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Buggy-hating 176 driver
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jeje


Posts: 6
Joined: Apr 2008
Post: #1
23-10-2010 11:03 AM

I waited at the bus stop on Grove Lane with my two-year-old son (in a buggy) for about ten minutes yesterday, when the 176, with destination Penge on the front, approached. I hailed the bus clearly and in good time, but the bus driver just looked at me, shrugged and sped on. The bus was too fast for me to note its number. My impression was the bus had some passengers on board, but that it was near-empty. And even if there were buggies on board, it should still have stopped and given me the option to fold my buggy, which I was prepared to do.

A similar incident occured to me at the bus stop outside the police station on Lordship Lane, about a month ago, same route and similar time of day, the bus driven by a male of similar physical description. On that occasion I could see that there were some buggies onboard, the driver held up his hands and carried on without stopping - then too, I would have been happy to fold my buggy to be able to board the bus.

Today we waited a further 5 minutes, and a 185 bus eventually arrived to take us to our destination by the Horniman Museum (that is, there wasn't another 176 just behind him). I am so frustrated and angry that this driver looks on passengers with small children as a hindrance easily overcome by simply ignoring them.

I have lodged a complaint with London Transport and would really appreciate it if anyone who might have experienced something similar would do the same.

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roz


Posts: 1,790
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #2
23-10-2010 09:42 PM

I've encountered this sort of thing a few times mostly on the buses going up Sydenham Hill from opposite the Horniman Triangle and I am my children have been left in the freezing cold and pouring rain. Usually the bus drivers do slow down and stop and then tell me I can't get on but also sometimes they assume that your buggy can't fit on and have been pleasantly surprised when it does.
What happened to you was unacceptable but it might be part of whats been going on recently in respect of consultations about buggies being refused in case they take up a wheelchair space. Probably worth enquiring about that. To be honest the biggest problem I have had with buses has been some of the other passengers who refused to move from the buggy area even though there were seats available elsewhere.

There is no easy solution to all of this; many people object to buggies getting onto buses and don't go out of their way to accommodate them. At peak hours its just not worth the trouble. I have been on the single door p4 buses with a buggy with people hurling abuse when I had to get them all off the bus so that we could disembark at our stop. The best examples of good practice seem to be on the Brighton buses which seem to be designed to take 4 or more buggies at a time and the drivers have a much more friendly attitude.

After all this is not about denying access to a buggy, its denying access to young children, who do have the same rights as everyone else to public transport but suffer considerable discrimination.

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dipsolala


Posts: 69
Joined: May 2008
Post: #3
23-10-2010 11:09 PM

Just the other day, as i was out and about, i saw a gentleman in a wheelchair who looked in some need. He told me he needed to get to the bus stop, luckily i was going that way. The bus stopped but the ground was uneven so the ramp couldn't secure safely the driver, instead of driving off as i have seen before in a a really bad rin deluge, reversed onto even ground and re-ramped. The driver knew the bus was packed and that there were buggies, but obviously realised DDA was focused on disabled people. There was one buggy with a child, one 'buggy' filled with shopping, when i asked for the shopping buggy to be folded i, and he, was met with abuse. Either of the buggies could could have been folded down, like that was going to happen.
I had to take the gentleman off the bus in the end due to the selfish behavior of those buggy owners.

I'm not casting aspertions merely stating facts

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jeje


Posts: 6
Joined: Apr 2008
Post: #4
24-10-2010 11:31 AM

Roz - sorry to hear that your experiences have been so negative. This was a low point for me, but I've had lots of positive experiences too - there is one P4 driver in particular who will often let on three or four buggies, if there's space, and blows the bus's horn loudly when we disembark, to the great delight of my tot. I would love to commend him to his bosses, but think I will probably get him into trouble if I do... I encourage you to use the London Transport site, which makes it very simple to lodge a complaint should you have a negative experience - this can give those making decisions about buggy use on buses a taster of our tricky reality.

