Pensioners ‘thrown off bus’ for talking
A group of pensioners who say they were humiliated by a bus driver who kicked them off a bus for talking too loudly are demanding that he apologise in person.
The four men and four women were part of a seniors walking group that caught a 133 bus operated by Pavlovich Coachlines in central Auckland on Sunday after a day-trip to Waiheke Island.
A few minutes after they got on the bus, the driver pulled over on Hobson Street and sat there without saying a word, 80-year-old Ellen Holliday said.
When the group questioned if he was going to move the bus, the driver stormed down to the back and shouted ‘‘you’re all acting like animals and it sounds like a fish market’’, Holliday said.
Members of the group objected, but he replied ‘‘you all come from different countries and I can’t understand you’’, according to Holliday. ‘‘We kept quiet, quiet like little mice, then he got up into Great North Rd and we started talking again.’’
She said the driver then stopped the bus again, on Great North Rd, storming outside and pacing back and forth while talking to someone on his cellphone. The driver said he wouldn’t move the vehicle until the elderly group stopped talking or got off the bus, according to the pensioners.
‘‘Gee, we were talking normally to one another. The men weren’t even talking because they were so angry with this bus driver.’’
Not wanting to inconvenience other passengers, Holliday said the group left the vehicle with three others who walked off the bus in protest.
‘‘He was a bully, he was aggressive and we were totally and utterly traumatised.’’
Holliday and her husband are immigrants from South Africa but all the other members of the group were born in New Zealand, she said.
Pavlovich buses has sent Holliday and other passengers an email apologising for the incident.
‘‘This matter has been brought to the attention of the relevant Network Performance Manager and will be addressed,’’ the email said. The case had been escalated to a formal meeting.
Holliday said Pavlovich buses had not approached any member of the group to ask them to appear at the meeting.
‘‘The ideal outcome is for him to come out to our walking group and apologise in front of all of us.’’
An elderly walking group called the Blue Top Walkers were kicked off a bus for being too noisy.