Amelia Wade is a court reporter for the New Zealand Herald

Three young girls traumatised after bus driver threatened to 'wipe them out'

Farhan Sattar with his daughters Aaliya, Saniya and Lamiya were abused by an irate bus driver. Photo / Doug Sherring
Farhan Sattar with his daughters Aaliya, Saniya and Lamiya were abused by an irate bus driver. Photo / Doug Sherring

A father says his three young daughters were traumatised when a bus driver honked and yelled at them, threatening to "wipe them out" because they were parked in a bus lane.

But the family were in the right - it was after 6pm and the lane was no longer active.

The bus company has admitted the driver was in the wrong and it is investigating the altercation, calling it a "disciplinary matter".

On February 2, Farhan Sattar parked his car with his three daughters in a bus lane on Dominion Rd after 6pm - he knew the lane's operating times had lapsed because he was listening to Newstalk ZB's news bulletin.

However, almost as soon as he stopped, a Metro bus pulled up behind him and started honking incessantly.

Mr Sattar said he got out of the car, walked over to the bus doors, which the driver opened, and told him it was after 6pm so he could park there.

"He shouted at me, 'I'm going to get a towing company, I'm going to get you towed away'. I told him that was up to him."

Mr Sattar returned to his car to his daughters - Lamiya, 7, Aaliya, 5, and Saniya, 2 - but the bus driver continued to sit behind the car and honk. This continued for about eight minutes, Mr Sattar said.

In that time another car parked in front of him so it wasn't just Mr Sattar's parked in the lane.

Eventually, the driver gave up and pulled up to Mr Sattar's driver's window, opened the bus doors and yelled: "I'm going to wipe you out, I'm going to get you towed away."
The father said his three daughters have been traumatised and are now scared to park near the Dominion Rd spot again.

"They are now frightened every time they see a bus and say to us please don't park cause that driver may come and wipe us out."

Immediately after the altercation, Mr Sattar called Auckland Transport to lay a complaint. It took him 15 minutes to speak to someone who then told him he would get a response within 10 days.

But it wasn't until March 4 that NZ Bus, the company that operates the Metro services, sent him an email apologising for the altercation and said the incident had been investigated.

"We are extremely concerned to hear about such potentially dangerous behaviour. The safety and comfort of our customers and all other road users is our highest priority. The type of driving you described is not acceptable under any circumstances," the email said.

Mr Sattar said the length of time it took for the response to get to him was unacceptable - but Auckland Transport and NZ Bus disagree on when the response was passed on.

Auckland Transport spokesman Wally Thomas said the complaint was forwarded to NZ Bus on February 2, the day it was made, but when they hadn't heard back, staff followed it up on February 22.

However, NZ Bus chief operations officer Shane McMahon said they first received it on February 22.

Mr McMahon said they had reviewed the bus' GPS data and confirmed Mr Sattar was in the right and Mr Sattar "had every right to be in that lane" - the bus stopped at 6.02pm.

"We're still in the process of a full investigation ... the actions of the driver did not meet our high standards and we're working it through. But because it is a disciplinary matter, I can't go into any specifics."

- NZ Herald

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