Pen­sion­ers ‘thrown off bus’ for talk­ing

Western Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - DILEEPA FONSEKA

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.

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