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EHRC: Major Bus Company Commits to Significant Change for Disabled Passengers


Bus traveller

Key issue: Access to public transport for disabled people

Case: Grant v Arriva London North Ltd


Following our support for a legal challenge, Arriva London North Ltd has come to a legally binding agreement with a passenger from London to help ensure that their drivers do more to enable disabled people to access public transport.

Nina Grant has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and uses a wheelchair to facilitate her independence. Despite a ruling from the Supreme Court in Paulley v FirstBus plc that bus companies must end ‘first come, first served’ policies and do more to provide access for wheelchair users, she has regularly been left kerbside by bus drivers. On one occasion a driver failed to open the doors to her before driving off, as he said that there was a buggy in the wheelchair space and this couldn’t be moved.

As a result of Nina’s challenge, with immediate effect, Arriva has agreed:

  • To improve accessibility for disabled passengers.
  • Every induction for a driver shall include comprehensive mandatory training on the Equality Act and the duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled passengers.
  • Every driver shall be required to undertake refresher training in relation to the above and shall be assessed to a minimum competency standard, a record to be maintained on each driver’s personnel file. Such training shall form part of each driver’s mandatory CPC training regime.
  • Should a driver fail to reach the Competency Standard as specified above, the driver shall not be permitted to drive pending successful resolution of the training course.
  • At the end of each shift, every driver shall be required to complete and file a record of each occasion when during their shift, access has been refused to a wheelchair user. Failure to do so will give rise to an investigation in respect of that driver, and where appropriate, disciplinary action.

Nina said, “This case was all about accountability to disabled passengers. I hope that others will benefit from this Court Order which binds Arriva to what is essentially a code of practice affecting their own policing of the need for priority for disabled passengers to have priority access to the wheelchair space. Drivers need to know that their behaviour matters and will be scrutinised at the depot.”

Nina had representation from Fry Law and Cloisters Chambers. We supported this case as we want to make sure that transport providers are doing all they reasonably can to ensure that disabled people have access to public transport. We are pleased to see one of the UK’s biggest bus companies implemented these much needed changes.

Source: Equality & Human Rights Commission

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