Bay mum furious after teens left stranded

By Solbin Kang

2 comments
Photo/File
Photo/File

A Tauranga mother is furious after a bus driver drove off and left her teenage son and a friend stranded after he was sick on the bus.

The Intercity bus service was travelling from Tauranga to Wellington on March 24 when the teenage boy become sick and vomited on the bus, just 400m from the Tauranga bus depot, Intercity general manager Sam Peate confirmed.

Mother Tania Irvine wrote an angry message on the Intercity bus company's Facebook page, explaining her son was travelling with another 16-year-old when he asked the bus driver if he could get off the bus to grab a change of clothes from under the locker as he had been sick.

The driver said no worries and pulled over, telling the teens they would be out in a minute to open the locker, Ms Irvine said.

However, the driver shut the door and drove off, leaving them without all their belongings, including their phones and wallets.

She contacted Intercity that day and was told she would get a full refund, and the two teens would be transferred to a later bus departing Tauranga at 9.10am.

She was told pair's bags would be waiting in Taupo, however when they weren't there, Ms Irvine was told they would be waiting at the Wellington bus depot.

She said a couple of her son's belongings on the bus were also "thrown out" by the bus driver.

"Then get told they have thrown out some of my sons items (his jumper and baseball cap) due to them having a bit of sick on them, they did not abandon these items, they were taken from them when the bus driver left them at the side of the road and took off."

"I am so angry and the lag (sic) of compassion from intercity is appalling," she wrote.

Mr Peate said there was a "miscommunication" between the two teenagers and the bus driver that day.

"We now know he and his friend had an expectation the bus was going to wait, however it didn't wait because that request wasn't made."

While Ms Irvine said her son had asked the bus driver if he could grab a change of clothing from the locker, Mr Peate said the driver "didn't recall" the conversation and this was verified by other passengers on the bus.

"They had just said they wanted to be let off the bus because one of them was sick."

He said the driver then saw the pair walk away.

However Mr Peate said the bus driver "should have clarified with the two passengers" if they had any luggage in the locker, rather than driving off.

When the bus stopped in Taupo, the driver cleaned out the vomit on the bus and found soiled clothing, he said.

"It was very soiled and (they) threw that out."

He said he had apologised to Ms Irvine and she would be compensated for her son's belongings that were thrown out and a refund was also given for both tickets.

Mr Peate said the teenage boy was a "frequent traveller" on Intercity buses and had "never had issues" before.

"He in fact travelled back to Tauranga with Intercity on Tuesday."

He said the company was currently in contact with the driver regarding the incident but couldn't comment further as it was an employment matter.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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