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Disabled mum says bus driver 'refused to let her on with wheelchair and pram'

Disabled mum says bus driver 'refused to let her on with wheelchair and pram'

A disabled mum has accused a bus company of discrimination after not allowed on a bus

A disabled mum who was 'not allowed to get on a bus with her wheelchair and infant son's pram' has slammed the company for 'discrimination' and claimed it has happened on multiple occasions.

Heather Sturdy says First Bus drivers have 'shut the door in her face' around 10 times when she's been trying to get onto the number 75 bus on Balmore Road, Ruchill with her five-year-old son Kayden and 13-week-old baby Brodhi.

The 32-year-old described bus drivers telling her there is 'no room' when she is sure she can see space on the bus, and refuse to look at a letter which was issued to her by First Bus declaring that if there is space, then she is allowed on with her wheelchair and buggy.

Heather uses the bus to take eldest son Kayden to school and attend hospital appointments for youngest child Brodhi, who was born eight weeks premature.

She says she has been left 'at a loss' and that being left behind in the cold is having a negative impact on the mental health of her and her children.

Heather says she is often not allowed on the bus with her pram and wheelchair.
Media Scotland

Speaking to the Daily Record, Heather said she 'deliberately got a particular style of pram' which would fit onto the bus but still isn't allowed on by some of the drivers.

She said: "I always have to wait for the next bus when they don't let me on but sometimes they're cancelled so we're forced to walk half an hour to Kayden's school, which isn't ideal for me or my baby as we've both got health conditions.

"I feel like this is discrimination against parents in wheelchairs. I don't drive, trains are awkward for me and taxis are too expensive. If I can't get on the bus, how am I supposed to get about?

"The situation is really affecting my five year old too. He's got severe anxiety getting on buses now and gets really upset, tense and panicky whenever we're not allowed on. It's not fair on either on any of us."

The first time Heather was allegedly rejected from travelling on the bus was in October 2020 when Brodhi was just five weeks old.

She says she was told by the driver that there was no room on board, but Heather says she could see no one with a wheelchair or buggy already on board

Heather and her sons Kayden and Brodhi.
Media Scotland

Heather complained to First Bus after several other incidents and the transport company gave her a letter which stated that wheelchair space on most vehicles can accommodate up to two small prams or normal sized unfolded pushchairs and, if not occupied, should be prioritised for wheelchair users.

However, on Monday, 9 January, Heather was denied access twice in one day and filmed the confrontation, with footage showing her pleading with the driver to read the letter.

In another recording a driver shouts 'you two aren't allowed on together', referring to Heather and her carer she needs with her at all times and pushes the pram for the disabled mum as she can't do it herself.

The driver tells her that 'prams and wheelchairs cannot travel at the same time' before closing the doors and driving off.

Heather says she has been left 'very upset' by the repeated rejections and now wants First Bus to introduce clearer rules for disabled passenger so she can travel on the bus without risk of being turned away.

The mum said she had heard 'lots of nasty things' said in her direction, accusing drivers of making comments like 'I'm sick of this crap' and telling her she 'shouldn't be out on my own'.

Heather argued that the rules for passengers in wheelchairs and with prams need to be clearer and that First Bus 'need to accommodate us'.

Heather says she keeps getting turned away from getting on the bus.
Media Scotland

First Bus Scotland has responded to Heather, with Operations Director Linda Shields telling the Record the company was 'very disappointed to hear about the ongoing challenges' Heather was facing on the bus.

She said: "We sympathise with their situation are continuing to work with our drivers and the customer to find how we may be able to support on this route.

"All First Bus drivers are trained to ensure safe carriage of everyone on board and to deliver a high standard of customer care to everyone. Unfortunately, on some services, depending on the size of the bus and its capacity, we’re unable to accommodate large wheelchairs and large prams together.

"In these instances, drivers will advise on the next bus arriving and will inform the next driver that there is someone waiting to be helped."

Featured Image Credit: Media Scotland

Topics: News, Parenting, Health