A Luton diabetic who has had both legs amputated has missed vital medical appointments because he has been unable to board a bus to get him into town.
Trevor Shepherd, 57, of Wigmore Lane told the Herald&Post that he had been abandoned at the bus stop on numerous occasions because some Centrebus vehicles do not have the necessary ramps to facilitate wheelchair boarding.
The former HGV driver said: “I have been left behind for hours at a time in all sorts of weather.
“It’s disgraceful and depressing. I feel like a parasite who no-one wants to associate with.”
He has complained to the company which runs the routes on behalf of the council and added: “I’m not the only one affected. There are several elderly ladies around here who also have problems.”
They include Valerie Bickerstaff, 79, her friend Patricia Landi, 70 and 49-year-old arthritis sufferer Joanne Lacey.
Widowed grandmother Mrs Bickerstaff, who’s had two knee replacements, said: “The platform is too high when you’re getting on and off. If you have a heavy shopping trolley, it’s impossible to lift it on to the bus – and you can’t expect the driver to help you, the way they used to.”
She added: “Seeing Trevor being left behind makes us all feel so angry and helpless.”
Centrebus spokesman David Shelley offered an apology and said: “We’re sorry Mr Shepherd has been inconvenienced.
“The majority of our buses are low floor but unfortunately the 17 and 19 services which he uses still have some older buses without ramps.” He said the company’s entire fleet would be compliant with the new Equality Act which comes into force later next year and added that they had already spent more than £850,000 on seven new buses for Luton.
Mr Shelley urged anyone with a complaint to contact Centrebus directly on 01582 250250.
“If we don’t know the details, we can’t do anything about them,” he said. “We have a robust system in place and are really keen to get to the bottom of any incidents.”
A council spokesman said council leader Hazel Simmons has taken up Mr Shepherd’s predicament with Centrebus.
He added: “The council has been working very closely with bus operators to raise kerbs at bus stops and improve accessibility in advance of January 2016 when all single decker buses will be DDA compliant with low floors, and ramps available when required. All double deck vehicles will be DDA compliant in January 2017.”