Wheelchair/Scooter bus users survey May 2016

Wheelchair/Scooter bus users survey May 2016
Wheelchair/Scooter bus
users survey May 2016
FOREWARD BY HELEN DOLPHIN MBE
W
here I live in Norwich
there is a very good
accessible bus service
into the city centre. My nearest
stop is one of the first on the
route so I have never had an
issue getting into the city as the
wheelchair space has always been
vacant. However, getting back has
sometimes been problematic as
the bus driver will not allow me
on when the wheelchair space
is taken up with a pushchair.
To ensure I can get on the bus I
have to go some distance out of
my way to make sure I am at the
start of the bus route where I
have a sporting chance of getting
on. However, my being in the
wheelchair space rarely prevents
pushchairs from coming on as
when parents see I’m in the
space they usually just put the
pushchair in the aisle or fold it
up. At no point does the driver
ever tell people with pushchairs
that they can’t come on as I’m
already in the wheelchair space.
I therefore cannot understand
why pushchairs can not always be
moved when a wheelchair user
needs to get on.
I have to admit that the difficulty
of ensuring a space on the bus on
my return has meant I try to avoid
using the bus and will now use my
car instead wherever possible. I
appreciate that I am lucky to have
this option and so I beleive more
must be done to ensure disabled
people can use the bus with the
confidence that they will be able
to board wherever they get on.
The other issue I have when
travelling on the bus is that my
wheelchair tends to slip and
slide about. This is made worse
by the fact that as a quadruple
amputee I do not have the ability
to hold onto the pole next to the
wheelchair space which should
help the sliding problem. On one
notable occassion my chair ended
up sliding completely out into the
aisle when the bus went round a
sharp bend. If I am travelling with
someone else then I usually ask
them to put their foot in front of
my chair to stop it moving but this
is not a very satisfactory remedy.
I have spoken to other wheelchair
users about this issue and
although I’ve heard some terrible
stories of people’s chairs falling
over when a bus has gone round
the bend others have never
experienced any problems with
this at all.
To find out more about the
experience of other wheelchair
and scooter users when travelling
on the bus I designed a short
survey. This survey had two main
aims; firstly to find out whether
disabled people are still being
refused access to the bus and
the reasons being given for this
refusal. Although the wheelchair
space being occupied by
pushchairs is a widely recognised
problem which prevents
disabled people from being able
to travel I wanted to find out
exactly how big this issue is and
whether there are other factors
preventing disabled people
from travelling. Secondly this
survey aimed to find out more
information on the experience
of wheelchair and scooter users
on the bus and whether others
like me find travelling unsecured
an unpleasant experience. I
also wanted to discover how
wheelchair and scooter users
would respond to being secured
on a bus if a securement system
could be operated by them
independently.
On both these important issues
I wanted to hear what disabled
people had to say on the matter
and discover what bus travel is
really like for disabled passengers
in 2016.
Rights UK, Scope, RICA,
Queen Elizabeth Foundation,
Meningitis Now, Fish Insurance,
Disability Now and other
smaller disabled organisations
as well as individuals.
Respondents could either fill
the survey in anonymously or
provide their name and address
if they wished to be entered into
a draw for a £25 M&S voucher.
In total 185 people completed
the survey.
DATA COLLECTION
Hard copies of the survey were
handed out to wheelchair
and scooter users attending
the Mobility Roadshow at
Silverstone in May and an
online link was also sent out via
twitter to follows of Disability
RESULTS
How often do disabled people use the bus?
The first question asked
respondents
Bus
users surveyhow often they
used the bus. The results show
that 23% use the bus every
day, 24% use the bus once a Q3
week and 18.5% once a month.
many provided an explanation
Therefore the majority of people usually that there wasSurveyMonkey
no bus
completing the survey (65.6%)
service where they lived or they
use the bus regularly. Although
used their car instead.
How
often
you
use
9% said
theydo
never
user
the the
bus bus?
Answered: 162
Skipped: 21
100%
100%
80%
80%
60%
60%
40%
40%
20%
20%
0%
0%
Every day
Every day
Once a week
Once a week
Once a month
Once a month
Answer Choices
Rarely
Rarely
Never
Never
Responses
What type of mobility equipment do people use?
