A BUS driver was so concerned about an 89-year-old’s fitness to travel he ordered her off – 18 miles from home.
First Bus have apologised following the incident in Musselburgh, East Lothian, on Friday which involved a pensioner using a walking frame.
According to witnesses, the woman momentarily stumbled and lost her balance while boarding the bus.
The driver claimed the OAP was unfit to travel and, to the shock of other passengers, ordered her off the bus, 18 miles from her home in North Berwick and with no other means of getting there.
Passengers intervened, the driver summoned his manager, and the lady was eventually allowed back on board.
The identity of the OAP is not known but fellow passenger Stacey McMIllan said she was called Betty.
Stacey and her mother helped the pensioner get on the X24 and were “disgusted” by the treatment of the elderly lady.
Stacey said: “The bus driver asked, ‘Are you accompanying this lady?’
“I replied no, we were just seeing she was on the bus safely.
“The bus driver replied, ‘What do I look liker, her sister? Unless you accompany her I refuse to let her stay on’.”
Stacey was then forced to guide Betty – embarrassed and confused by the argument – back off the bus while her mother confronted the driver.
The driver then called his manager, who arrived and ordered him to let Betty board the bus.
Stacey said: “I was beyond disgusted and shocked by what the driver said.”
Local councillor Stuart Currie also weighed in, describing Betty’s treatment as “disgraceful”.
Cllr Currie said: “This is a disgraceful incident for anyone to be put through.
“In my view, this is direct discrimination by a bus company, which is not only unacceptable but unlawful.
“Everyone should be treated with dignity and respect and First bus have clearly failed.”
First East Scotland, which operates the X24 service, apologised for the incident.
A spokesman said: “We’d like to apologise to the lady concerned. We’ll be making contact with her directly to do so.
“While our controller did attend the location to confirm she was able to travel, we appreciate this situation should not have arisen in the first place.
“We will be speaking to the driver concerned to ensure this is not repeated.”