Court ruling another step towards accessible travel

18 January 2017

London, UK: Business Disability Forum (BDF) has noted this week’s (18 January) Supreme Court decision requiring bus drivers and their employers to do more to accommodate disabled passengers.

The ruling fell in favour of campaigner Doug Paulley, who brought forward his case against FirstGroup after a bus driver failed to accommodate his wheelchair on one of the company’s services to Leeds, due to a woman refusing to vacate the space needed for his wheelchair. As a result, he was prevented from boarding the bus and told to wait for the next service.

The judgement means that staff will be required to ask non-wheelchair users to move out of wheelchair spaces if a disabled passenger needs them.

However, the case does not legally require companies to go further than this in enforcing the correct use of allocated wheelchair spaces.

The case, ongoing since 2012, reflects wider issues around accessibility on transport networks, with assistance, accessible facilities and accommodations for disabled passengers often failing to be effective.

BDF hopes that today’s ruling will encourage companies to think more about ensuring accessibility on our transport networks.

Nils Kendall, Joint Interim CEO at BDF, said: “Today’s ruling is a good step forward towards accessible transport for all. It puts more pressure and expectation on companies to ensure disabled features are kept useable and available for those who need them.

“It is a significant move towards accessible features and assistance becoming a given for disabled customers on transport networks and beyond, rather than being frequently made unavailable or ineffective because of a lack of management or foresight.”


Notes to Editors

1.    Business Disability Forum (BDF) is a world-leading membership body bringing together business and the public sector to build disability-smart organisations. BDF has more than 25 years’ experience of working with public and private sector employers and service providers. For more information about BDF, please visit:

2.    Information about the ruling can be found on the BBC News website:

3.    For further information on BDF, please contact Samuel Buckley on