"Totally useless" and "a blunder" is what wheelchair user Willard Fox is calling the delay in getting 15 wheelchair-friendly buses equipped to service Bermuda's disabled.

Although the buses are all on the road, the side door and wheelchair ramp are not in use as they await "infrastructure changes" to Bermuda's roads.

The fleet of 15 buses, which was unveiled by Premier and Transport Minister Ewart Brown in May, was aimed at allowing wheelchair users more independence when it comes to getting around the ­island.

However, Mr. Fox, 63, who is also the chairman of the Bermuda Physically Handicapped Association. says they are merely an example of "putting a Band-Aid on a nine-inch cut."

"Simply put, the public transport system cannot be adapted to take wheelchairs," Mr. Fox said. "The Minister brought them in unknown to the handicapped association and unknown to the ­office for the elderly and disabled, without asking their opinion.

"We would have told him that the bus system cannot be adapted because the roads and sidewalks in America are a standard size, while this is not the case in Bermuda - a sidewalk in Paget is higher than a sidewalk in Warwick."

The buses, which were manufactured in Germany, are known as 'kneeling buses' - meaning they sink down to the ground to allow wheelchairs to board more easily.

A ramp then extends out from the bus to the sidewalk, which is where Mr. Fox says the problems begin.

"The ramp is operated manually by the bus driver, not electrically," said Mr. Fox. "But bus drivers are not always willing to go out to operate it.

"They've spent four or five million dollars on them and they are totally useless to the disabled in wheelchairs due to the infrastructure of Bermuda's road system."

However director of public transport Dan Simmons says he fully aware that Bermuda's infrastructure needs an overhaul and is confident that once these changes have been made wheelchair users will be able to enjoy the buses.

"The buses are working really well," he said. "We have instructed drivers at the moment that the side doors and three-inch ramp not be used - primarily, because the buses have come before we have been able to put in the correct infrastructure to use them.

"Half of the island's bus stops are just a pole stuck in the ground. So not every bus stop is wheelchair accessible.

"We are in the process of creating the appropriate bus stops in lay-bys with the proper signage."

Mr. Simmons says he expects the process to take 18 months.

However, Mr. Fox says he has helped put together a proposal for the Government which offers transport alternatives to the buses.

The Premier received it last month and Mr. Fox hopes to see it passed in the House in November.

Among the suggestions are plans for a dial-a-ride system, which would consist of five mini-buses that go to different parts of the island.

"We want to run a pilot for a year," Mr. Fox said. "The cost would be footed by the government or private sponsors."

Mr. Fox was one of the callers on the Everest DeCosta Talk Show on Wednesday, where the wheelchair-friendly buses were the topic of concern for several listeners.