I am sad to hear that there is a possibility that the wheelchair area should prohibit buggies at all times, though. Dipsolala, I was a bit confused by your "stating of the facts", but I guess you are saying that you are in agreement with this. I am sorry to hear that you and the person you were helping had such a negative encounter. The wheelchair/buggy area is full of signs stating that wheelchair users have priority, I have certainly always understood that and would have had no problem folding my buggy in that scenario. I'm surprised the bus driver wasn't more insistent that the area was cleared.

But I do resent the way those with small children are often treated as a big nuisance. We were all small once, where's the empathy? I use public transport all the time, and in this past year, I recall only one incident where a person on a wheelchair got on board. What is the harm in having us use the space when the bus is empty? When the baby is small, the maneuvre of folding a buggy with one hand, a floppy baby and a sack of nappies in the other, possibly in the rain, is even harder than it sounds. I used to get around this problem by carrying him in a sling. But he is now 12 kg, and that is no longer an option. He is also still very unsteady on his legs, so we can't yet pack the contraption away, as dearly as I'd love to.

All I'm asking for is that the bus treats my son and I with the same entitlement everyone else gets. Stop the bus, give me an option to park my buggy in the wheelchair space (with implicit understanding that I will fold it if the space is required by a wheelchair user) or to fold it should the space already be occupied.

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brian


Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #5
24-10-2010 06:28 PM

The wheel chair gentleman has my 100% sympathy. The so called ladies should be ashamed of themselves

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roz


Posts: 1,790
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #6
24-10-2010 07:51 PM

I have also understood the priority that wheelchairs and their users have on buses so have always been prepared to get off and wait for the next one to allow a person in a wheelchair on, if there is not enough room. I have twins plus a toddler so folding a double buggy and putting them all on my knee will never be an option. When we did have the one and used a single hand fold McClaren it was easy however unless loaded with shopping but it does depend on someone giving up their seat to the parent/carer as its not safe for someone to either stand with a small child in their arms, or for the child to stand by its parent on a moving bus. However, its not easy to get people to do that. We'll never have the ideal world however personally I don't see why modern bus design in London can't be more like that on some of the south coast routes which can accommodate more buggies (and indeed more wheelchairs) which if not used has flip down seats for several passengers. Both wheelchair passengers and children do have certain rights to be guaranteed access to public transport and more able bodied people should be prepared to make way for them.

I am surprised that the driver did not do more to enforce a solution in Dipsolala's example, including refusing to move off unless resolved. He had every right to do so and I'm sure some other passenger would have helped the parent/carer to fold down the buggy?

Brian, how do you know those people were ' ladies' or even ' women? There was no mention of gender within those posts.

If I can find the link for the various consultations going on re buggies v wheelchair users I'll post it here.

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dipsolala


Posts: 69
Joined: May 2008
Post: #7
24-10-2010 08:50 PM

I'm pleased that there is a knowledge of disabled access to buses (and other forms of transport I hope) in this thread. I'm sad that anyone gets ignored by a bus driver etc for any reason.

The bus driver was a women. Nobody, parent or carer, offered to fold down their buggy. They just saw the wheelchair user as a hinderence, slowing down their journey and taking up space; and responded with abuse.

It's not nice to be ignored, but it's a great shame to be ignorant and self-centered.

Maybe there is a reporting system for DDA non-compliance Roz, I'll look into it

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calvin


Posts: 62
Joined: Feb 2006
Post: #8
24-10-2010 09:36 PM

Recently I was on a bus with a buggy, along with another woman with buggy and child. When a group of children from Rainbow holiday club tried to get on, one of whom was in a wheelchair, the driver refused to let them on. This was met with an argument about wheelchair priority from one of the carers. The driver told her that wheelchairs no longer have priority on buses. The other woman and I were dumbfounded as thios was news to all of us, and we both chose to disembark to allow the children on. I would have folded but was only two stops from home.

On the flip side, I was left at the side of the road by at least four buses that refused to stop (some waved, some ignored) as I tried to get to hospital with a two-year-old who had broken his leg (he had fallen asleep as I checked his leg & comforted him). I had to go home and wait for him to wake up so I could leave the buggy at home & carry him. I haven't bothered complaining because these incidents are too frequent for me to believe they aren't sanctioned from above.

