Disabled Llandudno man says getting on Arriva buses is "physically impossible"

Original by Patrick Glover, North Wales Pioneer - https://www.northwalespioneer.co.uk/news/17474099.disabled-llandudno-ma…

A Llandudno resident has been left unable to use Arriva buses after he said some drivers have made it "physically impossible" for him to get on.

 

Damian Plant, 42, has been in a wheelchair his whole life and, being unable to drive, uses buses to get around when his drivers are unavailable.

But Mr Plant said some Arriva Bus drivers he had come across had been so unhelpful when it came to him getting on to bus that it had become unsafe and it made him not want to catch buses at all.

He said: "They are basically making it physically impossible for me to get onto the buses.

"They [the drivers] take a lot of prompting, they just don't want to get up off their seats sometimes. They try and ignore you and then they are huffing and puffing when they do get up to put the ramp out.

"I go on every bus in the area apart from the number 12 and basically it is not safe for wheelchairs at all to go on.

"Safety for me, and anybody else using the bus, is important - and if its not safe I won't get on them."

Aberconwy Assembly Member, Janet Finch-Saunders said this kind of behaviour was "extremely disappointing" and acted as an unnecessary barrier for disabled people trying to live independently.

Mrs Finch-Saunders said: “I am extremely disappointed to learn that drivers are making it physically impossible for wheelchair users to travel by bus.

“Elderly residents have previously advise me that some younger users have not been offering up their seats when the bus is full, but I have never before heard of a situation as serious as this.

“I will raise this issue with Mr Michael Morton, Arrive Buses Wales, at our next meeting.

“Certainly, assurances need to be given by Arriva that it is taking equality issues into account when deciding how to run services.

"Indeed, on the information I have been provided it seems that there is a barrier to disabled people enjoying their right to independent living – one which should not be there."

An Arriva spokesperson apologised to Mr Plant and said all drivers were trained to make sure disabled passengers have a comfortable and safe journey.

The spokesperson said: "Part of our drivers' extensive training includes making sure our disabled passengers have a safe and comfortable journey - this is of utmost importance to Arriva.

"However, following these comments we will take this opportunity to remind all of our drivers of the training they've received and the standard of service we expect.

"We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience the passenger in question has experienced and, if it happens again, we urge him to contact our customer service department directly with service details so we can further address the issues."