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Riding public buses in UK

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  • Riding public buses in UK

    Anyone here who also rides buses in the UK, esp. London?

    Want to compare notes.....Having problems with increasing numbers of buggy users and drivers....

    Re- sharing the wheelchair space + being refused entry, which is contrary to the rules clearly displayed on the walls of the chair space.

    Edit- Just made my first poll. It's aimed primarily at UK public bus users. Wanting to know how common it is to be refused entry to buses because the priority wheelchair space has been occupied by buggy (pushchair) users who ignore the rules. Rules state that if the space is needed by a chair user, buggy users must fold them up and/or vacate the space.

    Buggy=pushchair /stroller / thing for transporting weens <kids + babies
    Yes it's a common problem for me
    It happens occasionally
    I've never been refused entry. Buggy users always comply with rules to fold up/vacate space.
    I travel on buses but can fold my chair up so no problem with space.
    I live in another country but have had similar problems
    I live in another country but seldom/never had problems like that.
    Last edited by Bear_on_wheels; 11-04-2012, 09:19 PM. Reason: Added note about my first poll

  • #2
    Never had the problem in the US. I've never seen anyone here even put a baby buggy in the WC space. I did have a strange experience on my last trip to UK. They were all pissed off that I didn't call ahead to tell them I was taking the train. I just jumped the little gap to get on. Seems they had a burning desire to put a ramp across it. Wanted to make me wait to get off until they found the ramp. I explained that I was a Yank and we all carry guns, so move out of the way.


    • #3
      I am interested to know how rural bus travel is in Ireland-anyone know?

      Baldfatdad-Love it/ I never let them ramp the gap in Boston-takes the fun right out of it! I just wheelie it-or gap it with my Freewheel. Its about a foot wide on the commuter rail I take-Good thing I use 26" knobbies.
      "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." - My Grammie


      • #4
        Low response to London Poll

        Re-Low no. of responses to public transport in London poll.
        Seems like not enough UK members here? 303 views so far but only 3 answers to the poll, one of whom was me!

        Maybe Ouch! BBC disability message board would be a better place? (If they allow polls?).


        • #5
          Its a big problem here in Ottawa Canada. I am refused several times a week, but we also do not have a policy about folding strollers. The city wanted to implement it a couple of years ago but it sadly didn't go anywhere.


          • #6
            Thanks for the responses that I did get

            Originally posted by baldfatdad View Post
            Never had the problem in the US. I've never seen anyone here even put a baby buggy in the WC space.
   come you don't get buggies in the wheelchair space in the USA? Where are they putting all the ''strollers'' as you call them?

            And how many wheelchairs can your space safely carry? You get your chair strapped down right?

            In London, there are no straps, clamps or similar. You travel facing backwards, with your chair backed up against an internal wall or partition of the bus. The wall has a strip of cushioning material on it.
            I'm unclear on exactly what it's there for. It doesn't work well as a back rest (I cut my w chairs low on the back). But it would, I think, help in case of a low speed crash, i.e reduce whiplash?

            Here are some links to pics, followed by my attempts to post the same pics on the page. Flickr doesn't seem to work (Copyright prob?)

            1a) Link to pic of Info Sticker Re-Wheelchair Space on London buses
            Sticker reads - ''Space for wheelchair user. Users should position the rear of their wheelchair against the backrest and apply the brakes.
            Please give up this space for a wheelchair user''


            1b) Pic of buggy sticker. ''It says:
            Buggies can use this area if it is not needed by a wheelchair user. Buggies may need to be folded at busy times''


            2) Link to pic of the ramps on London buses (also shows most of the wheelchair the middle of the back 'row' of the picture.


            3) Pic of wheelchair space from the inside (spot the cushioned board behind the wheelchair user. This board is important if you have a structural bar on your backrest or anything else sticking out right on the back of your chair. If you're planning to travel regularly on London/similar buses regularly, please think of how far out your backrest bar sticks. See my post below with boring but hopefully helpful to someone. Marked by a star *

            4) Interesting article on (seemingly) growing problem of buggies and the wheelchair space.


