A DISABLED man who has battled back to work after suffering from a stroke in January has been refused access to his local bus.

Donald Hadfield has had to fight back from his affliction after he was taken to hospital at the start of 2018.

The Ilminster man also made the News earlier this year after he got out of hospital to discover his beloved motorbike had been clamped while he was being treated at Musgrove.

After a three month battle with clamping company NSL in which Mr Hadfield branded them as ‘modern pirates’, he won the argument and was refunded in full.

Still confined to a wheelchair but back working at Asda in Taunton, Mr Hadfield has faced more problems.

Three times in the last few weeks he has not been told he cannot get on his local bus.

He said: “I get the bus from Ilminster to Taunton on my working days.

“Because I have a disabled bus pass I am able to travel for free after 9.30am, so I get the 9.58am to Taunton to work.

“In the past three weeks I have had the bus stop, the driver open the doors, look at me, and say I have no room for a wheelchair.”

As a result, Mr Hadfield has been left stranded in a torrential downpour until the next bus arrives an hour and a half later.

He added: “The first time it was a horrible day, pouring with rain, and the reason he couldn’t let me on was because there was a pushchair on board.

“When I normally get on the driver lowers the ramp for me, makes sure there is a space for me, and there is a sign that says ‘this space is reserved for a wheelchair’.

“In my mind, the driver just couldn’t be bothered to get out out of his seat and make the lady fold the pushchair up and put it on the rack.”

Although Mr Hadfield complained to First Bus who assured him it wouldn’t happen again, he found himself being refused entry again just a few days later.

“The second time, the driver just looked at me and shook his head,” he said.

“Fortunately, there was another lady who took umbrage with that and argued my side.

“Then the same thing happened again on Monday, but it was a different driver this time.”

Each time that Donald has been blocked entry from the number 30 bus it has been because there is a pushchair in the disabled space.

Every time it has resulted in him being an hour and 30 minutes late for work. He loses out on money and has to forgo his lunch break.

Now he feels he has no choice but to turn to the press to stop it happening again.

Aled Williams, operations manager of Buses of Somerset: “I would like to offer my sincere apologies for the poor treatment Mr Hadfield received from one of our drivers who didn’t follow correct procedures and demonstrated a poor lack of customer service.

“When a passenger in a wheelchair wants to board, and the space is taken by non-wheelchair users, our company procedure is for the driver to ask passengers to move. If they do not vacate the space and this is not considered reasonable, the driver tells them they are required to move and takes further action such as not setting off from the stop until the situation is resolved.

“We are extremely disappointed to learn of Mr Hadfield’s experience because we train all our drivers in customer service and handling situations as the one reported effectively and in a sensitive manner.”