Transport CommitteeWritten evidence from Jo Church (DAT 102)

I do hope this email is reaching the right people? I would like to raise my concerns regarding the new Routemaster busses currently being introduced on some London bus routes...

It is my understanding that these busses have 2 staircases and yet still only have space for 1 wheelchair. Please can you explain to me why this is so? Surely a more inclusive bus would have that the other way around—ie 1 staircase and spaces for 2 wheelchairs!

I would wager that the designers of these busses have never actually used one, as if they had, they would realise that non seating areas are very useful spaces, not only used by wheelchair users, but by those with prams and those travelling with large, bulky items or luggage. Why on earth does a bus need 2 staircases?!

Also, if you happen to be travelling with another wheelchair user, you have to get separate busses (that’s only when the driver will let you on of course, as all too often they use the “we’re too full, you’ll have to get the next one” line, or “my ramps not working”—which on several occasions I have proven them to be liars as ok, they’re right—the ramp will not work if the door is open!) Why couldn’t accommodating 2 wheelchairs on a bus have been their priority rather than staircases. New York City busses all have space for 2 wheelchairs, Zurich busses have vast open areas which can accommodate many wheelchairs, and pushchairs AND people with bulky luggage no problem! Why are we not following their examples?

I would very much appreciate a response to this email, or if I am not speaking to the right people, pointing in the right direction.

June 2013

Prepared 13th September 2013