            + also interesting discussion on Mums Net forum, which suggests that many buggy users are able + willing to vacate the space However, that does nothing to fix the problem of bus drivers -not- bothering to ask buggy users to vacate the space, and simply shouting ''no room for you mate!'' and shutting doors in face of chair user then driving off with all the walkers on board (who weren't even at the stop half as long as you!).


            5) News - 'New' Routemaster Buses aka Boris Buses being released in London from Feb 2012 on route no.38 Victoria to Clapton.

            Frustratingly, from what I can gather, the w ch space on this bus is no bigger, or slightly smaller, than on previous buses. Ugh :/


            Last edited by Bear_on_wheels; 12-20-2012, 08:41 PM. Reason: Added note about star * re- design of backrest structure bar vs. travel safety


            • #7
              Pens fan in Ottawa,

              Really sorry to hear you're having same problem, but even more often :/

              So, if the ''priority wheelchair user'' rule got turned down, what are the rules now? First come first served? And whoever is
              occupying the space can stay there as long as they like? Even if it means leaving a chair user in the wind, rain and snow?
              (I guess it must happen.....if it can happen in London -with- the priority rule, it can happen in Ottawa without the rule)?

              The problem is, when chair users find the service so bad, many, I expect, are forced to give up using the buses altogether. After that happens, you get so few wheelchair users appearing in public, so to speak, that the abs, get the false impression that we don't want or need to use the bus./service, so why bother changing it?

              Already I've given up using London buses for some journeys. So people will see that space with buggies in and not realise why there is no chair user there. If I had the energy I would try and get a sort of arty campaign going to demonstrate that...e.g some stickers saying ''another wheelchair user wanted to be here but the service is so shite s/he can't get on board'' (words to that effect obviously).

              Maybe an idea for Ottawa? People need to see how many potential wheelchair user journeys there could be, for them to realise how many are being denied (or not, as I suppose depends on situation etc. Sometimes we really are few and far between, like, Space Stations or what have you (!))

              Tired....Off to bed dreaming of arty farty bus installations (Laugh at self!)
              Last edited by Bear_on_wheels; 12-20-2012, 06:57 PM. Reason: try n make waffle bit more structured....scaffolding for words


              • #8
                * Star - Sorry to post again, but I wish someone had told me this before I started buying my wheelchairs......

                I will find my tape measure and post accurate measurements...But basically, the structural bar that is behind your backrest, should be as shallow as is usual, or more shallow (better).
                It should also be at average height (measured from the ground to the bar) or lower (better in this case).

                Otherwise you cannot wedge/park yourself close to the cushioned board/wall on the bus. This causes your chair to suddenly tip backwards a few inches every time the bus decelerates suddenly. Only a few but enough to feel dodgy.

                As you're not strapped/clamped down, and may not have well designed/functioning brakes, it's (imho) really helpful to be able to minimise the gap between your chair and the cusioned board.

                You can do this by-
                - removing anything (backpacks etc) that sticks out from your backrest
                - designing any custom made chairs with a shallow backrest structural bar
                - getting a good set of brakes that can be applied -very- strongly without industrial sized tools

                Hope this info helps. I had multiple + serious problems with a 2nd hand Quickie ''Argon'' (aka ''Ti'' in USA?).Thanks to the forum members who posted many, in depth messages, I realised the problems were mostly chair based + managed to get a refund (after pointing the seller towards the posts). Thank you again to the posters! Your in-depth info saved my bacon


                • #9
                  For good stability when riding London buses, the structural bar that is behind your backrest should be about 2 inches (5cm) deep.

                  If it's about 4inches (10cm) or more deep it will prob mean you can't get close enough to the buses backrest cushion board thing. This makes your chair tip backwards a bit when the bus comes to a sudden stop.

                  You can avoid this by:
                  1) buying a chair with a structural bar is 2inches (5cm) or less deep.
                  2) buying a chair that has the bar set very low...about 18 inches (46cm) or less from the ground (when the back wheels + backrest/seat are set at your preferred height)

                  Most chairs are made with the backrest bar at a suitable depth of 2inches or less. But you do get exceptions. 2nd hand chairs that were custom made for the original owner can come with odd dimensions causing trouble. This is what happened to me.