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‘Bus ban’ wheelchair user continues fight

Robert Light with a  copy of some of his court correspondence

Robert Light with a copy of some of his court correspondence

First published in News thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Abingdon and Wantage, South Oxford and Kennington. Call me on 01865 425431

A WHEELCHAIR user who tried to sue Stagecoach Oxford for discriminating against him is appealing against a judge who threw his case out.

Robert Light, 71, was told his lawsuit was thrown out because the judge didn’t receive a written statement in the post.

But he says he has a receipt of delivery signed by the court.

In January last year, Mr Light, whose ankle was removed because of severe arthritis, tried to catch a number 10 bus from Horspath to Cowley centre.

The driver told him he could not get on board because there were already two pushchairs and a shopping trolley on board.

He complained to Stagecoach the next day, and received a letter of apology two weeks later, saying the driver had been reprimanded.

But he says a slap on the wrist was not good enough.

Mr Light, a retired referee and hospital porter, said: “I have come up against so much discrimination it doesn’t surprise me any more, but it still upsets me.

“They shouldn’t be discriminating against people in wheelchairs, but the only people who can do something about it are the courts – I’m nobody.

“Unless they get a bash on the head they probably won’t do anything about it, just brush it under the carpet.”

He started proceedings against the bus company last year, and the case was heard at Oxfordshire County Court on February 13 this year.

Meanwhile, Mr Light, who lives in Yarnton, said he was subject to discrimination by the company’s drivers three more times.

He submitted his evidence to the judge, written out for the case, but the judge said he could not read Mr Light’s handwriting.

He told Mr Light to send him typed notes by March 7, so he posted them, but heard nothing.

When he phoned the court some weeks later he found out the case had been heard in his absence and thrown out.

He contacted the post office, who gave him a receipt which appears to be signed by someone at the court.

Mr Light said: “I just think it’s disgusting.

“I agree with the judge, if he doesn’t get what he asked for, he should throw it out, but he did get it, or at least the court did.”

Oxfordshire County Court Service refused to say whether a member of staff had signed for the parcel.

A court spokesman said: “If Mr Light has asked for leave to appeal, then the papers will be put before a designated civil judge for consideration. If he gets leave he will have a hearing.”

A Stagecoach spokesman said: “We welcome passengers with wheelchairs on board our services.

“There is clear signage on our buses to indicate that customers must vacate the wheelchair space immediately, should it be required by a wheelchair user.

“Our drivers are also fully aware of the regulations around this and are expected to ensure that they are adhered to.”

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