until they did and the police called if the need arose. WackerJ
  • Score: 5

7:01pm Thu 7 Aug 14

kazzywazzy85 says...

Donsmk wrote:
It very rare this happens on route 71 as the drivers that drive this route know the regulars on it and endeavour to do a fine job as you make 5,6,7 trips a day to chessington/Kingston and get to know there regular people in a wheelchair esp in Gilders
i was this lady's support worker for nearly 3years and used the bus every day. This happened to us at least 3 times a week. She was very often late for college as we were told to wait for the next bus as there were pushchairs on. Four buses later and we'd be on the bus all because of pushchairs being in the way. When phoning London United to complain was told that they were sorry and it wouldn't happen again as they would instruct their drivers to radio the garage and get the following bus to refuse pushchairs so that we could get on. Guess what.......never happened.
[quote][p][bold]Donsmk[/bold] wrote: It very rare this happens on route 71 as the drivers that drive this route know the regulars on it and endeavour to do a fine job as you make 5,6,7 trips a day to chessington/Kingston and get to know there regular people in a wheelchair esp in Gilders[/p][/quote]i was this lady's support worker for nearly 3years and used the bus every day. This happened to us at least 3 times a week. She was very often late for college as we were told to wait for the next bus as there were pushchairs on. Four buses later and we'd be on the bus all because of pushchairs being in the way. When phoning London United to complain was told that they were sorry and it wouldn't happen again as they would instruct their drivers to radio the garage and get the following bus to refuse pushchairs so that we could get on. Guess what.......never happened. kazzywazzy85
  • Score: 6

2:43pm Fri 8 Aug 14

The whole truth 5 says...

Amber93 wrote:
The whole truth 5 wrote:
This journalist is awful! The lady with the pushchair refused to fold up her buggy. The Driver asked her, but what else can he do? He can't physically make her can he? This is a non story.
Not sure if you read the comment above... The bus driver did not ask the buggy users at all.
I was there. Two woman with buggies, One woman offered to get off the Bus the other refused which did not leave sufficient room for the wheelchair user. You shouldn't believe everything you read. This Journalist is trying to make the story more interesting than it was.
[quote][p][bold]Amber93[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]The whole truth 5[/bold] wrote: This journalist is awful! The lady with the pushchair refused to fold up her buggy. The Driver asked her, but what else can he do? He can't physically make her can he? This is a non story.[/p][/quote]Not sure if you read the comment above... The bus driver did not ask the buggy users at all.[/p][/quote]I was there. Two woman with buggies, One woman offered to get off the Bus the other refused which did not leave sufficient room for the wheelchair user. You shouldn't believe everything you read. This Journalist is trying to make the story more interesting than it was. The whole truth 5
  • Score: 5

4:26pm Tue 12 Aug 14

Hayley2014 says...

About time! Happens to me at least 3 times a week. Some bus drivers are lovely and attempt to ask the mothers to move their prams but some do not even bother. What annoys me is that space was not there before ramps where installed so how the hell did mums survive before? It is just lazy people who can not be bothered and more has to to done to stop this. Well done for getting this highlighted :)
About time! Happens to me at least 3 times a week. Some bus drivers are lovely and attempt to ask the mothers to move their prams but some do not even bother. What annoys me is that space was not there before ramps where installed so how the hell did mums survive before? It is just lazy people who can not be bothered and more has to to done to stop this. Well done for getting this highlighted :) Hayley2014
  • Score: 3

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