A WEST Belfast pensioner says he feels discriminated against after being told he can no longer board the Glider service in his mobility scooter.

Johnny McKee (76) from Poleglass, who was a regular user of the service, says he will not try and access the Glider again after being told on numerous occasions that his mobility scooter – a Spring Eight model – was not suitable to be on board.

Johnny purchased the scooter this year after his previous motorised scooter exploded in December, setting fire to his home, with neighbours coming to his rescue to help him to safety.

Speaking to the Andersonstown News, Johnny explained: "The mobility scooter is a result of suffering five mini-strokes. I was a very active person before and worked my whole life.

"The scooter is a lifeline for me. It helps me get out of the house to meet people and go places. The battery life is only 20 miles so I relied on the Glider to get down to places like the Falls Park or Bog Meadows. I was a regular user of the Glider, especially living in Poleglass.

"A number of times recently I have been refused entry on board the Glider. It seems to be whatever inspector is on. What happens is the driver puts the ramp down for anyone with prams or mobility scooters to get on.

"I don’t know what is wrong with my scooter. It is a pretty standard one. I have seen similar ones on the Glider myself."

Johnny says he has a simple message for Translink: "Why me?"

"After an incident last week when I was told I wasn’t allowed on, I am not going to try again," he added. "I feel very embarrassed as well as restricted. I don’t know why I am being singled out.

"Are Translink going to ban prams next? Why am I being victimised for being disabled?"

A Translink spokesperson said: “We are committed to providing attractive, safe and accessible services for everyone.

“We welcome wheelchair and mobility scooter users on board our services and we have developed a scheme along with Disability Action to help passengers find out if their scooter is suitable for use on our Gliders, buses and trains.

“Stickers are issued for vehicles which have been assessed, which lets our staff know they are safe for use on our public transport services. Not all mobility scooters are safe for use on board and the assessment by Disability Action is required.

“We would ask this passenger to get in touch with our Contact Centre on 02890 666630 so we can assist.

“Full details on Translink’s accessibility policy can be found on our website: https://www.translink.co.uk/usingtranslink/accessibility .”