A frail pensioner has told how he collapsed and ended up with pneumonia after being left “stranded” by a bus driver five miles from home.
James Stinton, 72, a retired delivery driver from Gilmerton, Edinburgh, dozed off and woke up at the last stop at around midnight without a penny in his pocket.
When he asked for help, he claims the driver told him: “My shift’s over - you’ll have to catch a night bus” - but no buses were running.
He started walking home but collapsed on the pavement where he was found the next morning by a passer-by - and later developed pneumonia.
James said: “He said he was off duty and that he could not do anything. I’m surprised he didn’t offer me a helping hand.
“I couldn’t walk any further and just collapsed. I couldn’t get back up again. It was so cold and I just couldn’t stop shivering.
“I didn’t know what to do and just lay there hoping someone would find me.
“I was confused and didn’t know how I got myself into this situation. It just lets you know what can happen.”
His bus ordeal happened last November when James fell asleep, missed his stop and ended up at Mayfield, more than five miles from his home .
He was told to get off the bus and catch the nightbus from a stop close by.
James tried to call a friend for help because he didn’t have any money and then his phone died, forcing him to try his luck at the next stop.
After waiting in the cold for half an hour a passer-by told the pensioner that there was no night bus, which meant James had to walk back.
But he developed pain in his feet brought on by ulcers and the freezing cold which eventually caused him to collapse on the pavement.
James said: “I fell asleep on the bus for some reason and woke up at Mayfield. I told the driver that I was far from home and that I had no money.
“The driver told me that I had to get off and catch a night bus. That was all he was talking about. But the night bus didn’t stop at the terminus.
“I tried to phone a friend, but I couldn’t get through. The phone was useless.
“When there was no night bus around, I started to walk home, but my legs gave up because of the cold.
“There was nothing to help me get up and I just lay there. I could not get up again. It was about minus three degrees.”
A passer-by only spotted James around 7am the next morning and called an ambulance which rushed him to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.
After spending the night on the pavement, James developed a serious case of pneumonia and a kidney problem which left him hospitalised for three weeks.
Because he does not have any close family, James called his friend Jim from hospital to tell him what had happened.
Jim Munro, who rushed to see James in hospital, said: “James was shaking like a leaf and he looked terrible. He looked ill.
“His face and hands had turned a slight purple colour.
“James is a 72-year-old man and I think the driver should have called the control room to ask them for advice.
“All this is the result of him getting off that bus and the driver not doing anything about it.
“Under the duty of care the driver should have got on the radio and asked for some sort of advice, but he didn’t.”
The bus operators have defended the driver because the CCTV footage shows Jim with his mobile phone - which didn’t work.
A spokeswoman for Lothian Buses said: “While we were obviously sorry to hear about the extent to which Mr Sinton became unwell.
“He didn’t ask for help, showed no signs of being unwell and left the bus answering a call on his mobile phone.”