Bus company sorry after vulnerable woman, 79, spends night in toilet after service failed to show up

A stock image of a bus stop.
Credit: PA
The woman waited for hours at the bus stop but the service did not turn up (stock image). Credit: PA

A bus company has apologised after a 79-year-old vulnerable woman had to spend a night in a public toilet when her bus failed to turn up.

The woman had waited two-and-a-half hours for the service to take her back to her village near Cambridgeshire, councillors heard earlier this month, before ending up spending the night in the public bathroom.

Centrebus, which runs the 26 service between Royston and Cambridge, apologised and said an investigation had taken place to find out what happened.

It said a stuck level crossing had delayed an earlier bus, meaning the later service did not run.

The company said it had taken “appropriate action” to prevent the situation from happening again.

Centrebus took over the 26 service following the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority’s retendering process when Stagecoach announced it would be cutting the service it ran along that route, reports the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

A spokesperson for Centrebus said an investigation had been completed by its operations manager "and the appropriate action taken to prevent a reoccurrence".

“He reports that the 3.26pm service departed from Royston on time but got held up at the level crossing at Foxton for almost two hours. The crossing was stuck down and a rail engineer had to attend.

“The bus finally moved off from the crossing at about 5.50pm and continued to Cambridge with passengers on board.

“By the time it reached Cambridge it was on time for the 6.30pm back to Royston. The 5.26pm from Royston didn’t operate because of the above.

“He would like to apologise for this incident and for any distress or inconvenience this may have caused.”

The issue was first raised by Cambridgeshire county councillor Neil Shailer, who told a meeting of the combined authority’s transport and infrastructure committee, that councillors should remember that their decisions affected "actual people [and] actual lives".

He said: “I had a call from one of my parish councillors today, a 79-year-old vulnerable lady spent between 5pm and 7.30pm waiting for a bus at Royston to take her back to Harston.

“The bus never turned up, she called the police asking for help, but they said there was nothing they could do. She ended up spending the night in a public toilet."

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