The mum of a disabled boy has hit out after she was told he could not board a bus – because he was in a wheelchair.
James Parsons, aged 10, was distraught after the driver refused to pick him up, claiming it was against guidelines to carry passengers in wheelchairs on his type of bus.
However, James’ mum Sharon has branded the driver’s actions ‘despicable’, saying they have travelled on the same Stagecoach number four service, from Larwood to Worksop, every week for the last four years.
Sharon, 41, a full-time carer for James, who has Dandy-Walker syndrome, said: “The driver just said ‘no, I can’t take you’ and was adamant. He wouldn’t move until I got the wheelchair folded up. “
A Stagecoach spokesman said: “Most vehicles on our Worksop town services have a low-floor entrance and are accessible to wheelchairs.
“A small number, including the one boarded by the customer, do not have the necessary adaptations at present.
“We follow Department for Transport guidelines which state wheelchair passengers in such circumstances should travel in a bus seat while the wheelchair is stowed.
“We always put the safety of our customers first and as a responsible company follow government regulations.”
Stagecoach’s full statement:
“Most vehicles that operate on our Worksop town services have a low-floor entrance and are accessible to wheelchairs. A very small number of buses, including the one boarded by the customer, do not have the necessary adaptations for wheelchair access at present. We follow guidelines provided by the Department of Transport which state that wheelchair passengers in such circumstances should travel in a bus seat for the journey while the wheelchair is stowed in the luggage space.
“In this case, the driver explained this to the customer and she agreed to stow the wheelchair for the duration of the journey. We are sorry for any inconvenience these circumstances caused on this occasion. However, we always put the safety of our customers first and as a responsible company we follow government advice and regulations.
“Over 85 per cent of the Stagecoach East Midlands fleet is currently wheelchair accessible and we continue to invest heavily in new buses for our customers every year. Our vehicles will be fully accessible well before the statutory deadline set for all bus operators, which is January 1, 2017.”