A BUS driver refused to let a 15-year-old schoolboy board a bus with a child’s ticket, leaving the teenager stranded four miles from his house.
To make matters worse, the Lothian Buses driver crumpled the ticket up right in front of him, meaning a humiliated Daniel Popoola had no means of getting back home.
Daniel, 15, left his home at Southhouse on Tuesday last week with a £2 coin given to him by his mum, Precious, to buy a child dayticket to get him to an orthodontist appointment in Gorgie at the other side of town.
On his way back he got off the bus at Princes Street and walked up to North Bridge near Argos and attempted to board the number 7 bus back towards Captains Road – but the driver refused to let him on.
“I showed the driver my ticket; he squinted at it and asked me to give him it, which I did,” explained Daniel, “He then asked me my date of birth. I told him, but then he said, ‘I don’t believe you are 15’.”
The driver told Daniel he had to get off the bus unless he paid an adult fare. The S4 student informed the driver he had no money.
“Why would I pay for an adult single when I’m not an adult?” said Daniel. “This is the fourth bus I’ve been on, the other drivers believed I was 15 except you.”
Daniel explained that his house was four miles away and that the driver was leaving him with no choice but to walk back home in the cold.
And when Daniel asked for his ticket back, the driver took things a step further.
“He said, ‘No, you can’t have it back’, and scrunched it up and then threw it down the side of his seat.”
It was at this point a female passenger offered to give Daniel the £1.60 he needed to get on his way.
Incredibly, the driver refused, saying: “I don’t want him on this bus.”
“That was the point I stopped contemplating whether or not it was an age thing and started thinking it was something else instead,” said Daniel, who grew up in Scotland but is of Nigerian origin. “I hadn’t done a single thing wrong.”
Around 15 minutes had passed when a Lothian Buses supervisor, Mandy Riddell, appeared and, after hearing all sides of the story, apologised on behalf of Lothian Buses and stated that the incident would be reported. She also printed off a new dayticket for Daniel.
A spokesperson for Lothian Buses said: “When it comes to policy of daytickets, there are conditions of carriage; it is at the discretion of drivers whether or not they accept someone.
“It is being taken very seriously and will be dealt with internally.
“There are certain circumstances, such as age, where they (the drivers) have room to question and ask for evidence.”
A separate statement from Lothian Buses read: “We aim to deliver an excellent service for all of our customers and we are sorry to hear that on this occasion we failed to do so.
“We welcome all feedback and are currently in touch with the customer concerned.”
Daniel, who has been left somewhat shaken by the ordeal, said: “It’s made me more wary; I did nothing wrong. The bus driver absolutely had the right to refuse me – but what he did not have the right to do was scrunch up my ticket.”