A mother from Ramsey has accused the island’s public transport director of making the rules up as he goes along after she and her children were refused entry to a bus because their pram was too big.
Verety McKiernan of Queen’s Promenade in Ramsey wanted to travel with her mother, her children aged five and three and her two-week-old baby from Ramsey to Laxey for lunch.
But when they tried to board the number three bus outside the Britannia pub they were told there was no room for their pram because the carry cot part of it would not fold.
‘I was told that no driver would allow that kind of pram on the bus. The driver then added that if he did let me on, if further on a disabled person wanted to get on, we would be asked to get off,’ she said.
‘Clearly I could not hold a two week old baby in my arms for the entire journey. That the driver also thinks it would be acceptable to eject us from the bus part way through the journey, with such small children beggars belief.
‘Thanks to the driver, my family lunch in Laxey was cancelled and my two older children were left in tears.’
An initial response from Bus Vannin’s John Howard said: ‘No prams are banned from our fleet as they are all low floor easy access. All I can do is apologise on behalf of the department.’
However director of public transport Ian Longworth said the driver was right, adding modern buses have a space to carry one pram and a slightly larger space to accommodate one wheelchair.
He said Mrs McKiernan’s pram was larger than the designated pram space and would need to have occupied the wheel chair space. This was permissible provided it could be folded should a wheelchair bound passenger wish to travel. But in this case the pram did not fold. He said the policy was to give priority to passengers in wheelchairs. This would have meant the bus driver asking Mrs McKiernan to leave, possibly at an inconvenient point, if someone in a wheelchair had boarded.
Mrs McKiernan was unconvinced: ‘It’s not a big pram. If the driver had said we could get on and see if it fitted that would make more sense but he didn’t.’