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Disabled passenger from Ashford says discrimination is 'getting worse' on public transport

A disabled woman from Ashford says she feels discriminated against when using public transport, especially buses.

Jill Fill, 47, has had to use a wheelchair for three years and relies on public transport to get into the town centre from her home in Singleton.

However, Mrs Fill says the services for disabled people on the Stagecoach buses she uses are 'getting worse'.

Mrs Fill with her daughters Bethany and Amy (1670058)
Mrs Fill with her daughters Bethany and Amy (1670058)

Mrs Fill said: "I feel there is a lot of discrimination against disabled people on buses and trains.

"I've had several problems with buses. One is that they only have one space for a wheelchair on the bus, whereas they have two for pushchairs.

"Then a lot of the time the drivers will actually drive off before I've locked my wheelchair which means I've started rolling around and have to grab onto a rail or seat to steady myself.

"Some of the drivers can also be really rude and speak to me as if I'm thick or they speak above me to the person who is pushing me."

Mrs Fill, who usually travels with the help of her daughters Amy and Bethany, also said there were issues getting on the buses too.

She continued: "Sometimes the drivers park so far away from the kerb it is really difficult to get on the bus and then there can be problems with the ramp too.

"I was getting the bus from Oxen Lease into town last Wednesday (April 25) and had problems then. The bus driver stopped too far away from the kerb for me to get on. She then lowered the bus and got the ramp out but because it was so low the ramp stuck up making it still difficult for me to get on.

" I asked her to raise the bus a bit but she refused and said she couldn't. Its so frustrating because it makes it harder for me to get on and she'd managed to lower the bus so I can't see why she couldn't lift it up again."

Stock image.
Stock image.

Mrs Fill has contacted Stagecoach several times to express her concerns and issues with her travel but says she has never really got a reply.

"Its just getting worse. Its getting to the point where I'm dreading to go out because of the travel.

"The drivers attitudes need to change and they need to add more disabled spaces on the buses."

A spokesman from Stagecoach said: "We're very concerned to hear about this customer's experience on our buses and we're keen to discuss what happened.

"We're absolutely committed to making access to our services easier for people with disabilities. All our buses are specifically designed to safely accommodate wheelchair users and our drivers are extensively trained on the challenges faced by people with a disability and how to help them."

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