Disabled passengers in Darlington sue bus firm Arriva

Arriva bus
Image caption Arriva operate bus services throughout the North East

Disabled people in north-east England are being denied access to public transport because of discrimination by a bus company, a court has heard.

Darlington Association on Disability is supporting an action against Arriva North-East, claiming drivers failed to stop for wheelchair passengers.

The case, which opened at Teesside County Court in Middlesbrough, is due to last two weeks.

Arriva said its staff complied with Department for Transport guidelines.

Seven disabled people also claim wheelchair users have been refused access to some buses where there was already a pushchair on board.

Disability training

Chris Fry, of Unity Law, which is representing the group, said: "There have been a series of incidents going back a number of years, where it is alleged that bus drivers have not done enough to free up space for disabled passengers.

"They have essentially been dumped back on the pavement and been told to wait for the next bus."

The company denied it discriminated against disabled passengers.

It said it complied with the Disability Discrimination Act and offered disability training to all its drivers.

The firm said it adhered to Department for Transport guidelines which state that if other passengers are occupying wheelchair spaces, staff are not obliged to move them or make them move.

It also said the opportunity for a wheelchair user to travel may depend on other passengers and how full the vehicle is.

The case continues.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites