Glenrothes woman's wheelchair '˜too long' for coach

A Glenrothes pensioner has criticised a bus operator claiming she was refused access to its express service due to the size of her wheelchair.
Ms Latimer used to take the express service to Cupar.Ms Latimer used to take the express service to Cupar.
Ms Latimer used to take the express service to Cupar.

Val Latimer (60) previously used Stagecoach’s express service to visit Cupar. However, she claims the operator has now stopped her using the service, saying her wheelchair is too big to get on.

Ms Latimer has an adapted wheelchair, with reclining back support, a seat lift, and elevated foot plate, to suit her disabilities.

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She says she feels “stuck in Glenrothes”, and now uses the 64 service instead.

Ms Latimer also wants to visit a friend, who is in hospital in Glasgow, but she says she is unable to because the express bus is the only direct service and that she cannot afford to take the train.

“I’ve been on the express buses dozens of times,” she said. “They suddenly started questioning it, measuring it. Now they say it’s too big.

“Apparently they’ve got a measurement they’ll allow up to and my wheelchair exceeds that.

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“It’s embarrassing. Everyone is looking at me wondering why I can’t get on. It’s frustrating.

“It’s disgraceful – so much for them being disability-friendly these days. It’s absolutely disgusting.”

A spokeswoman for Stagecoach East Scotland said: “Although all of our buses and coaches meet the necessary DDA legislation, unfortunately it is the case that not all wheelchair and scooter models fit on certain vehicle types and safety is the most important factor.

“We have recently met with the customer to assess her wheelchair on one of our coaches and unfortunately it is too long to be secured on the vehicle safely.

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“We are keen to work with this customer further to test other coach types available within our fleet in the hope she can continue to make her journeys with us but her safety is our primary concern.

“We also operate a low entry coach to Glasgow, which departs from Dunfermline/Ferrytoll P&R and may be a suitable consideration by using an alternative low floor bus or indeed rail service for the first part of the journey.”