Bus bosses say ‘sorry’ for wheelchair mum’s distress

APOLOGY: Wheelchair-bound Anne Sutton and daughter Alice were left stranded
APOLOGY: Wheelchair-bound Anne Sutton and daughter Alice were left stranded
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Bus giant Stagecoach is to carpet a driver who refused to pick up a heavily pregnant woman and her wheelchair-bound mother during a cloudburst in Preston city centre.

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We have traced the member of staff concerned and arrangements have been made for him to be formally interviewed with regards to the incident as a matter of urgency.

The company has issued a full apology to Alice May Foleher, 20, and her mum Anne Sutton who were left cold, drenched and furious after the “heartless” treatment they received after a trip to the shops.

A Stagecoach official has admitted the driver failed to follow company procedure about giving priority to disabled passengers.

“I am very disappointed with how it has been handled by our driver,” said Michael Stevens, assistant operations manager at Preston. “I have viewed the CCTV footage and it is clear that our driver has failed to follow company procedure.

“We have traced the member of staff concerned and arrangements have been made for him to be formally interviewed with regards to the incident as a matter of urgency.”

Alice, who is seven months pregnant, said she and her mother were left waiting in Fishergate for 45 minutes for a No 3 Penwortham bus. When it turned up almost full, she claimed the driver refused to move people who were standing in the disabled area and told her: “It’s my bus and I decide who gets on.”

She also alleged an inspector at the bus station “didn’t seem interested.” Mr Stevens said the long wait had been caused by traffic congestion. But he added: “It does not excuse the driver’s actions.

“We do instruct drivers to give priority to wheelchairs. It is apparent that on this occasion this did not happen and for this I offer my sincere apologies.”

Alice said: “All we wanted was an apology for what happened and to be reassured it will not happen again.”