A wheelchair user has won a legal ruling over a bus company’s “first come, first served” seating policy after a passenger refused to give up the priority space.
Doug Paulley, 35, took First Bus Group to court after he was told he could not get on a bus because a mother did not want to move her pushchair as it would wake her baby.
The driver also refused to intervene because the company’s policy did not permit him to force a customer to give up the space.
Following a legal battle lasting 18 months, Judge Paul Issacs sitting at Leeds County Court has ruled the incident was unlawful discrimination in breach of the Equality Act 2010 and ordered First Bus to change its policy.
Doug, from Wetherby, was awarded £5,500 in compensation and is now seeking to ensure other bus companies also change their policy.
He said: “I think public transport is a great thing and I didn’t want to sue them but I felt it was the only way to change things.
“Ultimately, I think it is very sad that sometimes it is necessary to insist that people move and it is sad that it has to fall on the bus company to take action if people refuse.
“I’m delighted that now drivers will have the power to take action if people refuse to move out of the space.”
The incident happened on the 9.40am service from Wetherby town centre to the train station in Leeds as Doug travelled to see his parents on February 24 last year.
Judge Isaacs gave the company six months to change its policy.
In a statement, First Bus Group said it would “take time to consider the findings”.
It added: “At First we do recognise how important it is that bus services are accessible to all and our drivers across the country are trained to act in accordance with the law in this area.”