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Portland pensioner injured in second bus fall
A GREAT-GRANDMOTHER was left badly bruised after falling over when a bus driver pulled off before she had taken her seat, it is claimed.
It is the second time in a matter of months that Joan May, 85, of Portland, has had an accident on a bus due to careless drivers, her son John claims.
The buses involved in both incidents take passengers between Weymouth and Portland and are run by FirstGroup plc.
The company operate a Safe Journey Card, which their website states allows the bus user to “privately let the driver know what sort of help you need and they will wait for you to reach your seat before driving off”.
But Mr May said his mother has never been offered a card, even after registering a complaint after the first incident in October 2011.
He added: “It’s not just elderly people who can be knocked over, and surely the driver does not need a card to see my mother needs a bit of extra help.”
Mrs May had caught the bus from the stop outside Debenhams in Weymouth town centre on May 12.
She said: “I went to take the first seat available but he did not give me the chance to sit down.
“I thought he was very rude, because he didn’t apologise.
“He did not stop, even though he must have seen what was going on because the bus has internal mirrors, and I just could not get up off the floor.”
Two other passengers shouted to the driver to stop, and helped Mrs May to a seat.
In a separate incident in October, the pensioner had been about to disembark in Weston when the driver shut the doors and pulled off.
Mr May said that his mother is unlikely to venture out on the buses again.
“After the first time in October it took her a few months to go on a bus again, and then this happened.
“It’s really knocked her confidence for six. I don’t think she’ll go out again on her own.”
The pensioner was not seriously hurt after the accident, though she was bruised and shaken.
He said: “I wrote to the bus company and they came back to me and apologised, saying passenger safety is paramount, and lessons had been learnt.
“I find that hard to believe now.”
‘We take safety seriously’
A FIRST company spokeswoman said: “As a company we take the safety of all our passengers incredibly seriously.
“We have previously worked with Age UK to develop a Safe Journey Card and guidance for older people using buses to ensure that they stay safe when travelling with us.
“We recognise that older people can be more prone to falling and our drivers are trained to allow extra time for people to find a seat and alight at the end of their journey.
“The latest incident is under investigation by our team and, should it be necessary, based on the findings of this, we will review our procedures once again.
“Our insurance team has been in contact with Mrs May to offer our apologies for the falls she sustained on our buses, and the matter has now been referred to our claims management company and on that basis we cannot make any further comment in relation to this specific incident.
“We sincerely hope that Mrs May has recovered from her fall and is feeling better now.”