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Bus drivers refusal to take wheelchair bound passenger highlights discriminatory nature of banning taxis from London's roads

8 May 2019

 

As yet another wheelchair user is prevented from accessing London's bus service, it is now looking as though the banning of taxis from prescribed roads across London, has by default, become a discriminatory act against the disabled community.


It was reported by the BBC that wheelchair user, Katie Pennick, was refused access to both the 141service and the 253 service as she attempted to travel from Stoke Newington to Holloway on Sunday.

Katie stated that the incident was not an isolated one, but something that has become a repeated occurrence, consequently making her feel like a second-class citizen.

She even managed to film one of the drivers, allowing other passengers to get on the bus

first, leaving her stranded at the side of the road, with the driver arguing that those with disabilities don't have priority, and unbelievably claiming that legislation had changed.


This continued action flies directly in the face of a Supreme Court ruling in 2017 which says wheelchair users must be given priority on buses.

Claire Mann, TfL's director of bus operations. Issued an apology, stating that it was essential that wheelchair users are given priority in the allocated area on buses adding, "clearly something has gone wrong here. "

Katie was also informed that TfL would investigate thw incident with the bus company.

This, however, has been met with short shrift by Ms Pennick who said that she has lodged complaints with TfL in the past, with previous responses to her concerns being "quite faceless".

She stated that TfL issue the same reply time and again, uet nothing tangoble ever materialises to tackle the problem.

Ms Pennick's situation is by no means an isolated incident in London. Given the fact that many of London's underground stations are not wheelchair accessible and therefore simply cannot be used, the disabled community really do have reduced mobility options.

However, with London's only fully wheelchair accessible fleet, the black taxi, excluded from a number of roads across London, and some bus drivers refusing wheelchair users access to the bus network, it is abundantly clear to many, that the disabled community are being treated like an inconvenient annoyance by various authorities across capital.

The ludicrous situation where those with mobility issues as well as those with a visual impairment, are somehow expected to be able to make their own way to their location of choice, so as to satisfy any given councils', seemingly Utopian "vanity project" falls way beyond what should be expected from those living in a civilised society, or a modern city.

In relation to the issues pertaining to Katie Pennick's case, there will of course be the usual "wailing and gnashing of teeth", followed by the wringing of clammy hands, before somebody follows up with the phrase du-jour, "lessons must be learned."

As for the taxi industry, there will always be the usual meaningless, anodyne mantras expounded by any number of councillors, vainly attempting to justify excluding taxis from certain roads, thus discriminating against the disabled community, who simply want to get from A to B in safety. 

 

Image Source: LEVC

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