DISABLED people are not guaranteed to get a bus ride at Felixstowe – facing “pot luck” when they turn up to wait at a stop, it was claimed today.

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Despite thousands of pounds having been spent on raising pavements to provide access to vehicles, not all low-floor buses are suitable for wheelchair users on routes around the town.

Town councillor Michael Sharman described the situation as dreadful and called on people with disabilities to keep a log of times, stops and routes where they had been denied a ride because the bus could not take them.

“I spoke to First Eastern buses about the situation and they told me they were not obliged to provide low-floor buses and that Felixstowe is not on a designated route for them,” he said.

“The bus I travelled back to Felixstowe on one evening this week was 19 years old and there was no way a disabled person could have got onto it. It wasn’t just the step up but it had a dividing barrier for passengers at the entrance, too.

“Apparently, if a person in a wheelchair turns up at a bus stop there is no guarantee they can get onto the bus and they may have to sit and wait for the next one or the one after that. I certainly wouldn’t want to do that in this weather.

“It seems it’s just a matter of luck if you get a ride.

“It is disgusting and a dreadful situation that really needs sorting out.

“I would like to see people in wheelchairs keeping a log of the times, bus numbers and stops where they have had problems.”

A spokesman for First Eastern said all vehicles in the Ipswich fleet were “low floor access” but nine of them do not have facilities on board for passengers with wheelchairs or push-chairs.

“This is an issue we are aware of and are addressing over the coming months by replacing these vehicles with newer, DDA compliant buses that do have the necessary bays for wheelchairs and push-chairs,” he said.

“Wherever possible, we try to ensure that all routes have vehicles that cater for all passengers.”

3 comments

  • Well i suppose we should be thankful that Ipswich buses are 100% DDA compliant then. another black mark against First bus. who in my opinion should be called Worst bus.

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    mr angry

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

  • Its about time this bus company trained its drivers properly to NOT travel with indicators going for miles. This happens quite a lot.

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    pukkatrukka

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

  • As someone who has a 'wheelchair user'... I can safely say that this report is 'spot on', but despite some drivers do lower the ramps when they are 'in use'... many sit in their cabins without a care of 'helping'. Many 75's don't even cater for 'wheelchairs, some 66's are so narrow' and the statement of '“I spoke to First Eastern buses about the situation and they told me they were not obliged to provide low-floor buses and that Felixstowe is not on a designated route for them,” he said.... they need to read the 'DDA and transport report... by 2014-15 all buses 'must be wheelchair friendly' and if 'Felixstowe is not a proper route'...why run buses to the 'town'? It does amaze me how 'they say... if a wheelchair wants to get on... but refuse to enforce it'.

    Report this comment

    csiuk2007

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

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