Every day
22.84%
37
23.46%
38
Once a week
The
next question respondents
48% powered chair and 8.5% a
chair with an additional motor
18.52%
were
scooter. I was surprised that there of somekind so neither manual 30
Once aasked
month was what type
of mobility equipment they
were so few using a scooter but 31.48%
nor powered. Those that stated 51
Rarely
used. The choice given was
this may be due to the fact that
that did not use any mobility
9.26%
Never
manual wheelchair, powered
the organisations that tweeted
equipment generally stated that 15
chair,
mobility
the survey were organisations
they were the carer of someone
Total
Respondents:
162scooter, other or
none. Respondents were able
for disabled as opposed elderly
who was a wheelchair user and so
to
tick
more
than
one
option
people
who
are
more
likely
to
had ticked that box too.SurveyMonkey
However,
Bus users survey
as many disabled people do
use a scooter. Where people
the results show that the majority
not always travel in the same
had ticked that their mobility
of people completing the survey
type ofwas
wheelchair
do youwere
use?
type of wheelchair. 50% of Q4 What
equipment
other (6%) many
either manual or powered
respondents used a manual chair, explained
was aapply)
manual
chair users.
(tickthat
allitthat
Answered: 165
Skipped: 19
100%
100%
80%
80%
60%
60%
40%
40%
20%
20%
0%
0%
Answer Choices
Manual
Manual
Powered
Powered
Mobility
Mobility
Scooter
Scooter
None
None
Responses
Other
Other
(please
specify)
Have you ever been refused entry onto a bus?
The next question asked
why they had been refused
respondents whether they
entry and respondents could
hadsurvey
ever been refused entry
choose multiple options. 36%
Bus users
on the bus. Shockingly 64% of
said that it was because there
respondents said that they had.
was already another wheelchair
Q10asked
Why were
refused
Respondents were then
useryou
on the
bus, 72%entry
said itonto
was
because there was a pushchair
in the space, 47% because the
ramp was broken,
31% because
SurveyMonkey
the bus was not accessible, and
35% gave other reasons.
the
bus? (tick all that apply)
Answered: 100
Skipped: 84
100%
100%
80%
80%
60%
60%
40%
40%
20%
20%
0% 0%
Other
Other
wheelchair
wheelchair
user in
in the
the
user
wheelchair
wheelchair...
Pushchair in
Pushchair
in
wheelchair
wheelchair
space
space
Ramp onto
onto
Ramp
bus broken
broken
bus
Busnot
not
Bus
accessible
accessible
Other
Other
(please
specify)
space
Space was provided on the survey for people to elaborate on why they had been refused
Responsesentry onto the
bus where they had chosen “other” as the reason for refusal. These reasons seemed
to fall into a number
36.00%
36
Other wheelchair user in the wheelchair space
of different categories:
Answer Choices
Pushchair in wheelchair space
73.00%
73
Ramp onto bus broken
47.00%
47
31.00%
31
36.00%
36
Mis-information/misunderstanding
Bus not accessible
“Chair too big according to driver.”
Other (please specify)
Total Respondents: 100
“The bus driver thought my wheelchair was not allowed on the bus although it had been accepted by
TFL and I was in possession of a card to prove it. After showing the card the driver still refused.”
“Bus driver said power chairs are too heavy for the ramp.”
“Bus driver insisted I needed a licence to board bus - head office confirmed no licence needed after.”
“Driver wrongly claimed powered chairs were not permitted.”
“I was asked to remove the batteries from my powerchair & when I refused to do so, he refused me
access onto the bus.”
“My disability means that when I can walk, I have very poor balance. I was refused entry because the
driver thought I was drunk. This has happened a number of times.”
“Suitcases in wheelchair space.”
1/1
Bad attitude of the driver
“Bus driver refused to move forward to allow room for ramp to be lowered.”
“Ramp was too steep and bus driver refused to kneel bus.”
“Driver wouldn’t get out of his seat to put down the ramp.”
“Driver verbally aggressive towards me “You disabled people do my head in” the driver stated.”
”Driver said he did not have time to put the ramp down as it was a Cheltenham Race day.”
“Rude driver refused, ranted at me to get a taxi closed doors and drove off.”
“Driver couldn’t be bothered to get the ramp out.”
“On one occasion the driver was stuck in his cab and couldn’t get out!”
“Driver point blank refused to put the ramp down.”
“Refusal on the bases of simply ignoring me and driving off.”
“Driver refused to get ramp out cos he didn’t want to. Also another time cos he said my wheelchair was
a scooter & they aren’t allowed to carry scooters.”
Health of driver
“Driver had a bad back. Boohoo”
“Bus driver pregnant.”