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Sherwood


Posts: 1,347
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #9
25-10-2010 08:59 AM

I was on a bus when a wheelchair user wanted to get on, although the wheelchair space was already occupied by a buggy. The driver isnsited that the buggy be folded.

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brian


Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #10
25-10-2010 02:40 PM

Sorry I was assuming the offenders were women , they were certainly not ladies.
Of course could have been men , but obviously not gentlemen

Just travelled on a bus and the sign definately gives impression that push chair users could only use if space not required for a wheel care.

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dipsolala


Posts: 69
Joined: May 2008
Post: #11
25-10-2010 04:18 PM

Well I had a little google session and found the following pages...

How to complain about bus services from directgov (not sure who the 176 operator is)

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTra...G_10036241

And a news feature from March this year about cracking down on folding buggies down for whelchair users and other 'concerns' on buses. Where I'm astounded to read "Current legislation requires a bus driver to allow a wheelchair user to board if a wheelchair space is unoccupied."

Surely this must mean by another wheelchair user? Confused

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8560828.stm

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roz


Posts: 1,790
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #12
25-10-2010 07:02 PM

I think by definition that it must mean that as its clearly stated on buses that wheelchair users do get priority over anyone else, and rightly so to be honest however I do feel its unnecessary to pitch children in buggies against people in wheelchairs and therein lies the problem. There is probably enough space on an average bus for one wheelchair and two single buggies if certain poles etc where removed.

By the same definition, buggy users should be able to occupy that space if not occupied by other buggies or wheelchair users. That should be reinforced by drivers and bus company legislation so that young children- not buggies- get the priority and respect that they need on public transport. Too often passengers do not move along and are instantly irrirated when a parent with a buggy tries to get on. I do think that the challenges that parents have on that front tends to worsen their behaviour when challenged.

Carers with double buggies and twins/two children or more also need further consideration on buses as they are special cases as most double buggies take up as much room folded up as they do when upright and its just impractical to do in any case and certainly not safe to sit and hold two or more children. Assuming they get a seat either.

Theres nothing mentioned in all the media coverage about parents with young children being given priority seating either; are they expected to stand and hold these young children?

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Applespider


Posts: 283
Joined: Feb 2006
Post: #13
25-10-2010 09:36 PM

I guess part of the problem is that it's not always obvious when the bus sails by, whether the buggy area is full or not - and what gets priority there. What about those with luggage (e.g. heavy cases that can't be easily lifted into the bigger racks)? Should someone fold a buggy to let a suitcase like that on board?

When the bus is quiet (or where there are multiple kids in the buggy), then let them stay open but people should be aware that they might need to fold them - particularly if another parent is about to be denied getting on.

Seats-wise, I'll give a seat to someone who is folding their buggy and now facing holding a child. I don't see why someone should give up their seat so someone can sit and watch their child in the buggy.

One thing that does get my goat though is when, on a busy bus, you see toddlers sitting in a seat of their own while paying adults are standing. Yes, there are occasions where their mother is pregnant or the accompanying adult has multiple bags on their lap etc and that's fine. But I'm pretty sure it used to be more common to have children on laps when there were few seats left and let others sit down.

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brian


Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #14
26-10-2010 08:22 AM

I agree with your point Applespider.

I would give my seat to a lady carrying a young child but not if the child is still in the buggy.

I would also like to ask why mothers do not ask their older children to give their seats up to those whose need is greater.

I have often given up my seat despite being one of the older passengers and having medical problems to older passengers when children between 5 and say 12 are sitting down.
I well remember my mother insisting I stood up to let any adult sit down.

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NewForester


Posts: 377
Joined: Feb 2008
Post: #15
26-10-2010 09:30 AM

@dipsolala
The operators of our bus services are:
176 - Arriva London
197 - Arriva London
122 - Selkent
356 - Selkent
P4 - Selkent
185 - GoAhead

Stagecoach recently purchased the East London Bus Group (which includes Selkent) for £52.8M having sold it four years ago for £264M. They are aiming to improve performance, so lets hope for improvements on the P4, 356 and 122.

