Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Elderly man trapped other passengers on bus in protest at being unable to get off at usual stop

An 87-year-old man from Plymouth, Devon, lay down on a bus and stopped other passengers from getting off in protest at a shake-up which has left him unable to get off at his usual stop. Angry Colin Willmott says he thought "the world had gone mad" when his CityBus service was re-routed. The changes were brought it because coaches have started using new stops at Derry's Cross after the closure of Bretonside and opening of Plymouth's new coach station at Mayflower Street. Last week, when the disabled pensioner expected to get off the number 25 bus at his usual stop, the bus kept going.

The driver said it was because coaches, which had previously been able to use Bretonside, were now using the Derry's Cross stops as there was no space at the city's new coach station. The next stop was further down Royal Parade, at stand number A16, and Mr Willmott said the extra walk was a struggle. "It's crazy," he said. "All of us pensioners have to walk from Royal Parade down to the market, then walk all the way back up again." Frail Mr Willmott added: "I come into town for the market, I don't shop up at the posh end of town. I'm an oldie, it's what we are used to." He said he was "no less than shattered", following the trek.

The next time it happened, Mr Willmott refused to get off at the Royal Parade stop and instead lay in the aisle, deliberately restricting other passengers from getting off the bus. "Two bus inspectors came out and they asked me to get off the bus and talk with them in the office," he said. "I said I had already [spoken to CityBus about the changes] and it didn't lead anywhere, so I would not leave until I saw some action. I let passengers on by moving to the side but a few of them shouted at me and called me selfish. They just didn't understand the bigger picture, it was the only way I could draw attention to the issue. It puts me off going into town."

Mr Willmott took his battle to his local councillor, Ian Tuffin, who said: "I immediately got all the info and the council are quite correct, it is dangerous [for buses] to double park. But I spoke with someone from the council and they confirmed that the bus should always stop in whatever circumstances. I recognise the elderly shouldn't have to walk that distance, it's ridiculous." Mark Collins, commercial and marketing manager at CityBus, said buses were only able to stop at Derry's Cross if there are no coaches there. A spokesman said: "Following feedback from passengers on the Service 25, an agreement has been made between Plymouth Citybus and Plymouth City Council that we will now use stand A9 to drop off and pick up passengers. It will not wait on this stop and continue to serve stand A16."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

a gran gesture on the part of the Council