Mobility scooter user stranded in Norwich after being told she needed a permit to board bus home
- Credit: Archant
For Christine Hankin, getting on a bus with her mobility scooter took a lot of courage.
The 69-year-old, who struggles to walk due to hip problems, decided to take the scooter to Norwich for the first time after being encouraged by friends to meet them in the city for lunch.
She encountered no trouble getting a Konectbus from her home in Watton, but on trying to board a bus home she was told she couldn't bring her scooter on without a permit.
The driver called a colleague on another bus, who offered to accommodate her on the next service, before driving off without her.
Mr Hankin labelled the situation 'disgusting'.
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'I have not long been disabled but I am trying to be positive and do what I used to do, which is go to Norwich and have a meal with my friends.
'I was scared and embarrassed to take the scooter out, but this time I plucked up the courage because it was my friend's 70th birthday.
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'The driver in Norwich asked me if I had a permit, and I said I did not know I had to have one.
'No one seems to know about this permit.
'My daughter has had a mobility scooter shop in London for 15 years, she sold me mine and said it would be safe to take on a bus. I phoned her to say they wouldn't let me on the bus and she was outraged.'
Mrs Hankin did later find guidance about mobility scooter and wheelchair permits on the Konectbus website, but believes the information is not accessible enough.
'My beef is, where is that information other than on the website? Not everyone is web savvy, I am but I would not have dreamt of looking up that information. You see people on the bus and just accept that you can.
'I do not want anyone else to go through that embarrassing situation and be in that position.'
Konectbus said they were 'very sorry to hear of Mrs Hankin's distress'.
A spokesperson for the company said mobility scooter users had to take an assessment to show the scooter fitted its measurement requirements and that the user was able to manoeuvre it on a bus.
Successful applicants are issued with a certificate which they can show to bus drivers.
He added: 'It is about the safety of the passengers and the scooter user. They have to be in control for the benefit of everyone.'