Tourists left Eastbourne this week feeling disappointed with the town after a bus driver left a wheelchair user on the pavement despite having a ramp on his vehicle.
Jane and Chris Brossard were visiting family in Eastbourne at the weekend and were waiting in the Terminus Road bus lane at around 2pm on Saturday (September 29).
Jane said, “There was a lady in a wheelchair waiting with us and my husband told her he would help her on when the bus arrived.”
However, when the bus did arrive, Jane says the bus driver said he had not been trained to put the ramp down.
Jane, who lives in Taunton in Somerset, said she spoke to the driver and there were some brief conversations between the driver and the wheelchair user.
Despite that, the driver concluded there was nothing he could do to help her board the bus.
Jane said, “We had to just leave her and we felt awful.
“I was worried about how she was going to get home or wherever else she was going.
“Not only that, but as we left her, she actually said this same thing had happened four times before.
“If this sort of thing is happening to this lady then there must be other disabled people out there who are experiencing the same thing.”
Jane says either the driver was lazy or Stagecoach is at fault for not properly training its staff.
She added, “Surely if they have got that disabled sticker on the side of the bus they should be able to take the wheelchair.”
Neil Instrall, operations director from Stagecoach, assured The Herald all drivers were trained in how to operate the ramp for disabled passengers.
He said, “We are most concerned to learn of this and when the driver returns from holiday he will be interviewed.
“He is away until next week.”
Jane said, “We are visitors to the town and this sort of thing is very upsetting to see.
“Eastbourne was lovely and clean and had lots to offer but what happened on the bus put a bit of a downer on things for us.”
The Department of Transport says legislation requires the bus driver provide ‘reasonable assistance’ to disabled people, including wheelchair users, to board the bus.
In advice on the issue The Department of Transport has stated, “The regulations do allow the driver to refuse to help you if doing so would adversely affect his health or safety, your safety or that of other passengers or the safety of the vehicle