Other reasons
“Because I tried to go on the same bus as my partner. who is also a wheelchair user”
“Scooter not allowed on bus without certificate.”
“Two wheelchair users travelling together.”
“Bus was full.”
“I can’t ensure there will be an accessible bus for my return journey.”
Does your wheelchair move about when you are travelling on the bus?
The next question asked
respondents whether their
wheelchair/scooter moved
around a lot, a little or not at all
when they were travelling on the
bus. 20% said their chair moved
around a lot, 50% a little, 30%
not at all. There seemed to be
very little correlation between
whether the wheelchair was
manual or powered as to whether
the respondent said a lot or
a little. However, this is quite
subjective so what some people
consider to be a lot may not be
the same as others.
Has your wheelchair ever fallen over when you were travelling on the bus?
Respondents were then asked
if their wheelchair had actually
fallen over whilst travelling on
the bus. 6% of all respondents
said that they had indeed fallen
over which is a significant
number of disabled bus
travellers. Many people gave
further information on their
experience of either falling over
on the bus or skidding about.
Experience of wheelchair users falling over/moving about
“The driver was already in a mood because I needed the ramp and he drove too fast and too quick
round corners, my wheelchair hit two people one old lady and a child.”
“The bus in Cambridgeshire countryside sped around the corners and tipped me out - I injured my foot,
bruised the rest of my body, broke my wheel and therefore limited my mobility for rest of my trip.”
“There was one occasion that the driver was driving erratically and my manual chair tipped sideways
injuring my son’s companion who tried to stop the chair from tipping over.”
“Harsh braking causes my chair to tip and cornering causes my chair to turn within the wheelchair
space. A few times my carer has had to grab hold of me as I’ve almost tipped over despite having the
brakes on.”
“My brakes cannot cope with the jerky bus movements.”
“Although the wheels on my powerchair appear to stay still, the chair tilts and leans when the bus is
going round corners.”
“My wheelchair slips and has been known for a wheel to lift off the ground when the vehicle corners.”
“I fear falling out or hitting other passengers on the bus with my chair due to my chair moving around.”
“There are no seatbelts and nothing to hold on to, when the floor is wet I slide around everywhere.”
“When the driver brakes suddenly the wheelchair will move even if you have the brakes on. The
assistance bar in the wheelchair spot is not in an appropriate safe place.”
“I skid forward and the bar does not prevent me from skidding sideways. When the space is on the left, I
have skidded 90 degrees sideways.”
“When the bus corners at speed my wheelchair slides sideways.”
“My wheelchair skids on the floor of many London buses when they go round corners, often sending
me into those sitting in front on some buses which have seats for older and mobility impaired directly
in front of the wheelchair space. I always try to warn people this may happen. In the newer Boris buses
there is more space so I am only likely to hit people who insist in standing there, or if the odd pushchair
squeezed back in.”
“Despite brakes (and my fiance) my wheelchair will move about a lot. It will swing out into the gangway,
move down the bus, swerve side to side, tilt back on braking, move back and forth and jars back on
emergency stops.”
“Too bumpy a ride, too much movement of the chair (and movement of my manual wheelchair was
even worse, so I never took it on a bus again).”
“I was sitting backwards as directed by the driver and I fell over when the driver accelerated from a stop.”
What other issues make you feel unsafe travelling on the bus?
Respondents were then asked what made them feel unsafe while travelling on the bus. The answers tended
to either concern wheelchairs moving about or the attitude of other passengers or the bus driver to them.
Fear of treatment from other passengers
“I avoid using the bus because the wheelchair space is frequently blocked by pushchairs and I don’t want
the resentment of asking someone to move it.”
“I don’t like having to deal with pushchairs and unhelpful mothers.”
“The behaviour of other passengers can be intimidating.”
“People with buggies wedging them in front of the chair.”
“People not giving up the wheelchair space for a disabled traveller.”
“Aggressive passengers if I try to get on when buggy owners are on the bus. I have also had people
shouting at me that I shouldn’t be on this bus and should be on a bus for disabled people.”
“Crowded buses leave me feeling like a piece of furniture. I have been climbed on, sat on, and even had
buggies dumped on my feet. The drivers pretend not to notice and I am the one that gets abuse from
other passengers if I protest.”
“I would never travel on my own, as manoeuvre is difficult into the wheelchair space as people
won’t move.”
“Aggression from parents with push chairs and people with luggage in the wheelchair space.”
