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Inverness widower from Cradlehall demands an apology from bus operator


By Louise Glen

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Colin Henderson feels that he is being discriminated against as a disabled person by Stagecoach: Colin Henderson at the Westhill Cradlehall Business Park bus stop. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Colin Henderson feels that he is being discriminated against as a disabled person by Stagecoach: Colin Henderson at the Westhill Cradlehall Business Park bus stop. Picture: James Mackenzie.

A DISABLED widower from Cradlehall is reeling after Stagecoach Highland has refused to put an "appropriate" apology to him in writing.

After 14-months of complaining, after his now-deceased wife, who used a guide dog, could not rely on the bus to get to hospital for radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment, Colin Henderson (53) has been told "dozens" of times a meaningful letter to say "sorry" would be in the post.

In its defence in a statement, Stagecoach said it had apologised, but they say Mr Henderson was unwilling to accept it.

After losing his wife in February of this year, Mr Henderson, who is registered blind, said he is still waiting on a call back from the disabled line to tell him how to get to the cemetery.

He said: "On February 2 my wife Shirley died in Highland Hospice and on February 3 I phoned and left a message on the disability line to find out how to get from my house in Cradlehall to the cemetery.

"I am still waiting for a reply."

Mr Henderson said he was very emotional because the bus was the only transport that he and his wife could use easily with her guide dog, and as he is registered blind he can not access the technology, or smart phone to get the information he needs.

"I am one of the people who finds technology very difficult. I just struggle to see it. So I call the Stagecoach Highland number and select the option for disabled people. I leave messages on it, and someone should phone you back," he continued.

"I have been phoning for months and getting no reply. So I phoned and spoke with customer services, and with the assistant to the chief executive. Every one of them tells me they understand my situation and that they will either post or hand deliver a proper apology to me. It just has not happened.

"I now want to speak to the chief executive.

"I started to complain 14 months ago when my wife had to attend hospital twice a day for treatment, the bus would not turn up and we had to pay for taxis. We used to get the number two bus, and the number three bus – but I think the timetables changed and no one told us."

He said: "All I want is something in writing to say 'sorry' and for them to mean it - at the moment they make excuses. There is no excuse not to include disabled people, at the moment there is no way of getting the right information when no one phones you back.

"While I am promised it time and again - a real apology never arrives. It is upsetting and it is shocking that a company like Stagecoach Highland can not help me."

A spokeswoman for Stagecoach Highland said: "A number of our customer service and management staff have had direct contact with Mr Henderson over the phone and in meetings to apologise and resolve the issues he has with our service.

"Unfortunately, Mr Henderson has been unsatisfied with our response and we have recommended that he now contacts Bus Users Scotland who may be able to provide more support."


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