The Supreme Court has allowed an appeal by a wheelchair user, finding that a bus operating company had not made reasonable adjustments to avoid disadvantaging passengers who were wheelchair users, in breach of the Equality Act 2010. The case arose from the refusal of a passenger with a pushchair to give up a wheelchair space in favour of the wheelchair user.
The Supreme Court ruled that the operating company should do more than simply request non-wheelchair users to give up a space for wheelchair users. Operators should instruct their drivers to consider taking further steps, where a non-wheelchair user refused to vacate the space, including, if necessary, stopping the bus to speak to the non-wheelchair user. The judgment may be of wider application than simply bus operators. Other transport providers, for example, train companies, should review their policies to consider whether they are taking sufficient steps to require non-wheelchair users to cede designated wheelchair spaces to wheelchair users. They will need to train relevant staff on how to enforce their policy.