A DISABLED Greenock man who went out for the first time since losing his leg was unable to get on a bus because his 'wheelchair' is banned.

Former bus driver Rob Torbert had to have his limb amputated because of a blood clot last year and was unable to go out independently until now.

After plucking up the courage to venture out on his own for a trip to the town centre, he had to turn back in tears.

Rob says he had no idea his chair is officially classed as a scooter and therefore not allowed to be used on buses.

He has now swapped the motorised scooter, which cost him more than £1,000, for a wheelchair that allows him on public transport.

Local bus operators McGill's say they are hoping to join forces with disability groups to raise awareness of the types of chairs that can safely be allowed on board services.

Rob, 57, of Sandpiper Lane, said: "I had a heart bypass last September and then I had a blood clot and the complications meant I lost my leg.

"It has been a lot to take in.

"Then there was lockdown and I couldn't go out.

"I managed to get over my initial fears to go out on my own and I was waiting at the bus stop.

"The driver gestured to me but because of the facemasks I couldn't make him out.

"He then drove away."

Rob encountered difficulties when he tried to catch the bus in Grieve Road, heading for the town.

When he discovered what was wrong the former carer, who looked after his parents for a number of years, went back to the store he bought it in and swapped it for a wheelchair that can be used on the bus.

He added: "This is all new to me but I would never have thought you couldn't get on with the wheelchair I had.

"I have since found out it is classed as a scooter.

"I used to be a driver and I would have thought it was suitable, but I understand it is for safety.

Rob has since successfully made his first journey into the town after adapting to his new chair.

McGill's say they are keen to highlight the issues surrounding chairs and would like to work with local groups to arrange information sessions.

A spokeswoman said: "“McGill’s is happy to help educate people around the regulations and what it means for those who are disabled and wanting to travel by bus.

"Some years ago we had a drop-in sessions in the town centre in conjunction with Inverclyde Council on Disability but they unfortunately closed three years ago.

"We would be very keen to recreate this.

"The main issue that crops up from time to time is that there is confusion over the difference between a wheelchair and a disability scooter.

"They are very different things.

"Buses are designed to carry wheelchairs but there are practically no disability scooters that are safe to use on a bus."