Thursday 16th June 2016
Scottish Citylink Leave Behind Wheelchair User

A review is under way after an Inverness wheelchair user found himself stranded in Fort Augustus because of problems with the equipment onboard a Scottish Citylink coach.

A passenger who is totally wheelchair bound, was trying to build up confidence in using public transport when due to a technical issue with a coach, David Sansum, of Charleston View, Kinmylies was left stranded in Fort Augustus.

Mr Sansum, who travelled from Inverness with two able-bodied companions, encountered his first terrible experience on arrival at Fort Augustus when the lift would not operate properly, leaving him suspended halfway up. Mr Sansum, who is afraid of heights was left feeling "panicky" and eventually had to be man handled down using a hoist.

The return journey turned out to be even more problematic when the coach turned up more than an hour late and its lift would not operate at all, so he was advised to catch the next one which would be along about 20 minutes later. When that coach turned up, the lift did work however the removal base of the bus seat which would allow his wheelchair to be accommodated was stuck solid.

After consulting his controller, the bus driver told Mr Sansum to get a taxi and claim back the cost from Citylink.

His travelling companion advised the driver that it would be impossible to source a taxi suitable for his wheelchair but the driver could not help. It was down to his other companion, a Shop Mobility worker, to call her office for assistance and used one of their vehicles to rescue Mr Sansum.

After being contacted by The Inverness Courier, Scottish Citylink and Stagecoach apologised for what had happened.

"We welcome customers with a disability on to our services and many passengers with wheelchairs travel with us without any problems every week," said a Citylink spokeswoman. "Clearly on this occasion, something appears to have gone wrong."

A Stagecoach spokeswoman said the wheelchair ramps were serviced regularly and checked daily. "We will review what happened on this occasion and learn what can be done better in the future," she said.

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