Woman, 20, told to ‘f*** off back to Poland’ on Edinburgh bus while on phone to mum but was told to ‘ignore it’ by driver

A 20-year-old woman was told to “f*** off back to Poland” on an Edinburgh bus as she spoke to her mother on the phone - but claims she was told to ignore it by the driver when she reported the racist remark to him.

Thursday, 1st July 2021, 4:55 am

Julia Kufka, who has lived in Scotland for about 17 years, had been talking in Polish to her mother when a woman sitting in front of her on the 113 East Coast service turned round and made the xenophobic comment, at around 5.50pm on Tuesday.

Julia, who lives in Granton, said: “This woman kept turning around, clearly annoyed, and just told me to ‘f*** off and go back to Poland,’ and I told her to turn around and stop speaking. It happened near the stop I was getting off at - the Apple store in Princes Street.

“I was on my phone for about five to ten minutes before she said anything. She had been on the bus for a while. She looked around about late 40s or early 50s and was just by herself. She sounded local and had blonde hair and glasses.”

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Julia Kufka, pictured, said she reported the incident to the bus driver but felt it was not taken seriously.
Julia Kufka, pictured, said she reported the incident to the bus driver but felt it was not taken seriously.

Julia reported the incident to the bus driver just before she got off at her stop, but she feels he did not take the matter seriously.

The young woman, who works in a Wetherspoons bar in Musselburgh, said the driver asked why the woman had made the comment and, after explaining to him she did not know why and that she had been speaking to her mother, he told her to “just ignore it”.

Julia continued: “I was not too happy. I thought he would at least speak to her.

“I just think a bus driver should take more action - maybe stop the bus and at least report it further.

“I was really shaken by it. It’s not the first time it’s happened. It happened on the bus before when I was living in Inverness. I am originally from Poland but moved here (to Scotland) when I was three. I have been in Edinburgh for over two years.”

The Edinburgh Evening News reported last week how a passenger on a Lothian bus called out a woman making a series of racial slurs towards a group of black teenage boys she was sitting close to.

Kimberley Withnell, 34, said she was left angry and upset by the remarks which included references to their skin colour and assumptions about where they came from.

Ms Withnell reported the incident to the driver who agreed to stop the number 34 service close to the Fountain News convenience store in Dundee Street while she contacted police. She said officers arrived at the scene within minutes to take statements.

Police confirmed that a 20-year-old woman was arrested and charged in connection with the incident.

Julia is considering reporting Tuesday’s incident to police and has lodged a complaint with Lothian.

A spokesperson for East Coast Buses said: “East Coast Buses is committed to delivering safe, reliable public transport for all of our customers.

"We would always ask that our customers contact us directly if they have any concerns regarding their customer experience while travelling with us. On this occasion, we would also encourage the customer to report the incident to Police Scotland."

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