Bus victory for dying man

PUBLISHED: 14:21 29 April 2008 | UPDATED: 21:46 15 June 2010

A MAN who has been given 18 months to live has forced a national bus company to introduce a policy over the use of oxygen bottles on public transport.

A MAN who has been given 18 months to live has forced a national bus company to introduce a policy over the use of oxygen bottles on public transport.John Kirtly, of Meadow Road, Seaton, suffers with the progressive lung condition emphysema and challenged Stagecoach's policy of saying no to people with breathing conditions taking their much-needed cylinders on the bus.Mr Kirtly, who struggles to breathe because of the incurable disease and is dependent on high levels of oxygen 24 hours a day, said it is vital that buses allow them on. "I was flabbergasted when Stagecoach said no. Between 1,500 and 2,000 people in Devon use oxygen and it extends your life and reduces hospital admissions."And it's not about numbers, it's the principle. Even if this challenge only benefits ten people it's worthwhile. I am pleased about the change. Well done, Stagecoach, for reacting quickly on this issue. But they weren't going to - unless someone pushed them."Mr Kirtly hopes people will recognise the importance of the Disability Act and take action when companies are not complying with it.Stagecoach assistant operations manager Trevor Jones said there was a general policy against bringing chemicals on board buses for safety reasons.However, he said he had not been aware there was a problem bringing oxygen bottles on the buses until Mr Kirtly contacted him."Hopefully, Mr Kirtly and other oxygen users will not have any more problems. We don't know how many have been refused on these grounds, but we didn't have any complaints before. As long as it's a small type of oxygen bottle there is not a problem.

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