A WHEELCHAIR user claims he was told to ‘f*** off’ by a bus driver after attempting to board a bus in Erith Road.

Mark Hibberd, 39, of Masefield Close, says he asked the 229 bus driver to request passengers with buggies to fold them so he could move into the wheelchair space at around 3.30pm on Nov 14.

He claims the driver told him the passengers had refused to do so and that Mr Hibberd could not come on board.

Mr Hibberd, who suffers from dystonic cerebral palsy, told News Shopper: "The wheelchair/buggy area had two buggies in it but both were empty.

"I called out to ask the driver to ask for the buggies to be folded so that I could get into the relevant space.

"I was told to ‘f*** off’.

"I said that I was going to put in a formal complaint and asked him his name and he told me 'Joe Bloggs' and sarcastically asked what I was going to do about that.’"

News Shopper:

A TfL spokesman told News Shopper the company had investigated the matter and that the driver in question had denied swearing.

Kath Forrest, of Brook Street in Erith, was waiting at the same bus stop near Colyers Lane and said although she did not hear a profanity, the driver’s attitude was "patronising, unprofessional and unhelpful".

The 62-year-old said: "Mark told me what happened, so I got on and stood at the front of the bus and said ‘could you please fold your buggies? He is a wheelchair user.’

"One of the ladies said the babies were sleeping.

"I said 'It's a wheelchair bay. She just clicked her lips at me and said no."

She added: "The driver didn’t show any compassion. He was very rude."

Bus operator Go Ahead, which runs the 229, told News Shopper it had passed the complaint to TfL.

Ken Davidson, TfL’s head of bus operations, said: "We are always concerned when wheelchair users experience problems using our services.

"In this instance we understand the bus driver used an automated announcement requesting that the owners of the buggies move or fold them to enable Mr Hibberd to board the bus.

"Sadly the buggy owners chose not to do so."  

He added wheelchair users take priority in the wheelchair space as it is the only place on the bus they can travel safely, which is made clear on signs.