Wheelchair refusal bus driver sacked pending appeal

A bus driver who refused to help a wheelchair user get off his vehicle has been sacked pending an appeal.

Renu Duggal, 46, of Timperley, Greater Manchester, asked the First bus driver to operate an automatic ramp to allow her to get off at Piccadilly.

When he refused, citing a bad back, her son Arjun Singh Duggal filmed the incident, prompting an inquiry.

But Ms Duggal, a disability rights campaigner, told the BBC she did not want the driver to lose his job.

"I wanted it to be brought to public attention, to warn other drivers and educate people," she said.

"That is enough. He should have been given a warning."

Image caption Ms Duggal said she was disappointed by the action

The incident happened on 1 July when the driver pulled up too far from the kerb for Ms Duggal to alight in her electric wheelchair.

Mr Singh Duggal filmed the driver of the 135 bendy bus sitting at the wheel, hiding his head with a timetable after declining to help.

Fellow passengers eventually helped him manoeuvre his mother's electric wheelchair off the bus.

First started an inquiry into what it described as the "regrettable incident" and it has now emerged the driver has been dismissed, pending an appeal.

On Wednesday, a spokesman said the company could not comment on individual staff and their circumstances.

"This matter is part of a stringent disciplinary process governed by employment law and we are unable to comment further at this present time," he added.

Department for Transport guidance to drivers states that bus drivers "must wherever reasonable assist a wheelchair user if they ask".

It continues: "You must make a boarding device available when a disabled person wants to get on or off.

"Whatever type of lift or ramp is provided you should make sure you know how to use it."

Ms Duggal is a committee member of Shopmobility in Manchester and a disability rights campaigner, recognised by the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.

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