Transport activists from around London are preparing to pour onto London buses to demand that older and disabled people are able to use buses with the same freedom and independence as everyone else.
On 6th September, together with Age UK and Greater London Forum for Older People, launching a report into the barriers older and disabled people face on the buses. To raise awareness of our right to travel with freedom and independence, Transport for All is holding a Bus Day of Action with over 200 people registered to travel together on London buses to the venue.
Once in Westminster, activists will question a panel of representatives from Transport for London, London TravelWatch, Unite (the union representing bus drivers) and a number of London bus companies.
The Day of Action is part of the ‘On the buses’ campaign, a joint initiative from Transport for All, Greater London Forum for Older People (GLF) and Age UK London. The campaign aims to bring about changes in bus provision which will make buses more accessible for older and disabled people.
Older and disabled people face many barriers when travelling by bus in London. Transport for All regularly receives complaints about buses which do not pull up close enough to the kerb; moving off before they have reached their allocated bus stop; or retractable ramps for wheelchair users that don’t work.
Wheelchair users report that buses frequently drive past them and refuse to let them board, and the issue of bus drivers failing to ask pushchair users to vacate the wheelchair space is a perennial one.
Drivers also frequently drive off before passengers are safely seated, leading to falls and broken bones. Research carried out by Age Concern and Help the Aged for National Falls Awareness Day 2009 suggests that nationally, 800 older people fall on buses every day and two million older people are worried about falls on buses.
Other problems include bus drivers failing to use the iBus automatic announcement system, which keeps passengers informed of where they are. For blind and visually impaired people, this can be profoundly disorientating.
Thousands of pounds have been invested in making buses physically accessible, yet the inconsiderate driving is still stopping older and disabled people from travelling. No-one should remain housebound because they’re scared that their next bus trip will result in a broken hip, nor should wheelchair users ever be forced to wait in the rain as bus after bus drives past. If London buses are to serve all Londoners, including older and disabled people, bus companies need to take accessibility much, much more seriously.
- The event is now full. However, if you are interested in campaigning for or running an event on bus accessibility in your area of London, do let us know – we can support you with a speaker and resources