Wheelchair users sue Flemish public transport company
Wheelchair users still too often have bad experiences when trying to use buses and trams in Flanders. Four victims are now taking Flemish public transport company De Lijn to court, Mediahuis newspaper report on Monday.
Unia, the Belgian interfederal centre for equal opportunities and the fight against discrimination and racism, joined the case. De Standaard had access to the summons, which describes 13 incidents that took place between March 2019 and November 2022.
The harrowing list includes drivers refusing to stop at bus stops, or stopping but not looking at the wheelchair user. In other cases, the so-called 'stick' needed to open the ramp was not on the bus, or the driver claimed not to know how to operate the ramp. Another driver falsely claimed that electric wheelchairs were not allowed on board.
The plaintiffs demand that if De Lijn is convicted, the company set up a committee within a month to deal with complaints involving people with disabilities. The committee should include representatives of disabled passengers. Each wheelchair user would also receive moral damages of 650 euros per incident and every bus would have to carry a ramp 'stick'.
The case begins today in the civil court of Mechelen, where De Lijn is headquartered. The spokeswoman for Flanders' Mobility Minister Lydia Peeters (Open VLD, Flemish liberals) said the Minister's office would "follow the case closely".
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