Wheelchair woman ‘denied travel’ on Havering buses
A wheelchair-bound woman has been forced to carry an official letter after claiming she was repeatedly refused on buses and was mistreated by drivers.
Lorraine Lines, 64, of Hornchurch, says she encountered trouble on the 252 bus four times because of her disability.
She complained to Transport for London (TfL) on May 3 after two drivers criticised the size of her chair.
She received a letter of apology from the bus company FirstGroup two days later.
TfL has now promised to retrain drivers in their conduct.
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Mrs Lines, a retired council worker, said: “The letter says I have every right to use these buses, so I carry it with me whenever I travel.”
On May 15, the same driver told her that the ramp wasn’t working because her chair, which weighs 162kg less than the limit, was too heavy.
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Mrs Lines suffers from chronic asthma and osteoarthritis and has been dependent on the chair since a serious car accident disabled her in 2005.
She said: “When I showed the driver my letter the ramp miraculously started working again!
“The indignity of it! I got off the bus and burst into tears. It’s disgraceful in this day and age.”
But Mrs Lines was denied travel again on Monday because a buggy was on board.
A TfL spokesperson said: “We would like to apologise to Mrs Lines for the problems she encountered and assure her that FirstGroup will be revisiting these procedures with their drivers.”
TfL’s Conditions for Carriage, under Section 13.2.4, states that “wheelchair users have priority over everyone else for the wheelchair space.”
Mrs Lines has made official complaints about all the incidents but is yet to receive an apology for the second.
She said: “I would like light to be shed on the matter.
“I don’t want this happening to any more disabled people.”
TfL added: “We encourage any passengers who encounter any problems with London bus services to contact TfL’s Customer Services on 0845 300 7000”