A BUS driver got so fed up with rowdy pupils on board that he abandoned his route and dumped them back at school.
His bosses today backed the radical action and have threatened to axe the service if behaviour doesn’t improve while angry parents are virtually accusing him of taking their children hostage.
The incident began on a St John Fisher RC High bus heading towards Scholes and Whelley at around 3.30pm on Friday after a group of unruly youngsters appear to have sparked the driver’s anger by repeatedly pressing the buttons used to stop the bus.
Parents claim the driver then locked the doors and took the bus around a Springfield housing estate, with some people following the vehicle and shouting at the driver to let the children off.
Reports even suggest the bus came to a halt in the middle of the estate at one point, with some of the children banging on the windows and screaming to be allowed off the bus.
The 948 bus operated by Wigan Coachways eventually returned to St John Fisher at around 3.45pm, and several of the parents whose children were on board are now furiously demanding a full investigation.
However, the bus company said the incident was caused by very poor behaviour among some of the pupils and threatened to cancel the service from the Beech Hill school unless there were improvements.
Whelley mum Laura Dale said: “I appreciate someone shouldn’t have pressed the bell but the correct thing to do would be to speak to the school about misbehaviour and say it needs monitoring, not take them on a wild goose chase.
“For a man to bang on the windows of the bus saying let my children off and the driver to totally refuse is disgusting.
“The children I went to pick up have only been at the school a few weeks. It’s daunting for them getting a bus to school and they were absolutely terrified.”
However, Wigan Coachways director Roger Jarvis said he did not want to comment on specific details of the allegations. But he gave a less dramatic account of events while saying the incident was caused by the pupils’ poor conduct.
He added: “The behaviour of the children was appalling. The driver took them back to school and then took them home later after he had some discussion with the school with regard to behaviour.
“Unless the school gives me some assurance about improvements in behaviour we won’t be operating the route again.”
St John Fisher has now promised a full investigation to determine exactly what took place on board the bus.
Headteacher Richard Ward said: “We are aware of an incident on the 948 bus after school on Friday.
“We are treating the matter seriously and are thoroughly investigation what happened with the bus company involved.
“The school regards the safety of our pupils as our paramount consideration and we can understand why parents have expressed their concerns.”