FIVE YEARS after Doug Paulley was left stranded at a Wetherby bus stop because a mother refused to move her child’s pushchair from a space reserved for wheelchair users, his stance has now been upheld by the High Court in a landmark victory for disabled campaigners.
The regret is that it should never have come this.
Mr Paulley’s protracted battle began in 2012, the very year that London hosted the Paralympics which did so much to change the public’s attitudes towards the disabled so wheelchair users were regarded as equals.
If passengers, whether on the bus or train, were more respectful of the disabled, elderly or those with mobility difficulties, and transport operators like FirstGroup trained their staff to be more aware of this issue, it would not have required the intervention of the courts and all the cost and time that goes with legal action.
Common sense and good manners would have not cost a penny – or a moment – and all could have been settled amicably on the day. Let’s hope that regardless of the court case, that disabled people and mothers can travel with respect for each other.
After all, good manners cost nothing – a priceless notion in danger of being undermined by a lack of respect in contemporary society. How sad.