Bus companies urged to give clarity following ruling o...

Bus companies urged to give clarity following ruling on priority wheelchair spaces

18 January 2017

Britain’s largest union, Unite, called on bus companies to put in place guidance and procedures for bus drivers following today’s (Wednesday 18 January) Supreme Court ruling over wheelchair spaces on buses.

While welcoming the ruling by Lord Neuberger on the priority use of wheelchair spaces on buses, Unite warned it was only partial and could leave bus drivers in a position of conflict when non-wheelchair users refuse to vacate wheelchair spaces.

Unite which represents bus workers across the UK said it was concerned with the ambiguity and what ‘further steps’ would be acceptable in the following part of the ruling: “Where a driver who has made such a request concludes that such a refusal is unreasonable, he or she should consider some further step to pressurise the non-wheelchair user to vacate the space, depending on the circumstances.”

Commenting Unite national officer for transport Bobby Morton said: “This ruling is a step in the right direction, but the ambiguity of it and the onus on the bus driver to resolve disputes over wheelchair spaces potentially places them in a position of conflict.

“What further steps to pressurise non-wheelchair users to vacate spaces would be acceptable for example? This is why bus companies need to put in place clear guidance and procedures for bus drivers to ensure their safety and the comfort of passengers.”


For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869. 

Notes to editors

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.