Bus Users disappointed at Supreme Court Ruling
With both sides claiming victory, Bus Users has expressed disappointment at today’s ruling by the Supreme Court in the case of FirstGroup plc v Paulley.
The ruling has allowed Doug Paulley’s appeal, but only to the extent that FirstGroup’s policy requiring a driver to simply request a non-wheelchair user to vacate the space without taking any further steps was unjustified.
In its press statement, the Supreme Court states that ‘where a driver who has made such a request concludes that a refusal is unreasonable, he or she should consider some further steps to pressurise the non-wheelchair user to vacate the space, depending on the circumstances.’ However, it did not make it a legal requirement that someone refusing to vacate the space should be required to leave the bus.
Claire Walters, Chief Executive of Bus Users said: “This ruling has failed to provide clarity for either drivers or passengers. While it is now a requirement for drivers to take further steps where a reasonable request to move is refused, it is not clear what those steps should be and the driver has no legal basis on which to require a passenger to leave the bus if they refuse to move.
“Rather than having to decide whose needs are greatest, what is actually needed are better-designed buses that can accommodate the needs of the people who use them.”