Pensioner in fury at bus rules

A PENSIONER who was forced to walk home after a bus would not pick him during treacherous weather conditions is calling for bus companies to use common sense.

Alan Barton was making his way to a friend’s house in Ashton, and decide to leave the bus stop he was waiting at in Bryn when the 601 still had not arrived 10 minutes after it was scheduled, to try and get a taxi instead.

On his way to the taxi rank, the bus pulled up at traffic lights at the side of him, but because he was not at the bus stop the driver refused to let him on, despite the heavy snowfall which saw about six inches fall in a short space of time. A short time later he discovered that taxis had stopped running as well and so he was faced with a mile and a half walk to his friend’s house in Ashton in the town’s heaviest snowfall this year.

He said: “I was quite shocked that the driver wouldn’t open his doors to me, because I thought considering the conditions they would be more inclined to help out, but instead he just said something about police being on the bus and drove off.

“The taxis had stopped running as well because the conditions were so bad, so I had no option but to walk to my friend’s house, which took me about 45 minutes. I am 68 but luckily I’m quite fit, but the bus driver didn’t know that, and as far as he was aware I could have been walking through the night to get home.”

Mr Barton understands that the bus driver was just abiding by the rules, but says that he thinks unusual times call for measures to be taken that perhaps would not usually be taken.

He said: “If those rules are so strict that people fear going against them in case they will be punished, then they should be told to use their judgement in scenarios like this.

“If there were indeed police men on the bus, like the driver claimed, why did not one of them intervene? ”

A spokesman for First Group said: “Our drivers have to be extremely careful when and where they pick up passengers to ensure that the highest safety standards are met.

“The potential for an accident is increased when a passenger tries to board at a location that is not a bus stop and therefore has not been risk assessed for possible hazards.

“Our drivers have showed great resilience and professionalism during all the bad weather and we have had numerous calls from the public to report their gratitude for our staff going above and beyond the call of duty. I suspect that if our driver in this instance had the opportunity to stop and pick up the gentleman safely he would have done so.

“We are sorry that, through an unfortunate set of circumstances, this gentleman had a difficult journey home.”