A school holiday trip to Auckland turned into a nightmare for two Rotorua teenagers after a bus driver drove off leaving them stranded in Ngatea.
Tania Te Whenua said her son, 15-year-old Kelin Te Whenua, and daughter Mihi Satele, 14, were travelling on a Naked Bus to visit their father, Moki Satele, when they got left behind.
"They got off the bus and went into the service centre to use the toilet and get a drink. When they stepped out on to the street the bus was departing. Mihi ran after it and tried to flag it down," Ms Te Whenua said. However the driver continued.
A 14-year-old friend from Mt Maunganui, Sharnae Smith, was on board and was able to contact the family to tell them what happened.
Sharnae said the passengers were telling the driver he had left two people behind.
Kelin said he was astonished the driver had left him and his sister. "I was pretty frustrated - it was just a big hassle," he said.
Ms Te Whenua said in her view, the bus company had shown no regard for the children's vulnerability or anything else that could happen to them as a result of being left alone.
In the end, the children's father made the two-hour round trip from Auckland to pick them up.
Ms Te Whenua said the incident was not good enough.
"They have an inherent responsibility to all passengers to take all reasonable steps to ensure that passengers are able to engage with their service," she said.
Nakedbus.com chief executive Sheryll Otway said the company could have handled the situation better and the incident was under investigation.
"In the end, the responsibility is ours - people have to be safe - we don't take the responsibility of our passengers lightly," she said.