Attitude of the bus driver
“Speed of the vehicle and lack of understanding of the driver transporting disabled people.”
“I never know if I’m going to get a helpful driver or one who when he sees me just drives off. They
always complain about having to get out to put the ramp down especially if it’s raining”.
“I won’t travel on my own as I hate the way I’m treated by the bus driver. The one on my route is always
muttering under his breath when he sees me.”
Lack of space to manoeuvre
“One of the main problems is getting in and out of the wheelchair space. The space might be big enough
to lower a chair into. But not steer. Also when it is raining the floor of the bus gets really wet. Like a
skating rink.”
“Difficult to manoeuvre powered chair around the bus pole.”
“Getting on and off is difficult in my powered wheelchair as there is never enough room to manoeuvre.”
“My assistance dog has no real space to lie down apart from in the aisle. People interfere with him every
time they get on and off.”
Fear of wheelchair moving about
“I travel with an assistance dog, I’m always scared my chair will slid into him and squash him. As it is
other passengers don’t give him room.”
“Despite the weight of the powerchair, it is only held by its brakes. It would be helpful if there were
seatbelts attached to wall of the bus which would allow wheelchair users to be better restrained.”
“The seats are not the right way to restrain a manual chair with normal breaks they will not hold a chair
in place with sharp breaking a restraint is needed.”
“I feel very unsafe if I’m forced to sit sideways if something else is in the wheelchair space.”
“There are no seatbelt or clamping mechanism and I worry about sliding about.”
“Not being restrained”
If there was a system on the bus which would secure you and your chair
automatically would this encourage you to use public transport more?
Finally respondents were asked
if there was a system on the
bus which would secure you
and your chair automatically
would this encourage you to
use public transport more? 60%
that this would encourage them
to use the bus more and 40%
said it wouldn’t.
training is required for drivers and
the ability for disabled people to
report such incidents easily must
be improved.
This report has also highlighted
that many wheelchair users
are just not safely secured
when travelling on the bus.
The majority of wheelchair
passenger reported that their
chair moved about when they
were travelling on the bus and
a significant number felt that
their chair moved a lot. In many
of the examples given people
described how their chair
skidded and slid about and some
described how they had actually
knocked into people. Out of all
the 185 respondents 6% said
their wheelchair had actually
fallen over when they were on
the bus. This is very dangerous
both for the wheelchair user and
other passengers who may be
injured by the fall. However, even
people who did not report falling
over cited poor experiences
of knocking into and injuring
themselves and others. This is not
surprising considering wheelchair
brakes were not designed to
hold wheelchairs securely whilst
travelling, they were designed to
hold wheelchair users in place
at the dining table so it is of
no surprise that many disabled
passengers are not safely secured
on the bus.
When asked if they would use
public transport more if they
were safely secured there is an
overwhelming positive response.
With automatic securement
systems now available for bus
passengers bus operators should
be encouraged to include them
in new buses specifications, as
clearly these would help make
bus travel safer for disabled
people and encourage more
disabled people to use the bus.
As well as lack of securement
passengers also reported that a
fear of poor treatment from other
passengers and the driver made
them feel unsafe. Both these
issues could be improved with
education and training.
Although bus travel has improved
for disabled people and there is
now an obligation for all single
decker buses to be accessible
more must be done to ensure
that disabled people are not
prevented from using the bus due
to incorrect use of the wheelchair
space and lack of driver training.
REPORT CONCLUSIONS
This survey has given a snapshot
of what bus travel is like for many
disabled people across the UK.
The most significant finding was
that a pushchair in the wheelchair
space is the most common reason
for disabled people being unable
to travel and 72% of respondents
gave this as their reason for
being refused entry onto a bus.
Until more is done to ensure the
wheelchair space is kept free for
wheelchairs the problem is not
going to be resolved.
The ramp being broken was also a
significant reason and shows that
more needs to be done to ensure
equipment is properly maintained
and only buses with working
equipment are dispatched.
Although these two reasons were
the most common for people not
being able to get on the bus sadly
many people were refused entry
due to incorrect information
about wheelchairs being too
heavy or not being allowed on,
or the poor attitude of the driver
who in some given examples just
refused to put down the ramp.
Although there is a requirement
for buses to be accessible it
is of little consequence when
the driver refuses to activate
the ramp to allow the disabled
passenger to board. More
For more information on this survey please contact Helen Dolphin
Tel: 01603 471585/07941253947
Email: helen@peoplesparking.org
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