The minister for disabled people, Maria Miller, has called for a change in attitude and behaviour towards wheelchair users and other disabled people as one man said he was taking legal action against bus companies in London after being refused permission to board on 28 occasions.
Transport for London (TfL), the body responsible for transport in the capital, was on Wednesday evening unable to say whether the type of mobility scooter used by Bellisario was allowed on buses, but had ordered companies to investigate his claims “as a matter of urgency”. Some types of scooter are barred due to their “limited manouvrability” but TFL declined to say from pictures whether Bellisario’s vehicle fell into this category.
Miller said she had intervened in a similar dispute in her own constituency and that for many disabled people, “the ability to travel on public transport meant independence and freedom to take control of their own lives”.
Bellisario said he was taking four companies to court seeking compensation of £40m, alleging breaches under the Equality Act 2010 and “numerous other laws”. He regarded such sums “as a very nominal figure” in the context of the companies’ income globally. He said drivers had repeatedly refused to allow him to get on their buses and, on an occasion he had been allowed on, he was subjected to abuse by other passengers.