An Auckland bus driver says passengers - including one who tried to use a $100 note for a $1 ride - need to start carrying smaller change for fares.
Wayne Knight has spoken out after Tauranga bus driver Kay Pridmore left a young passenger behind for trying to use a $20 note to pay his $1.80 fare. Ms Pridmore was warned over the incident by her employer Go Bus after a manager did not accept her defence that she was "not a f***ing banker".
Mr Knight contacted the Herald yesterday and said, although he would never use "those words", it was frustrating when passengers used large denominations because it held up others and made the service late.
He said passengers often handed over $20 and $50 notes. On one occasion, a school boy handed a $100 note over to pay his $1.10 fare.
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"When I pointed out $100 was far too much for a bus company to change because bus drivers don't carry that much to start with, he realised he'd pushed his luck a bit far and walked away."
Ms Pridmore was unsuccessful in her complaint to the Employment Relations Authority that the warning she received unfairly disadvantaged her employment opportunities, and bus unions said drivers should never leave children behind.
A Herald survey of five bus drivers from three companies found they were generally happy to take a $20 note for a small fare if it was not rush hour and queues were small.