A London bus driver has been filmed in a remarkable altercation with a disabled man trying to board her vehicle.
Chris Stapleton, 60, told HuffPost UK the tirade was so abusive he is going to report it as a hate crime.
He said: “What I was asking for here was that the wheelchair space be cleared, not that I absolutely had to get on the bus but I wanted her to fulfil her obligation to at least ask so I would have a chance.”
Instead the driver gets increasingly irate, culminating with her calling him “ignorant and selfish”.
Pointing to the wheelchair, she adds: “No one put you in there but we must show you pity because of the law.”
A Supreme Court ruling in January found that although bus drivers could not be legally compelled to remove other passengers to make way for disabled users, they should take steps beyond just a simple request.
This could include rephrasing the request as a requirement or refusing to drive on “with a view to pressurising or shaming the recalcitrant non-wheelchair user to move”.
Stapleton said: “This is not an isolated incident, I’m a member of Transport for All and they get reports of this sort of behaviour all the time.
“Whilst I think her behaviour is appalling, the people ultimately responsible for this are TfL and the bus operators who are not training their staff properly.
“They give out what they call ‘guidance’ but what they should do is issue mandatory instructions with the understanding that if they’re not followed, severe disciplinary action will follow.”
In a statement to HuffPost UK, Claire Mann, TfL’s Director of Bus Operations, said: “We are appalled by this and apologise to our customer. An urgent investigation is underway. We expect the highest standards from bus operators and their drivers and something has clearly gone wrong here.”
“We work hard to ensure that bus operators are regularly reminding their drivers that the priority space is for wheelchair-users.”
Stapleton stopped short of calling for the driver to be sacked but said she should be disciplined and and thoroughly retrained and very closely monitored and if she fails again in this type of situation she should be sacked”.
He also said he was reporting the incident to police as a hate crime as she was “being abusive to me for a reason related to my disability”.
No one else on the bus appears to intervene.
Campaign groups have noted a number of other similar incidents.