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brian


Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #16
26-10-2010 01:32 PM

To be honest I find most of the drivers excelleny. Of course always a few rogues in every profession.
They have been great recently when I have had mobility problems in lowering thefront floor and waiting until I am seated. I think the complaint was mainly about the other passengers who refused to remove their pushchairs when asked to do so , to allow the gentleman on a wheel chair to enter.

Where did this word Buggie come from surely it is a pushchair. Strange also you do noy see many prambulators nowadays.

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dbboy


Posts: 201
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #17
26-10-2010 05:04 PM

When buses had a fall complement of seats these issues did not arise, however sine tfl ripped out seats to get more people to travel on the buses and the introduction of facilities for those who are disabled, has resulted in it becoming a free for all. I thought parents could bring push chairs, buggies, prams or what ever you want to call these contraptions onto the bus as long as they were prepared to fold then up if no space was available. What is annoying is when you happen to be standing in the wheel chair area as the bus is rammed solid with passengers and someone with a push chair gets on and decides they donít want to fold the pushchair and decide to ram it into anyone in the way, resulting with a killer stare if you donít get out of the way.

Buses carry adverts about passengers showing consideration to each other. It works both ways.

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roz


Posts: 1,790
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #18
26-10-2010 08:41 PM

It does work both ways but it would be helpful to have clarity on the hierarchy of needs as the whole bus thing is a nightmare from anyones point of view. As I said before, this is all about children, not buggies.

If I get on the bus with my double buggy and toddler in tow, I do expect people standing in that area to move over to let us park in the appropriate place. If they don't, expect an argument as I will exercise my childrens right to get on. If I can get a seat I will put my toddler on my knee in order to save a seat for an adult assuming the driver isnt speeding round corners at high speed, like the P4 drivers are prone to doing.
If a wheelchair user tries to get on subsequently, I will decide whether we can realistically get off and walk the rest of the way. That will depend on the distance and whether I think my toddler is up to it. If not, then we are staying put. Folding up a double buggy with three young children is not possible at all. I expect therefore that my children get priority status in that context. Its tough on the subsequent wheelchair user but other than not attempt to use public transport at all, theres no other solution. And I'm not prepared to stop doing it, despite the uproar and outraged facial expressions that might ensue.

Many parents these days use buses to get from A to B for a reason, not just a trip to the park. They may be trying to get back in a hurry to pick up another child from school or nursery.

I would still like to hear more about whether some of these ( usually mothers) people of disrepute can actually expect to be offered a seat if they fold their buggy as Ive seen so many examples on the tube where this doesn't happen.

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dbboy


Posts: 201
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #19
26-10-2010 09:01 PM

Correct me if I'm wrong, but pushcahirs do travel free on the buses don't they? Whilst everyone else pays!!!!!

See if its off peak, I see no problem with buggies on buses, the issue comes into play whebn its peak time and the busesarealready full with people going to work and additionaly overloaded with school children, something has to give

So I think the "If I get on the bus with my double buggy and toddler in tow, I do expect people standing in that area to move over to let us park in the appropriate place. If they don't, expect an argument as I will exercise my childrens right to get on" is a really strong statement to be making

I can't see what abusing other passengers to get your own way is going to achieve apart from getting their backs up even more.

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roz


Posts: 1,790
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #20
26-10-2010 10:54 PM

Good- time for strong statements and sorry (not really) to offend anyone by asserting my and my childrens right to travel, oh and yes, another not really sorry if doing that now constitutes 'abusing other passengers'. Time to get tough with the obnoxious British anti child wingeing that is so prevalent amongst the travelling public. The fact is, buggies may use the space if not used by a wheelchair user. It states clearly that position on most buses. There is as far as I am aware no legislation to curb parents with children using public transport at certain times. Bicycles, may be but not currently children but, hey, I'm sure we;ll all be lumped in with that category before long.

Something can ''give all right - those passengers preventing my children from getting on the bus!

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