A man suffering from cerebral palsy was prevented from getting on a Stagecoach bus in Cambridge because the folding bike he uses to get around was not in a bag.
Paul Norman, who lives near Sudbury in Suffolk, had been visiting the Strawberry Fair in Cambridge with his fiancée and daughter on June 4, reports Cambridge News.
He had encountered no problem that morning when he took the bus into Cambridge from Bury St Edmunds carrying his bicycle, which he needs to get around since he has severe difficulties standing and walking.
On the way home, however, it was a different matter, with problems starting as he waited for the 6.15pm bus.
“Upon queuing I was approached by the manager of Stagecoach Cambridge,” Mr Norman explained.
“He refused to give me his name, and told me quite aggressively I would not be permitted to board the bus with the bicycle out of a bag.
“This was the last bus of the day and I did not have the money for any other means. I hold a disabled person’s bus pass which I would have used as fare.”
Mr Norman said that the experience had left him “embarrassed and ashamed.” He was only able to return home after friends drove 30 miles into Cambridge to pick him up.
Even once he knew they were on their way, his ordeal wasn’t over, however.
“As they are not familiar with Cambridge I had to walk to a well-known location maybe a three-mile walk from the bus station,” he continued.
“This caused me much pain and by the time I got home my foot had swollen and was black and blue from the rubbing of the leg brace I wear.”
It wasn’t reported why Mr Norman hadn’t used his bike for that trip, but he said that the episode had been “one of the most unpleasant, emotionally disturbing, truly physically painful experiences” he had gone through
Christina Ratcliffe, operations manager at Stagecoach East, apologised to Mr Norman in an email, saying: “Stagecoach set high standards for our staff both in the conduct of their duties and their attitude to our customers.
“It would appear, however, that the individual you refer to failed to meet these standards and appropriate action will be taken to ensure there is no repetition.”
She said that the company required folding bikes to be put in a carrying case, although Mr Norman maintains that isn’t made clear.
Ms Ratcliffe added that “common sense” should be exercised and problems dealt with “without aggression”.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.