AN IRVINE businessman was left humiliated after Scotrail failed to assist with his electric wheelchair – despite several promises he would be able to get onto the replacement buses.

Thistle Help managing director George Ruddick hit out at the ‘shambles’ after Scotrail were unable to get his chair onto its replacement buses between Kilwinning and Paisley after repeat reassurances he would be able to get on the bus ahead of his trips on Saturday and Sunday.

George said: “It’s absolutely disgusting the way I was humiliated both yesterday and today on return trip Irvine to Glasgow.

“I called customer assistance four times knowing engineering work was on advising them my powerchair was not going to get on the replacement buses.

“Four times I was advised it would be fine.

“At Kilwinning the first two buses were not accessible. I was expected to try and get on a bus I knew wasn’t suitable for my powerchair. After 20 minutes of people watching me and being humiliated it was agreed I would not be able to get on the bus.

“Obviously, other passengers were gawking at the performance and were getting angry as this took up around 20 minutes.

“Eventually three buses later I challenged them to take me directly to Glasgow rather than Paisley. Again this was a fight.

“Having gone through the humiliation of the previous bus, I told the organiser I wanted took straight to Glasgow Central – to be fair to him, he did seem mortified at the situation.

“On the return journey pretty much the same scenario happened before a taxi was provided an hour later. Shocking service all round.

“We went to the passenger assistance staff and complained about our experience and we did not want to experience the same on our return journey on Sunday.

“One of the gentlemen went in and spoke to the duty manager, but we were just told you would have to wait until the Sunday and fight our case from Paisley Gilmour Street on the day.

“We travelled from Glasgow Central to Paisley Gilmour Street on the Sunday, waited an hour on an accessible bus coming only to find the driver did not have the key to operate the lift. You really can’t make this up.

“Another hour passed before [organiser] from the previous day contacted someone in customer service to provide a taxi for us. This took 40 minutes for them to get back to him and agree to provide a taxi, but only to Kilwinning.

“Obviously, I was not prepared to go through all the hassle at Kilwinning station yet again and I agreed with the taxi driver, I would pay the difference from Kilwinning station to my home address. This is ridiculous when you have bought tickets and do not get the service you have paid for.

“I am looking for compensation for the humiliation I went through. Scotrail need to realise disabled customers are not second class citizens.

“All in all, it was a shambles and should not have happened as I informed passenger assistance through the week at least three times about the fact my chair would not get on the bus.

“In my opinion, Scotrail are penny pinching and a serious accident is going to happen to a disabled person if something similar happens in the future.

“It was a humiliating experience for both my fiancée and myself, but I do not expect Scotrail will be that concerned.

“As a business owner myself, if I ran my business in such a shambolic way, I would not have a business to come back to. Scotrail really need to get their act together and stop penny pinching before someone literally gets killed.”

Patrick Nyamurundira, ScotRail Access & Inclusion Manager, said: "I was concerned to hear about Mr Ruddock’s experience when travelling at the weekend.  

"Scotland's Railway is for everyone, and everyone should be able to travel with confidence. We’re investigating this complaint and will respond to Mr Ruddock directly.”