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Otley MP demands action in disabled girl bus row
An MP is demanding a “full and thorough” investigation into why a disabled girl from Otley was stopped from boarding a bus home.
Pride of Britain award winner Danielle Bailey, 14, who lost her legs and arms to meningitis, was trying to catch the X84 bus back from Leeds on September 18 when the incident happened.
As exclusively revealed in the Wharfedale Observer, Danielle was told by the driver she could not get on because the accessibility ramp was not working. She was left waiting for 45 minutes until the next bus. And during that time, though accompanied by some friends, she was taunted by a gang of youths about her disability.
The episode has left Danielle and her parents, Lindsay and Trevor – who are disputing the driver’s claim about the ramp – angry and upset.
Bus company First has already apologised and promised to investigate what happened. But MP Greg Mulholland (Lib Dem, Leeds North West) is also seeking a promise the same thing can never happen again.
He said: “I contacted the managing director of First immediately upon hearing of this shocking situation to say I want a full and through investigation.
“Danielle and her parents are very upset, and rightfully so. Danielle is a girl who strives to overcome all barriers, and is even a possible contender for the 2016 Paralympic Games, as she is an exceptionally gifted swimmer.
“So for First, which provided the buses for the Olympics and Paralympics, to provide such poor service to Danielle and her parents is unacceptable. I await a response from First and reassurances a situation like this never occurs again.”
Mrs Lindsay says her anxiety was compounded by the fact she could not talk to anyone at Leeds bus station at the time to ask them to wait with her daughter.
Instead, she was put through to a call centre operator who, despite Mrs Bailey’s pleas, told her it was “against company policy” to put her through.
Editor of accessibleleeds.com, Nathan Popple, said: “I was very sad and angry to hear about this.
“I hope First changes the way it treats disabled people, and I also hope this does not put Danielle off going to her college course or fighting to represent us in the 2016 Paralympics.”
A Prince Henry’s Grammar School student, Danielle attends a weekly extra-curricular class at Leeds College of Beauty.
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