It feels like Edinburgh is at a turning point where support for families and wheelchair users is concerned. We recently learned via the Evening News about the Council Leader’s wonky justification for closing public toilets and the impact that cut will have on families, those with a disability and people facing health problems. Now we read that Lothian Buses’ “jumbo bus” will not have the space for buggies and wheelchairs that far smaller vehicles have (report 13/11/18).
Indeed, I know that many parents in my ward are concerned that too much of Lothian Buses’ fleet already does not have a space for both a wheelchair and a buggy. This is despite the fact that Lothian Buses boast on their website that “many of our newest buses have an additional space for a buggy as well as the wheelchair space”.
I am therefore disappointed that although their newest bus is 50% bigger than normal, it will only offer a single space for a buggy or wheelchair.
It feels like the UK’s best bus operator has taken a giant step backwards with how this jumbo bus has been fitted out.
With 79% of drivers admitting that many of their journeys could be easily taken on foot, via bike or on public transport, as a city we should be making it easier for everyone to take the bus – particularity vulnerable groups.
As someone who is passionate about expanding public transport use, I would urge Lothian Buses to rethink this decision and provide more support to wheelchair users, parents and grandparents.
I’d rather Edinburgh was known as a city that went the extra mile to support families and wheelchair users, than one that closed accessible toilets and made bus use more difficult.