Staff at Harold Wood supported living home say disabled passengers treated as second class citizens

Workers at a supported- living home for adults with disabilities say their users are treated as second class citizens by bus drivers and passengers.

The staff at The Ridgeway, Harold Wood, have hit out over the poor treatment and negative attitude by bus drivers and passengers.

Supported living manager Sheila Morgan said: “It is almost like they are being treated as if they are second class citizens.”

The users aged 20 to 26, who have physical and learning disabilities, use public transport every day.

Humiliating


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The staff, who accompany the users say that there have been times when they have been left stranded and deserted at the bus stops because of the drivers’ refusals to let them on the bus.

They have had to put up with ramps not working and parents refusing to fold up their children’s pushchairs, despite a sign advising them to do so.

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Sheila said: “The whole point of our work is to give the young people the skills to live independently and we do a lot of work in the community, but it seems that the transport is the only barrier that is stopping us.”

The group say that when they have confronted drivers about their rude attitude they have suffered from shouting and swearing.

They are now working with Hornchurch and Upminster MP Angela Watkinson to try to come to some agreement with the bus companies.

Support living worker, Charlotte Boulter said: “Its a really humiliating experience when you are shouted at by the bus drivers and if you talk back they make a spectacle of us and our users.”

Operations director Of London Buses, Mike Weston, said: “We take the issue of accessibility very seriously.

“The entire fleet are low-floor, wheelchair accessible buses. We are always concerned to hear of passengers experiencing poor service. If they do we would encourage them to contact TfL’s customer services on 0845 300 7000.”

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