By Owen Bowcott in The Guardian.
Wheelchair users are to be given enhanced rights for bus travel, the government has announced, after a landmark supreme court judgment.
The transport minister, Nusrat Ghani, has promised to improve access to spaces on vehicles that are intended to be reserved for disabled passengers.
The decision follows the legal victory last year by the campaigner Doug Paulley in a ruling that said bus companies must do more to ensure wheelchair users are given priority spaces on buses.
The case revolved around Paulley’s attempt to board a FirstGroup bus from Wetherby to Leeds in February 2012. The wheelchair space was being used by a mother with a pushchair and a sleeping child.
The woman rejected the driver’s request to move or fold the pushchair and so the driver told Paulley he could not get on the vehicle. As a result, he missed his train connection at Leeds and was unable to meet his parents for lunch that day.
The government has accepted in principle the recommendations of a review group it established to consider the implications of the judgement.
The group’s report to ministers said that bus drivers “need to play an active role in ensuring that the wheelchair space is made available for passengers in wheelchairs, which includes requiring other passengers to move where necessary.” To do so, it said, drivers may need extra powers.
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