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Avril Coelho

October 12, 2015 2:16 PM
Originally published by LDDA - The Liberal Democrat Disability Association

Once again on my way home asking politely for a seat so that the driver can see if I have a seizure because I have a migraine which often signals a seizure.

I get them more when ill and I've had a flu jab two days ago. Anyway I explain to the lady that I'm unable to climb over her and her bag and need the seat by the edge not the window because I have a chronic back problem and can't get up easily and also need to sit near where the driver can see me as I have epilepsy and might have a seizure. She moved to the window side priority seat and asked if I could see her legs which were covered by her coat and a large bag. I said that I couldn't and why. She said one of her legs is smaller than the other but I couldn't see and difference and said that I can't see but take her word for it and have no problem with her sitting in the other priority seat and never said that I had a problem with her sitting there. She started moaning telling me that she had a long day at work and to shut up. How rude I thought thinking she's not the only one and she's only making my migraine worse.. she continued saying that half the people on the bus probably got some sort of problem if I ask them but don't ask for a priority seat and just get on with it and dug around in her bag mumbling. My head by now throbbing and I'm thinking that she's got no idea that if I have a seizure everyone will have to get off the bus and the driver has to follow protocol and call an ambulance even if I don't need one. She said that she has found her medicine and do I want to see it. I didn't know there are pills for resolving having one leg smaller in circumference than the other but politely declined to see her alleged medicine saying that it's not necessary as I believed her and have no issue with her sitting there as previously stated and as I'd never suggested that. It was clearly her guilty conscience for taking that seat when she was only going two more stops. I felt my head pulsating and said that half the people on the bus probably don't have disabled person's freedom passes though which they would have if they needed these seats because she was irritating me and making my migraine worse for no reason. All she had to do was move over and mind her own to begin with.

I decided to add that if I do have a seizure then everyone on the bus except the driver and me would have to get off which is a fact. I'd have to wait for an ambulance and sign their paperwork and let them take my BP etc. She assumed that I was making it up and said yeah right. She got off. I began typing but have just got off the bus still with a throbbing head but no seizure as yet. At least the cold air is helping ease it and a camomile tea with my anticonvulsant medication as soon as I get in will help.

London is full of inconsiderate people who take priority seats when they don't need them. I wish we had a better system for enforcing this. For example bring back conductors who stay on the bus and check tickets when people have seated to avoid delays instead of as people get on and to request to see a good reason for use of the priority seat if it's not obvious as with hidden conditions. Someone on crutches or with an arm in a sling or heavily pregnant wouldn't need to be asked. It would prevent misuse and generate money through fines whilst creating more jobs. This morning the lady sat next to me and when someone elderly asked for a seat to sit there I explained my reason for needing a seat to her and she said that she's pregnant so needed it. If she was, she wasn't showing as there was nothing of her.

The transport sector are missing a trick there. The last two times a hop on hop off conductor has been on my bus they both caught people out and issued fines. They'd make more the way I suggested whilst helping those who genuinely have a need for a priority seat.