Angela Dobson and Jennette Arnold
Published: 15 June, 2012
by PETER GRUNER
THE search is on for the “kindly and courteous” driver who got out of his double-decker bus in busy Holloway to help a woman struggling to navigate the vehicle’s automatic wheelchair ramp.
His name was Bill, he had greying hair, and is believed to be a regular driver on the No 17 bus from Archway to London Bridge.
Bill’s “simple act of kindness” so impressed Angela Dobson, who has cerebral palsy, that she wants to personally present him with a special plaque on behalf of all disabled people.
Ms Dobson, 62, a member of Islington Disability Action, is currently investigating local bus routes close to her home in Caledonian Road to find out if they are breaking disability laws.
“Many drivers are pretty indifferent to people in wheelchairs,” she said. “Sometimes they don’t stop, or the ramp doesn’t work, or they don’t position the device correctly with the pavement.
“Bill actually got out of his cabin to make sure I was all right using the ramp. It was wet and I was struggling to position my wheelchair correctly. I was gobsmacked. Most of the time drivers just let you get on with it. He made sure I was safely inside the bus before he got back into his cabin to drive away. I want to thank him and use him as an example of good practice.”
Ms Dobson contacted Metroline who are currently trying to identify the driver.
With the support of London Assembly Labour member Jennette Arnold, Ms Dobson has catalogued a series of complaints about buses which have been sent on to Transport for London (TfL).
Last year the Tribune reported Ms Dobson’s concerns that disabled space on buses was often taken up by pushchairs and buggies.
Under the law – and there are signs on most buses pointing this out – disabled people have priority and parents and carers should fold pushchairs and buggies to allow wheelchair access.
Ms Arnold added: “We’re always talking about negative experiences so it’s nice to celebrate someone who has good qualities. We hope we can find Bill and thank him and use him as an example to other bus drivers.”