Friday 24 May 2019

Mum 'embarrassed and devastated' after Dublin Bus refused to let her daughter (3) in wheelchair board because of a pram

Shauna Walker's little girl Avannah has Quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy and requires a wheelchair
Shauna Walker's little girl Avannah has Quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy and requires a wheelchair
Kathy Armstrong

Kathy Armstrong

A devoted mum has said she will never use Dublin Bus again after they refused to let her and her disabled daughter on as there was a buggy in the wheelchair spot.

Shauna Walker (23) is a full-time mum to her little girl Avannah (3), who has Quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy and has needed to use a wheelchair for the past year.

Shauna, Avannah and a friend were getting on the 46A bus on Dublin's North Circular Road on Thursday afternoon when they claim they were refused by the driver because a buggy was in the wheelchair-designated spot.

Shauna, who lives on Blackhorse Avenue, said: "The bus pulled in and my friend went ahead of me and paid, I have free travel so I was walking on and when I got to the wheelchair space there was a pram there.

"I asked the driver if he could ask them to fold it and he straight away said no and told me to get off the bus.

"I asked him why could he not just ask them to fold the pram but he said no because the baby in it was sleeping and he made me get off.

"Any other bus I've got on the driver will just say to people that there's a wheelchair coming on and they need to fold the buggy, this time was completely different.

"I was on the bus for ten minutes, he wouldn't move and he was telling me to get off, I felt like people were smirking at me and I was embarrassed so I just left.

"It was awful and then my baby was asking what was going on so I just said it was too packed."

Furious Shauna contacted Dublin Bus and said she has been told that they are processing her complaint.

Shauna also lodged a different complaint to Dublin Bus earlier this year when herself and Avannah weren't allowed on when it was busy, although she claims that there was nobody using the wheelchair space.

Now Shauna has decided she'll stop travelling with Dublin Bus.

"I said I'd never go on a Dublin Bus because I want to avoid that embarrassment ever happening again.

"Even if I mention Dublin Bus to Avannah she just says, 'No way.'

"She's going to be four in October and knows everything that's going on."

Shauna pointed out that being in a busy area with a child who uses a wheelchair can be an already stressful experience.

She said: "I'm still trying to come to terms with her being in a wheelchair.

"I can't go into the city centre by myself, it's hard when you've a wheelchair and there's so many people so I always ask my mam or a friend to come with me or it can get a bit overwhelming."

Dublin Bus told that wheelchairs take priority over pushchairs and prams when it comes to accessible spaces.

A spokeswoman said in a statement: "Dublin Bus received a complaint about this incident on Friday and it is currently being investigated.

"Dublin Bus policy is that if there is a wheelchair user wishing to board a bus and there is already a buggy onboard, the driver should request that the buggy owner fold their buggy, stow it in the luggage area or beside them and keep their child on their lap in order to make room for the wheelchair user."

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