A disabled octogenarian claimed she was denied access to a bus, despite having been told by the company that they can accommodate motorised scooters.
Storrington resident Iris Williams said she was ‘amazed’ that a bus company, Compass Travel, would not allow her to board the bus whilst using her small motorised scooter.
“The bus driver wouldn’t let me on. Apparently none of their buses accommodate scooters. The whole thing is wrong,” said the 85-year-old.
Before attempting to take the free Storrington bus service to Holmbush (also known as X2), Mrs Williams claimed she called Compass Travel to ask if they accommodate motorised scooters and was informed that they do.
“I spoke to someone in the office if I could put my scooter on the bus and they said yes, but since they have been denying it.
“Storrington is full of elderly people and my scooter is the smallest one you can buy.
“I’m amazed that Compass Travel are allowed to get away with it in this day and age.”
Now, Mrs Williams said she will have to pay £30 for a taxi to take her to Holmbush for her weekly shopping trip.
Suffering with angina, arthritis in the spine and osteomyelitis in the knee, the villager said she finds it difficult to walk unaided and relies on the bus service to get around.
Managing director of Compass Travel, Chris Chatfield, said it is the ‘law of the land’ as the buses are only designed to take wheelchairs, not scooters.
He said: “Everyone who works here knows that we can’t take motorised scooters.
“I don’t know who would have said that. The ramp cannot take the weight and on the grounds of health and safety there is no room for them.
“I do apologise that there was a misunderstanding over it, but it’s out of our control.
“We don’t design the buses here. It’s quite clearly stated on the time table and website.”
He added: “It’s not that we don’t want to help.”
In a bid to find out why local buses cannot accommodate motorised scooters, Mrs Williams has written to Horsham District Council, and to Anne Robinson at BBC One’s Watchdog.
She has also written to Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert.
“I’ve lived in Storrington for more than 25 years and I’ve travelled all over the world,” she said.
“All I wanted to do was some shopping.”
If you use a motorised scooter and have experienced similar difficulties let us know at the County Times.
For more details about Compass Travel, visit www.compass-travel.co.uk
The Confederation for Passenger Transport have developed a nationwide permit scheme which allows some smaller types of mobility scooter to be taken onto low-floor buses. Permits are only given out by participating bus companies, to scooter users who have completed a simple training and assessment course.
For details of the scheme, visit www.cpt-uk.org/