Disabled woman slams Melbourne bus driver who would not let her on full bus

A disabled woman has sparked an online debate after accusing a Melbourne bus driver of being “ableist” for denying her entry onto a bus.

The driver claimed the bus was at maximum capacity and it would be unfair to ask existing passengers to disembark, despite the fact Anastasiia Berezikova was on a mobility scooter, thereby qualifying for a priority seat.

“I’m so sorry,” the driver told the 23-year-old.

“I can’t take you on at this stage. The next one shouldn’t be too long. The bus is full, I am only allowed to take 75 passengers. So I can’t kick them off and let you on, it would be unfair.”

The woman asked the bus driver if he “understands there are priority seats” available for disabled people on public buses.

“I understand, but there are other people who got on the bus before you, and I can’t kick them out,” he replied.

Ms Berezikova claimed “able-bodied people” had been prioritised in this instance.

“So none of the able-bodied people want to help a disabled person,” Ms Berezikova asked, singling out one woman on the bus.

Ms Berezikova’s TikTok video of the exchange generated mixed reactions, with some supporting her and others siding with the driver.

“You’re prioritised a seat/space on the bus if there is a space on the bus, they can’t just kick someone off that’s on before you,” one user wrote.

“On the bus you get priority seating, yes. But you don’t get priority to ride – if it’s full it’s full they can’t just kick people off,” a second commenter wrote.

“I’m a wheelchair user also. In this situation he did nothing wrong. You’re assuming people are discriminating you when they’re not,” a third wrote.

Others were adamant the people on the bus were in the wrong by not offering her a seat.

“Bloody hell how rude & inconsiderate are people nowadays they only think about themselves. They should’ve moved & stood up from the priority seat,” one wrote.

In follow-up videos posted to TikTok, Ms Berezikova claimed that others had boarded the bus after pushing in front of her, and that she had pleaded with them to make space for her.

She revealed her medical history, including being in a 12-day coma in July 2021 due to cardiac arrests caused by Eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA) and subsequent motor skills, co-ordination, and speech issues.

“I get it, it doesn’t matter to you that (myself) or others have special needs. What matters to you is that you get from point A to point B on time. I dont mind waiting for a second bus. Okay third. But fourth? Fifth?!” she wrote in the follow-up post.

“And still face discrimination on the bus. If you think its okay to leave disabled people stranded that is NOT COOL … I deserve to get on a bus like anyone else and infrastructure and society must allow that.”

Public Transport Victoria has been contacted for comment.

Originally published as Disabled woman slams Melbourne bus driver who would not let her on full bus