May 23 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
A young disabled man is facing a daily battle to get around because many bus drivers won’t allow him on board in his wheelchair.
Ollie Knocker, 22, has been left stranded in the rain on numerous occasions and says the problem is jeopardising his new job as an editor at a TV company in Tolpuddle Street, Islington, as he is often late.
The muscular dystrophy sufferer, who lives in Murray Grove, Hoxton, moved to the capital around four months ago and bought a mobility scooter specially designed for bus travel, which Transport for London (TfL) told him was allowed.
But he says many bus drivers continue to deny him access, claiming there is a blanket rule regarding such scooters.
Mr Knocker said: “I managed to find myself a job in London despite the odds being stacked against me, not only due to unemployment levels but as I am wheelchair-bound, which limits where I can work.
“But, having left my family and main line of support back in Yorkshire to pursue an independent life, I was soon faced with this completely unwarranted problem caused by the very people I thought would help provide me with my independence.”
He added: “I’ve never experienced discrimination like it. I really do dread having to get on any bus. One driver accused me of not being disabled because I don’t look as if I am.’’
Mr Knocker said other passengers have been very supportive, with one getting off the bus in protest, and Transport for All has also been backing his case.
Mike Weston, operations director for London Buses, said TfL takes accessibility matters “extremely seriously” and was sorry to hear of Mr Knocker’s difficulties.
He added: “TfL is in the process of developing a new recognition scheme which will make it easier for bus drivers to identify the more compact scooter designs which can fit on our buses.”