Editorial: City bus drivers mostly polite

By Dylan Thorne

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Go Bus is back in the headlines.

This time after a boy was left on the side of the road after a bus driver told him to get change when he tried to pay with a $20 note.

The company maintains it does not have ingrained customer service problems after the incident was revealed in an Employment Relations Authority decision.

The driver in question, Kay Pridmore, complained to the authority that a warning she received over the incident unjustifiably disadvantaged her employment with her Tauranga-based employer, Go Bus Transport.

The bus company's policy was to accept $20 or even $50 notes.

If the driver did not have enough change, a passenger was still able to ride the bus in the hope more change would be gained during the bus' journey.

The authority found the action taken by the bus company was justified.

It follows a series of reported incidents involving the company's bus drivers.

In March a Tauranga woman was refused a concession fare when the bus driver didn't believe she was legally blind and in February a husband and wife with cerebral palsy were told "we don't take your sort" when they tried to board a Bay Hopper bus with a wheelchair.

The publicity generated by these incidents is damaging, but must be kept in perspective.

The company's bus drivers make thousands of trips around the city each year, but the Bay of Plenty Regional Council received just 31 complaints about drivers being rude to Tauranga passengers in the six months to December 31, 2012.

We can assume by these figures that by-and-large the drivers are polite to customers even though they no doubt encounter some challenging behaviour on board their buses.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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