A driver who booted a group of elderly walkers off his bus is to immediately go on a customer training course.

Pensioner Ellen Holliday said the group had received an email from the bus company apologising for a disastrous ride home and telling them the driver was being given fresh training to learn how to deal with passengers.

She said the group of eight walkers, who lodged separate complaints to Auckland Transport after they were called "animals" by the driver and made to get off the bus midway through their journey across Auckland on Sunday, were not going to take the matter further even though they thought the bus driver had escaped with a relatively light sanction.

"They've taken a very soft approach," said the feisty septuagenarian.


"You would have thought all bus drivers would go to customer training before they were allowed on the bus."

The driver accused the walkers - aged between 72 and 79 - of "acting like animals" and sounding "like a fish market". He demanded they stop talking so he could concentrate on the road.

Part way through the journey he pulled the bus over, turned off the engine and demanded they get off before he continued. Stunned, they eventually got off. Three other passengers joined them in protest.

The walkers, who had spent the day exploring Waiheke Island, lodged complaints with Auckland Transport.

Holliday said while they didn't want the abusive bus driver to lose his job they hoped he would learn how to treat passengers with respect.

"I suppose in a way we've done him a favour.

"Hopefully the bus driver will benefit from the customer service course he will be attending."

In an apologetic email Pavlovich general manager Peter Varrie said as a result of the complaints from the walkers the on-board video was reviewed along with a verbal account of the incident from the driver.


Based on all security footage, written and verbal evidence the case resulted in a "formal outcome".

The driver would be made to go on a customer service course within the next seven days.

Varrie offered his "sincere apologies" to the walkers saying the transport company had taken a "very serious approach" to the complaint.

Holliday said she hoped that now the rude driver would think twice about insulting passengers before he spoke.

"Think before you open your mouth. Think of the consequences. What he said to us was inappropriate."

She said since the incident was made public in the Herald the walking group had become the toast of west Auckland with cars tooting and strangers congratulating them for speaking out.

News had spread globally with the Blue Top Walkers featuring in online publications in France and the United Kingdom.

Auckland Transport said it would continue to work closely with associated bus companies to ensure public customers got the best service possible.

"This driver will have extra training to ensure he knows exactly how he is expected to deal with customers, so that an incident like this does not happen again," said a spokesman.