A disabled mother has blasted a bus company today
Nicki Price, 37, says she was left stranded on the pavement because there were already two women with pushchairs travelling on the First Buses service who would not move.
The company's policy states that "other customers using the wheelchair space are required to make way for a passenger in a wheelchair where reasonable to do so" but she claims the driver refused to help her.
It comes less than a month after disabled Doug Paulley won a landmark Supreme Court ruling that stated the company should consider further steps to persuade non-wheelchair users to move.
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Married mum-of-two Mrs Price said: "When the ruling came through, I was so relieved. Getting on the bus for me was finally going to be easy.
"Every time I try and get on a bus, it's very traumatic. People don't realise how much stress just a short journey can cause.
"It's disgraceful that the bus company aren't doing what was asked of them by the Supreme Court. They're clearly not training their bus drivers properly."
Nicki Price says she was left stranded on the pavement
It's disgraceful that the bus company aren't doing what was asked of them by the Supreme Court
"It's discrimination and it's not fair. I'm tired of being treated like a second rate citizen."
Mrs Price uses a wheelchair due to having cerebral palsy from birth and uses public transport to get around.
She was trying to catch the bus in Chelmsford, Essex, on Tuesday to collect her six-year-old daughter up from school when she says she was told she could not get on as there was not room.
Through the window, she claims she saw two women already on the bus with pushchairs who were refusing to move.
She described there being room for them to fold up their prams, as well as empty seats further back on the bus.
Mrs Price, who volunteers at a retirement home, said: "When the bus pulled up and I saw that the disabled space was taken up by pushchairs.
There were already two women with pushchairs travelling on the bus who would not move
"I explained to the driver that I needed to get on this bus so I could get my daughter from school.
"He told me he didn't think that they were going to move, and that they were on the school run too, but I don't think it would have been asking much to get them to fold up their pushchairs.
"Eventually he asked them if they would move and they both refused, so the driver told me he couldn't let me on.
Mrs Price uses a wheelchair due to having cerebral palsy from birth
"I don't think he tried very hard, and he certainly could have done more but he didn't.
"He just closed the doors and left me at the side of the road."
The incident left Mrs Price feeling "upset and stressed" and meant she was late picking up her young daughter from school.
She was trying to catch the bus in Essex on Tuesday
Mrs Price now hopes to have a sit down meeting with the head of First Buses to discuss their policies on disabled passengers.
She said: "They don't let two wheelchairs on any bus at the same time, and most of the time when a driver has to let down a ramp, he acts like he's doing me a massive favour.
"I'd love to have a face-to-face meeting with the head to discuss their disabled buses, and the layout of their buses in general.
Mrs Price was travelling to collect her six-year-old daughter up from school
"Who do they speak to before they make decisions like this? I feel like until they speak to someone like me, they'll never fully understand my situation. And I know I'm not the only one going through it.
"I'm disgusted, and so upset. It needs to change."
Doug Paulley, 39, brought his case after he was refused entry to a FirstGroup bus in 2012, which had a sign saying: "Please give up this space if needed for a wheelchair user."
She says she was told she could not get on as there was not room
But he was left at the stop because a woman with a sleeping baby in a pushchair refused to move out of the designated area when asked by the bus driver.
Mr Paulley, from Wetherby, West Yorkshire, had argued FirstGroup's "requesting, not requiring" policy was discriminatory.
He won his initial case against FirstGroup in 2013, after he argued its policy of "requesting, not requiring" able-bodied passengers to move was unlawful disability discrimination.
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However, FirstGroup successfully appealed in the Court of Appeal in 2014, after which Mr Paulley brought his case to the Supreme Court.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission, which supported Mr Paulley at the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, described the latest decision in the case as "a victory for disabled people's rights".
A spokesman for First Buses said: "We're disappointed to learn that a customer in a wheelchair was unable to board one of our buses.
She described there being room for them to fold up their prams
"Our policy is clear – other customers using the wheelchair space are required to make way for a passenger in a wheelchair where reasonable to do so.
"We recently provided a briefing to our drivers around the priority use of the wheelchair space and plan to follow this up shortly with further communications."
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