A wheelchair user from Needham Market says he was ‘utterly humiliated’ when he was refused entry to a bus on his way to a hospital appointment.
Terence Carter, 29, of Ipswich Road, said he felt like a ‘second class citizen’ when the driver of the x5 route Ipswich Bus told him he couldn’t get on because there was no room.
Terence was one of the first in line to board the 11.50am bus from Tower Ramparts on his way to an appointment at Ipswich Hospital on Friday, February 20. He said he let other passengers board first, along with parents with pushchairs, but when it came to his turn the driver told him ‘look mate, you’re not getting on this bus’.
Terence, who has been in a wheelchair for the past five years due to complications following spinal surgery, said he offered to get out of his wheelchair and haul himself into a seat but the driver got in his way, closed the doors and walked off.
Terence said: “It was utterly humiliating to be in a public place like that and be denied access on to the bus.
“It makes me feel like a second class citizen. I don’t think people in my position should be given something for nothing but I would like as much respect as everyone else.”
Thankfully, another driver who arrived to finish off the route immediately asked whether Terence would like to board and helped him to get on.
Terence, who is a town councillor, said he did not have anything against people with pushchairs, it was the way the driver treated him that upset him most.
“I just don’t understand why the situation was made so difficult,” he said.
“But it was all the more frustrating that the parents with pushchairs got off at the next stop anyway.”
Malcolm Robson, managing director of Ipswich Buses, said he was very sorry for what had happened.
He said: “We were disappointed with the actions and attitude of the first driver Terence came across, the second driver was perfect and dealt with the situation properly.
“The first driver let himself down and let us down too.
“Drivers are now required to ask people with pushchairs if they are prepared to move.
“In our investigation the driver failed to do that. We got it badly wrong and I have personally apologised to Terence.”