Essex

Bus driver 'told wheelchair user to do a wheelie onto bus'

Hollie-Anne Brooks Image copyright Hollie-Anne Brooks
Image caption Hollie-Anne Brooks described a bus driver's "wheelie" comment as ableist

A woman has accused a bus driver of telling her to "do a wheelie" to get her wheelchair aboard.

Hollie-Anne Brooks, 30, went to catch the service from the University of Essex, in Colchester, on Tuesday.

She said the First Essex driver had lowered the bus before making a comment about "doing a running jump and a wheelie up onto the bus".

The operator said it had launched an "urgent" investigation into Ms Brooks' complaint.

Disability activist and writer Ms Brooks, who was with her boyfriend at the time, said she was upset by the "ableist" comment.

'Too steep'

"It is about ownership of language, it is not the type of thing that you should say and I don't know what made him think it was okay," she said.

Ms Brooks, from Wivenhoe, said there had been a further confrontation when she tried to get off the bus.

It had pulled up too far from the pavement, she said, with the ramp at a dangerous angle.

"The ramp was so steep to the point that I would fall out of my wheelchair," she said.

"I asked him to move a bit further along the pavement but he told me he had done it lots of times and that it would be fine."

The driver did eventually move forward, she said, adding that the experience had made her anxious about using buses.

Image copyright Contributed
Image caption First Essex said it was "disappointed" to hear of the incident

Paul Coyle, from First Essex, said he was "disappointed to hear of the incident and I have arranged for an investigation into the accusation to be undertaken urgently".

"This is certainly not the type of service I would expect any of our driving team to provide," he added.

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