Friday, 21 July 2017

Left On The Pavement... Again | Using The Bus As A Wheelchair User

I truly didn't believe that I would be writing this post, again. I didn't think I'd have to go through the humiliation of this event again. But here I am, with another story to tell you about how East Yorkshire Buses are totally failing wheelchair & powerchair users. Strap yourself in because I think you'll be raging just as much as I am by the time you've finished reading this post.

This whole situation started back in March when I was waiting to get a bus into Hull City Centre. It wasn't a very nice day, the weather was turning and I saw a East Yorkshire bus approaching, the one I wanted. So, I put my arm out as far as I could (which isn't as far as non-disabled people because you know, I'm disabled) and like you do you expect the bus to stop. I quickly realised that it wasn't slowing down though and I watched in disbelief as it drove straight past me. As it went by I caught a glimpse of the wheelchair space, I saw a parent with a buggy sat in it and immediately knew that was the reason why I'd been left on the pavement. I'd made eye contact with the driver, I'd put my arm out in plenty of time as well so I knew that he'd seen me.

When I confronted East Yorkshire they claimed that I hadn't signalled, the driver had 'missed me' and the buggy in the wheelchair space had nothing to do with the situation. I was basically blamed and all responsibility was put on me, all because I can't raise my arm as far as others can. I informed them that some people have no arm movement, some people have no arms and some visually impaired people don't know when the bus is approaching so they can't signal but East Yorkshire just didn't seem to care. I've also seen their buses stop for countless abled people who don't signal all the time so it's a quite frankly a rubbish excuse. They were discriminating against disabled people who couldn't signal for the bus to stop, it's that simple. They said they would inform their drivers to stop for every wheelchair user regardless of whether they signal in the future, but based on this week's events it's more likely that they told them to ignore every wheelchair user.


So, on to the most recent incident. Thursday 20th July 2017, just before midday. It was pouring down with rain outside, absolutely belting down but I had a hairdressers appointment, a welcome treat after a stressful few months that I was determined not to miss. So, I put on everything waterproof I had and braved the weather to go and get the bus into Hull City Centre. I took shelter under the bus shelter, but it didn't offer much protection from the rain as I waited for the bus. I saw an East Yorkshire bus approaching and so I wheeled up to the edge of the kerb and put my arm out. Now, since the first incident I've been causing myself a great deal of pain and discomfort in my shoulder from putting my arm out for buses further than I can manage to make sure that the incident didn't happen it again. So, at this point I'm holding my arm out, in pain, getting soaked in the rain. Just like before though the driver made eye contact with me, didn't slow down and drove straight past. And guess what? There was a buggy, two I think, in the wheelchair space. I was fuming. I couldn't believe what had happened. How was this happening again?

I saw another East Yorkshire bus approaching in the distance though so tried to quiet my rage for a moment. I did the same as before, I approached the kerb and put my arm out, causing me pain. What happened next left me appalled. The second bus also drove straight past me, the driver looking right at me as it happened and you can probably guess what was in the wheelchair space. That's right, a buggy. I was lost for words at this point. I was in pain, cold and soaked through from the rain. Humiliated as well. Absolutely humiliated. I eventually managed to get on the third bus that came by and by this point I didn't even feel like going out and having a nice time. I was close to tears and more angry than I thought was possible.

I immediately took to Twitter, because that's what I do as a disabled blogger, to tell the story and get some answers. I'll leave East Yorkshire's Twitter response below, a pretty disgusting way to talk to a customer and many of you agreed. The support on Twitter for me has been overwhelming and I'm so grateful.


I filled out East Yorkshire's complaint form and received an email back along of the lines of 'sorry you felt the need to complain again', only increasing my rage. They said they'd check the CCTV, speak to the drivers and get back to me. If it's anything like last time though I'm sure I'll be blamed and all responsibility will be placed on me. They can't tell me that the fact that all 3 buses that failed to stop had buggies on is a coincidence though. Once is a coincidence, three times is a problem. I'll be sure to update you all on Twitter on their response.

If I'm honest though, I'm exhausted. I'm exhausted from having to fight for my basic human rights. East Yorkshire are slowly stripping away all the confidence that I've built up around getting the bus, it's taken me a year to build up that confidence and it only took them 10 minutes to rip it away.

I'm not going to let this go though, I want answers and I want apologies.
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4 comments

  1. I am seething on your behalf, Shona. They have no business treating a human being this disgracefully, and when I saw all of your tweets yesterday I was gutted. So much for high court rulings.
    Xx

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    1. If a Supreme Court ruling can't even get me on the bus then what will? x

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  2. I am absolutely furious. This is discrimination, pure and simple. They should be asking people to move or collapse their buggy since by law you're entitled to that space. I'm disgusted by their response. Sending love xx

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    1. It really is discrimination but they will never own up to that fact! x

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