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TfA on the 235 bus route to support Wasif Bhatti on his issue with TFL

Wasif Bhatti, a wheelchair user living in Hounslow has been having difficulties using the 235 bus for some time. He contacted Transport for All’s advice line in November 2013 after he had complained to TFL but was unsatisfied with the response he was given. The problem on the 235 bus is that there are some bus stops where the wheelchair ramp on older buses is too steep for Wasif to feel safe getting on and off the bus independently. There are also bus stops on the route where the ramp cannot work properly. Wasif was advised by TFL that the issue would be addressed when newer buses are introduced onto this bus route. However this would not be until 2017 at the earliest which is too far off for Wasif to wait.

Wasif contacted TFA

and his local newspaper, The Hounslow Chronicle for help. We met in Hounslow in December and witnessed Wasif having difficulty getting onto a 235 bus because the wheelchair ramp was too steep and he could not push himself over the lip at the end of the ramp onto the bus. TFL informed us that Abellio, the bus operator for the 235 would be carrying out a risk assessment of the route to ensure that all passengers could board the bus safely. Abellio then invited Wasif to join them on the bus to identify the stops where he has the most difficulty.

On Thursday 27th February we joined Darren Whalley, (acting) Driving Standards Manager to look at the accessibility of the bus stops using the wheelchair ramp on the 235 route. Unfortunately we did not have the time to stop at every stop along the route but we went to the stops which Wasif uses most frequently. It was good to see that the ramp fitted well at the first bus stop. Abellio had already identified Bush Corner as an inaccessible bus stop as the kerb is too high for the wheelchair ramp to work. Abellio are taking this issue up with TFL. At Brentford County Court stop the ramp was too steep for Wasif to use safely. It was much easier when the bus was lowered for him. Darren will be sending his report and photographs from our journey to Abellio’s engineers. They will look at how they can adjust the wheelchair ramp to ensure that all bus stops along the 235 route are accessible for Wasif and other wheelchair users on this route.

We hope that the next time we hear from Wasif it will be to tell us that he has had no further problems on this bus route.