Last reply 3 days ago
FREE Bus travel – an update, Yes you can

@tallritchie started the ball rolling on this so credit where it is due.

As you can imagine, not simple but I have got somewhere regarding eligibility outside of the stated guidelines.

The brief guidance is to apply under the restricted walking terms and add an accompanying note, or call in to the team directly, that you have RRMS and the effects on walking can be unpredictable regarding how badly and when it likes to turn on and off.

The reason that MS is listed as one of three specific disabilities under the Equality Act is the unpredictable nature of the effect of the disease. In the days when I seemed to suffer no effects, I was lecturing in Tel Aviv c. 2001 and mid-sentence my brain shut down and I lost – completely – the ability to talk. It was hugely alarming and came and went for about 3 months. That has never happened again. So, it can come out of the blue – the bastard thing!

Convoluted but worth a read:

The bus passes are a national scheme administered by local councils. Apparently, they all have to conform to the Department for Transport (DfT) guidelines and they don’t write the rules themselves, they merely administer the applications. This is why presently there is an element of discretion at council level that can be exercised and it is appealing to this will get you a pass in the meantime.

I will be looking at the DfT end, just not today as I have a lot on. Real change will come when they can be persuaded to change their guidelines to accurately reflect the Equality Act. It is a government department so change will be slow and I suspect pressure will need to be brought to bear from people like MPs etc.

I will post any copies of correspondence with the council that I use. In Oxfordshire – @studentamdms , send me a PM and I’ll tell you the Oxfordshire specific info – they have concurred that the on/off nature means that I/we ought to qualify and they will support it.

If we can get evidence of OCC doing so, it ought to then give some precedent to be used with other councils and strengthen your hand. @rae87 , I am thinking of the form letter knockback you have just received.

Add categories

Browse categories and add by clicking on them

You can remove current categories below by clicking the ‘x’.


msboy
2 weeks ago

An MS diagnosis also entitles you to a Diabled Persons Railcard. It does cost but gives you 30% of train travel. MS isn’t in any of the categories they specificaly mention, but just tick any of them and send a scan of your diagnosis and they will send you a card (or a virtual one for your phone).


dominics
2 weeks ago

@msboy – they have now added an ‘Anything Else’ category for just this reason.


dominics
2 weeks ago

Presently a personal win – I think..

<<
We are in the process of finalising your application and checking your photograph. Under normal circumstances, if you are requesting a new pass you will receive it within 15 days. In the meantime, if you have any questions please contact us by telephone, email or post at: Oxfordshire County Council ENCTS PO Box 842, OX1 9LL
<<

On a bigger point, I have written to Simon Hoare MP – the head of the all-party parliamentary group on MS – explaining the inconsistencies in legislation where the word ‘disabled’ is used. Will update as and when.

If anyone wants the details about the inconsistencies in wording and terminology between various acts of Parliament then PM me. It is far too lengthy and boring to list it all here!


rae87
2 weeks ago

I’ve sent my form with a covering letter and my diagnosis letter. Now we play the waiting game


dominics
2 weeks ago

Nice one.


dominics
2 weeks ago

I fear I spoke too soon. Things are far from over but the council is being, well, just as a council usually is. Disconnected, difficult with the right hand and left hand not sharing.

The woman who was sympathetic and told me to apply under the difficulty walking category has now written to me knocking me back??? ( @rae87 don’t be shocked, it was a really generic no letter)

So, I have sent an email explaining the act, the discrepancy in legislation, cc’ing in my MP (who was keen to know how the Railcard issue progressed in the past) and my County Councillor.

We’ll see. In my experience, the council functionaries usually react when the applicant is committed and gives some push back – presuming they are correct.

Is it me or do these people act as if you are trying to con money from them personally using false pretences?


rae87
4 days ago

Today I received a letter inviting me to a mobility assessment centre to see if I’m entitled to a bus pass. Obviously they didn’t understand my covering letter 😐


rae87
3 days ago

@dominics I wonder what this assessment will involve.


dominics
3 days ago

@rae87

that sounds odd, a walking assessment for a bus pass. It goes to show how different councils are taking differing approaches. I applied under S5, the inability to walk distance but they rejected me out of hand. Who is your council please?

I had a walking assessment for my Blue badge – which I failed because it was a nice cool day and I do y stretching – which entails walking a fixed distance with the assessor. In Oxford it is a neurophysiotherapist who works for the council.

More importantly, the county council are being extremely difficult. Do not expect a result.

UPDATE: – I have spoken to an Equality Act specialist barrister who, after agreeing to give some free advice, had not read any of the briefing or background and halfway through the call it was evident that we were talking at cross purposes.

The most useful has been the Government’s Equality Advisory service who says that I do have a case. That and a barrister training to be a judge who also has MS. They think I have a prima-facie case yet we have yet to talk so it remains to be seen.

I have raised a formal complaint against Oxfordshire County Council – send me an email if you want a copy – it’ll have to be over email as the forum doesn’t support files (grr) [email protected] – to see where I am.

The complaint is on two separate strands, Failure to make reasonable adjustment and direct discrimination. The OCC lawyers seem to all have been born of unwed parents (bastards, if anyone is wondering what I mean) and I imagine they will reject.

I have a few weapons though: my councillor heads the entire inclusion and disability piece for the council. I am involving both my MP and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on MS headed by Simon Hoare MP and administered by the MS society, who are also in the loop.

This all hinges on whether or not the EQuality Act presides over other Acts, like the Transport Act 2000 etc which seem to define disability their way and not the way of the Eq Act 2010. It is a buggers muddle. I intend to achieve some clarity.

Join Shift.ms to reply to this post.

Become part of the community so you can chat, compare and learn from other MSers.