Ipswich: Disabled man nearly crushed by bus in ‘frightening’ accident

Wheelchair bound Ivan West of Ipswich who was involved in an incident with a bus in the town centre

Wheelchair bound Ivan West of Ipswich who was involved in an incident with a bus in the town centre

A disabled man who feared a bus was going to “crush” him against a wall has called for urgent safety improvements.

Wheelchair-bound Ivan West said a bus departing the Great Colman Street stop struck him, sweeping him through a crowd of people and nearly in to a wall.

The 64-year-old, who is fed by a machine and spent nine weeks in hospital after contracting pneumonia on Boxing Day, suffered minor injuries in the “frightening” incident on August 15.

Now he wants improved safety measures to be introduced.

His plea comes days after the temporary closure of the Tower Ramparts bus depot for major improvement works.

The Cattlemarket is also undergoing significant refurbishment. Both are due to reopen on November 15.

As a result of the works, eight more buses now depart from Great Colman Street.

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Mr West, of Park View Road, said four buses were lined up at the stop as he was waiting to board the First 75 bus to Felixstowe.

“There was a double-decker at the front, then a 64, then a 75 and a fourth one at the back,” he said.

“The 64 took on passengers and decided to go before the 75 had loaded. Because the 66 was in front the driver had to perform a sharp right-hand lock.”

He said this caused the back of the bus to swing on to the pavement, pushing him into a crowd of people.

“It was frightening,” he said. “I was being pushed sideways. I was wondering what the hell was going on.

“Any further and I would have been crushed against the side of the pub (Bar Sport).

“I was dazed and in shock. Both armrests fells off.

“People were screaming and banged on the bus. The driver stopped and apologised.”

Mr West said he has raised his concerns with Suffolk County Council.

“I’ve told them it’s unsafe,” he said. “It’s dangerous.

“Buses have to stretch right round each other. It could have been a couple of children in a buggy.

“We might not be so lucky next time.”

A spokesman for bus operator First said: “Our local team is investigating this incident internally.

“We would urge Mr West to contact our customer service team to log this incident, so that we can gather all relevant information to enable us to take appropriate action where necessary.”

A Suffolk County Council spokesman said: “The county council is aware of the concerns raised and will be liaising with all bus providers operating services that use the temporary stops on Great Coleman Street, asking that they ensure drivers take extra care when pulling away during particularly busy periods.”