Bus driver refuses to help disabled woman. MEN July 12th 2010
A bus driver was caught on camera refusing to help a wheelchair-bound woman get off his single-decker. Renu Duggal, an award-winning disability rights campaigner, has slammed the driver for ignoring her pleas to put a ramp out so she could get off the bus at Piccadilly.
She said the First bus driver said he could not operate the electronically-powered ramp because he had a 'bad back' and argued that it was not his legal duty.
Her son Arjun, who was with her at the time, filmed the incident on his mobile phone. In the video, the driver can be seen covering his face with a timetable while a voice can be heard suggesting Renu be wheeled off backwards.
Eventually, people at the bus stop helped Arjun, 17, drag the wheelchair off.
Bosses at First have apologised and launched an inquiry.
Renu, 46, said: “I was very upset. It made me so sad. Why would you not attempt to help someone in a wheelchair? I’m fed up with getting treated like this.” Renu, of Briarfield Road, Timperley, Altrincham, formed the Our Independence group to help disabled people make friends and won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service for her efforts.
Renu went to get on the 135 service on Cheetham Hill Road. The driver made no move to get out of his cabin to operate the ramp, so Arjun did it himself – and was criticised by the driver.
When the bus arrived at Piccadilly, Arjun asked the driver to put the ramp out but again he refused. Arjun said: “I’ve never met anyone so rude. I decided to film it then because otherwise he would’ve just got away with it.”
Department for Transport guidance states bus drivers ‘must, wherever reasonable, assist a wheelchair user or other disabled person if they ask’. It also says drivers ‘must make a boarding device available when a disabled person wants to get on or off’.