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Buggy users please make space for wheelchair users

Added: 22 August 2016 | Updated: 22 August 2016

As announced a few weeks ago in our Pan London Mobility Forum (PLMF), Transport for London (TfL) has taken further steps to encourage buggy users to make space for wheelchair and mobility scooter users on buses.

New campaign

You may have spotted new posters with the Mr Men and Little Miss characters while travelling around London: “buggy users please make space for wheelchair users”. This poster shows the famous children’s characters on a bus, with one wheelchair user and one buggy user sharing the wheelchair priority space. It says “Little Miss Sunshine made space for Little Miss Neat, a wheelchair user, so she could travel too. Wheelchair users have priority, but buggy users can share the area if there’s space. Please fold your buggy if necessary”. This is part of a larger Travel Better campaign run by TfL. We hope that this poster will be displayed in all buses and bus stops across London.

Five easy to fold buggies promoted

On top of this, TfL has published a list of five buggies considered to be easy to fold, lightweight and manoeuvrable. Those buggies have been selected by the public as part of a competition; 700 votes were cast based on a shortlist compiled by Netmums, Mumderground and 4Children. This initiative follows a buggy summit with buggy manufacturers and some parents’ organisations with the aim of discussing how to make buggies more bus-suitable. During our latest PLMF, Mike Weston explained: “New parents don’t always think about it. They see a wide buggy and think it’s great but don’t think about using it on the bus. Manufacturers now have good ideas and will look at branding on lightweight buggies for buses. There are some small compact buggies around, which allow the wheelchair space to be shared with wheelchair users”.

The winning buggies are now highlighted on the TfL website to assist people when choosing a buggy. TfL explains that each winning manufacturer will receive a bespoke ‘public transport friendly buggy 2016’ icon to use on their website.

Transport for All welcomes this initiative. We have always campaigned for better communication and cooperation between bus companies and buggy manufacturers to help find solutions which will allow everyone to use buses without difficulty or conflict.

New ‘top tips’ video for buggy users

And finally, TfL has launched a new ‘top tips’ video to help buggy users on public transport. This video offers advice on bus and Tube travel, and encourages buggy users to make space for other buggies and wheelchair users on buses. All this information can be found on TfL’s special webpage for “Pregnant women and buggy users”.

Transport for All hopes that those initiatives will increase awareness among buggy users and help make the journeys of wheelchair and mobility scooter users a bit easier. Every day, hundreds of disabled and older Londoners who use a wheelchair or a mobility scooter are struggling to access buses, just because the wheelchair priority space is already occupied. This is on top of other access issues such as broken ramps and bus drivers often not kneeling the bus or stopping close to the kerb. The result is that our schedules are messed up because we miss out on the freedom of travel enjoyed by others.

A few weeks ago, TfA published the testimonies of twelve wheelchair or mobility scooter users highlighting this point. As Youcef Bey-Zekkoub, a wheelchair user from Lambeth and father of three children, said: “Babies can be carried, children can walk, pushchairs can be folded but wheelchair users have no other option. Thus, pushchairs should be folded if the wheelchair space is needed by a wheelchair user because it is the only safe place for us to travel on the bus.”

What do you think about TfL’s new poster and video? Join the conversation on Twitter @transportforall