Disabled pensioner told he can't get on bus without scooter pass (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Disabled pensioner told he can't get on bus without scooter pass
A DISABLED pensioner was told he couldn’t get on an empty bus with his mobility scooter because he didn’t have a pass for it.
Stewart Bisset, 65, who is 90 per cent housebound and suffers from emphysema, pulmonary heart disease and back problems, was on a rare outing with his friend David Powell.
The pair had gone shopping in Woodford Bridge and were waiting in Chigwell Road for the W14 bus to take them home at around 4.30pm last Friday.
Mr Bisset, who lives on the Orchard Estate in Broadmead Road, Woodford Green, said: “David asked the driver to put the ramp down for me, but he said he needed to see a badge for the scooter.
“I had no idea what he was talking about because nobody ever told me I needed a pass, but he wouldn’t budge.”
Mr Bisset has nicknamed his scooter (which has a top speed of 8mph) ‘Jet’, and has only had it for six weeks.
“This was the first time I have been out on Jet,” he said.
“It was dark and I was thinking ‘What if they all want this pass and I can’t get on a bus at all?’”
The pair decided to wait and when a 275 bus arrived they were let on immediately.
Mr Bisset called TfL and was told that badges had been issued since July and that those without them could only be let on buses at the driver’s discretion.
When the Guardian called TfL’s Travel Mentoring Service for Mobility, we were told that passes were automatically issued to anyone requesting one for scooters up to 100cm in length.
The official we spoke to added: “Over that length we would send someone out to assess the scooter and anything over 105 cm would not be given a badge.”
But she said it was down to the driver's discretion to decide whether to let those without badges on their bus.
Mr Bisset said: “I don’t understand why you need these badges anyway and I can’t see why that driver wouldn’t let me on.
“We have had a lot of problems with the buses not running on time around here as it is.
“Treating people like this is no way to win everyone round."
Mike Weston, London Buses Operations Director, said: “We take accessibility extremely seriously and are always concerned to hear about a passenger who is unhappy with their experience.
"Most wheelchairs and many mobility scooters can be carried on our buses, but to remove any confusion earlier this year we introduced a Mobility Card for passengers and revised guidance for bus drivers on what type of mobility aid can safely travel on London buses.
"Our website also contains a list of mobility scooters that can and cannot be carried on London Buses.
"Mr Bisset has been in touch with our Travel Mentoring Service and regrettably it appears his mobility scooter, which is on our list, is too big to be safely transported on our buses.
"We are working hard to ensure that manufacturers and retailers are made aware of the types of mobility scooters that are suitable for London buses.”
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