A DISABLED man from Burton claims he has faced unpleasantness and discrimination at the hands of bus drivers, after his free bus pass stopped working.
Richard Levitt has been told by drivers that he will not be allowed on the bus or that he will have to pay for the journey on countless occasions since the pass ceased to function more than six months ago.
One driver even questioned the validity of the disability suffered by the 21-year-old, who has a number of conditions.
His mum Rita said: “That was upsetting. At the end of the day, the man is a bus driver, not a doctor or a specialist, and it annoyed me. He doesn’t have a physical disability, but it’s still a disability.”
Mr Levitt, of Waterloo Street, Burton, suffers from bi-lateral hearing loss, dyspraxia and learning difficulties. Mrs Levitt said he has the learning age of a 12-year-old and gets upset very easily.
The pair have tried to get a new pass, but claim they were told it was unnecessary as the existing one is still valid. Bosses at Arriva, the company which runs the buses, have told them the pass should still be accepted on his frequent trips to Swadlincote, where he studies and does voluntary work, and Stapenhill, where he visits family.
However, when Mr Levitt has said this to some drivers – Mrs Levitt was keen to express not all drivers reacted in this way – they have threatened to leave him standing at the bus stop.
“He’s very nervous and he gets upset easily. The threat of being left somewhere he’s not familiar with makes him panic so much it’s unbelievable,” Mrs Levitt said, adding that he did not know the Swadlincote area well.
Arriva spokesman Keith Myatt said he was ‘sorry to hear’ of the difficulties Mr Levitt had experienced, and said the company would be happy to investigate.
He added: “To rectify this would involve a visit to the town hall for a replacement pass that will help to prevent Mr Levitt from future embarrassment.”