Accessibility concerns raised over bus services

An Arriva coach.
An Arriva coach.

Arriva has been criticised for running buses with poor access for disabled and push-chair travellers, but the company insists it is transforming its fleet to make them more user-friendly.

Coun Robert Arckless raised the issue at Thursday’s Amble Town Council meeting, saying that a number of residents are struggling to get on and off some services.

The long-standing councillor, who has mobility problems himself, said: “I receive regular complaints about the accessibility of the buses, such as the X18 and X20/20.

“I have had some horrendous issues myself. They have been using the coach-style buses and it makes getting on and off very difficult if you struggle with mobility or if you have a pram or pushchair.

“I have written a Victor Meldrew-type email, which has been forwarded on to Arriva, reminding them that they have certain duties.”

However, Coun Arckless said he did expect to see improvements after being told that Arriva plans to introduce more low-floor buses.

After the meeting, Nick Knox, area managing director for Arriva North East said: “We are making significant investments into the bus services in Northumberland.

“From September we will be introducing new and refurbished, low floor buses to services X18 and X20/20.

“By the end of the year, our entire fleet will be low floor.”