A PENSIONER trying to visit his critically ill wife in hospital was left at a bus stop after he claims a driver refused to make room for his wheelchair.

Duncan McDonald has criticised his treatment when he tried to board a bus in Southampton.

He claims the bus driver would not let them on the bus because it already had a pushchair in the same spot.

But he believes the driver could have resolved the problem by simply asking the pushchair owner to fold it down.

The 77-year-old, from Millbrook, was urgently trying to get Southampton General Hospital to see wife Ann, 76, who had undergone a major operation.

She was in intensive care and he had been called by the hospital to say she was asking for him.

So Mr McDonald and daughter Sharon Cluett, 49, went to the bus stop in Kendal Avenue to catch the 12 First bus service.

But when the bus pulled in there was already a pushchair in the spot used by wheelchairs.

Although Mr McDonald says he asked whether the bus driver could not ask the passenger with the pushchair to fold it down or move it to make room he says he refused then drove off.

Mr McDonald struggles to be put into cars so prefers to take the bus, which he has a free pass for because of his age.

He and his daughter then had to take a taxi instead, as the family does not have a car.

They have already contacted First about the incident and have been told they now need to make a formal complaint.

“I’m very angry,” said Mr McDonald, who worked for British Telecom for 20 years.

“It was very bad as I had to get up to the hospital.

“What happens if I’m at this bus stop in the pouring rain? What’s going to happen?”

Sharon said: “It’s disgusting, a wheelchair user is a paying customer – a pushchair is not.”

A spokeswoman for First said: “We are concerned to hear about the problem Mr McDonald experienced while trying to use one of our buses.

“We take our responsibilities as a public transport provider extremely seriously and have a clear policy regarding the carriage of wheelchairs.

“We have launched an internal investigation in to what has happened here and would urge Mr McDonald to contact us directly.”