By Sam Rkaina, Local Government Reporter
Bishopsworth councillor Richard Eddy uses a four-wheeled walker or crutches to aid his mobility since he was struck by Guillain-Barre syndrome last year.
The condition causes temporary paralysis, and Mr Eddy has found catching certain bus services much more difficult since he developed a disability.
While trying to catch the 76 from the city centre, he says drivers have been unable to spot waiting passengers due to parked buses obscuring the view and passengers have been forced to access vehicles stopping in the middle of the road.
The problem has arisen because the bus stop outside of the Radisson Hotel serves both the 75/76 buses to Bishopsworth/Hartcliffe and those on the 42/45 route to Cadbury Heath. Drivers use this location for their changeovers, often leaving vehicles to idle for significant periods of time.
Mr Eddy has written to general manager of First Group, Jenny MacCleod, urging the company to honour its pledge to offer ‘disabled-friendly’ services.
The Conservative said: “Whilst I appreciate the logistical difficulties confronting bus operators – meaning that stops have to cater for several routes at a time – this problem simply cannot be allowed to go on.
“I must say that my criticism does not extend to the drivers themselves – whom I have found to be unfailingly helpful and considerate.
“It is the timings and working practices which need to be looked into.
“The present arrangement really makes a mockery of this company’s claim to be disabled-friendly and must be costing it money through lost revenues – because people will be deterred from using the bus network.”
First say they are aware of the issue and are working with Bristol City Council to try and resolve it.
Ms MacCleod said: “We would like to apologise to councillor Eddy for the problems he has experienced using the bus stop in Broad Quay.
“We are aware of the issues and we are working hard to resolve them, trying to move some of the services using this stop to other nearby ones.
“We take our commitments to our disabled customers incredibly seriously and understand the importance of being able to pull up as close to the kerb as possible to help those with mobility issues access our services.
“In addition to our work with Bristol City Council to resolve the problems around this particular bus stop we are also working with other groups representing disabled people in the region to further improve their overall experiences of using our buses.”