Wheelchair user gains independence thanks to Citybus

A wheelchair user said she nearly “cried with joy” at gaining more freedom and independence when Plymouth Citybus team members sent a complimentary bus to help her practice boarding one.

Margaret Steere was previously too nervous to use the buses in Plymouth - worrying that she would find it difficult to get on and off the different bus stops. Sadly, this left her very limited in getting around.

Her friend Jamie-Leigh Wilton, a volunteer befriender with Margaret’s housing association Livewest, contacted Citybus in the hope they might be able to help.

To their surprise, the Citybus’ Training Team responded by promptly driving a bus just for them to practice with.

"They were very patient and considerate and she nearly cried with joy"

Jamie-Leigh Wilton

Jamie said: “When I went to meet my friend she was very nervous - as was I - but off we went to the bus stop at 11am and a Citybus with ‘out of service’ displayed arrived.

“We were greeted by Stephen and Alan - straight away they made us feel at ease. They had all the time in the world for us to learn how to get in and out of the bus with the aid of the ramps.

“They showed us different bus stops with different kerbs making sure my friend felt confident getting on and off.

“Margaret said they looked smart, looked the part and gave her confidence. They have given her freedom and independence - they were very patient and considerate and she nearly cried with joy."

Jamie-Leigh says the experience has helped overcoming her own anxiety at using the bus and says she hopes more people in the same position will now come forward and contact Citybus.

She added: “I hope more wheelchair and powerchair users will take advantage of this amazing voluntary experience, so that they could have a chance of independence and freedom as not many people know the service is available.”

James Church, Customer Experience Manager, said: “We want everyone to feel confident about travelling on our buses and want to help all of our passengers have the best experience possible.

“That’s why we’ll always invite people to contact us if they have any questions or requests - we can’t promise we can answer every one but we’ll try our hardest to make sure we do everything we can to help our passengers.”

Abbie Lewis, Volunteer Coordinator at Livewest, said: “Supporting our residents through our Volunteer Programme has been a great way to ensure they are receiving the same opportunities we do. 

“Experiences like this not only help our residents but it gives our volunteers a chance to develop their own skills, build their confidence and gain the experience they need in their journey. It’s really great to see the hard work our volunteers give makes a difference to our residents’ lives.”

Passengers can contact Citybus’ Customer Experience Team by calling 01752 662271 or by completing our contact form