Barbara Wintersgill, 68, who has had Parkinson’s disease for 10 years, was traumatised after being forced to leave by a driver and left stranded miles from home. She eventually arranged for a friend to come and collect her but says the hour-long ordeal was extremely distressing.
She explained: “I totally rely on my scooter because of balance and mobility issues I got on the bus eventually, as the ramp wasn’t working, and then the driver asked me for my mobility scooter permit. I told him that I had no idea that I needed one. I have never been asked for one by any other driver.”
Barbara, who was in Cornwall visiting friends, had taken the train to Penzance on Saturday and intended to continue to Porthcurno on a First Kernow bus. She claims she showed her mobility scooter pass for First Great Western trains but was told by the driver that she required another pass from Cornwall Council to board the bus.
She added: “He refused to let me travel. To be precise, he said that my husband and dogs could stay on the bus but that I could not, unless I left the mobility scooter behind. Obviously, I could not do this and he demanded that I get off the bus.”
Barbara complained to First Kernow’s customer services department but claimed the response she got was “completely unsympathetic”. She said: “When I asked how visitors to Cornwall were supposed to know about this requirement, I was told that it was fully explained in their terms and conditions. I pointed out that, realistically, few bus passengers were likely to look at this document. The humane, considerate and caring thing to do was to inform me that, next time I used Kernow buses, I must get a scooter permit, rather than throw me off the bus.”
A spokesperson for First Kernow responded: “It is our policy that all users of mobility scooters should obtain approval from us prior to their journey. If we are satisfied they meet the necessary criteria, we issue a standard permit to travel In this instance, we are very sorry that the lady was unable to board the bus because she did not have a permit to travel. We do ensure that our customers are aware of our policy about mobility scooters through on-bus posters, and information at bus stations and on our website.”
Another example of bureaucracy gone mad. Have you experienced this sort of bureaucratic nonsense with a similar transport permit problem regarding your mobility scooter? Let us know in the Reply Box below.