Nottinghamshire woman 'nervous to get on buses' after ticket row

Michelle Bernard Credit: BPM Media

A Nottinghamshire woman says she is now nervous to get on buses - after being removed on a "bitterly cold" night in the city centre when her card failed to work.

Michelle Bernard, a support worker from Carlton, said her Easyrider card failed to work, despite putting money on it earlier that day, when she boarded the Nottingham City Transport (NCT) 25 service at the Victoria Centre.

She was told to get off the bus by the driver, as she had no other way to pay the fare, but she refused and sat down.

Michelle said: "I was on my way home from college. He shouted at me to get off the bus but it was late and cold and I wasn't going to get off.

"This lady offered to pay the fare for me. When she went to pay he said 'no I don't want it', he switched the engine off and refused to drive the bus.

"I said 'why should I get off the bus? Someone offered to pay my fare, have you got something against me?' I said 'I'm not getting off the bus because I don't know how I'll get home and I've got no money'. Why would he treat me like that? His sole intention was to get me off the bus."

The police were called to the incident in December last year and officers removed Ms Bernard from the bus and took her home.

NCT said it has investigated and followed the matter up with the driver. Ms Bernard, who has made a formal complaint with the bus company, said the experience had left her with long-term difficulties.

"It's really left a dampener on things, I just can't concentrate on studies," she said. "I remember that night - it was bitterly cold. That night I found out I had passed a mock exam and I felt hopeful - he crushed that hope and now every time I get on the bus I feel nervous."David Astill, managing director at NCT, said: "We have investigated the incident thoroughly and followed the matter up with the driver concerned. We don't disclose the nature of the follow up action with the driver as that is an internal confidential matter covered by the Data Protection Act 2018.

"We did apologise to Michelle for any distress the incident may have caused her. We did offer Michelle one months' complimentary travel with NCT which she has accepted and has had the benefit of.

"We also advised her that if she wished to escalate this matter further, she could follow the appeals process via Bus Users UK. We have also offered to fund for Michelle a short course of counselling which we could refer her for, or we gave the option for Michelle to recommend such a course for herself."