Friday 30 September 2016

Dublin Bus probes claim that driver insulted and chased disabled student

Alan O'Keeffe

Published 27/11/2015 | 08:33

Jason Tiernan.
Jason Tiernan.

A university student with a disability travel pass has claimed he was chased and threatened by a Dublin bus driver.

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Jason Tiernan (31) claimed he was called an insulting name and verbally abused during a brief exchange of words with the driver when he boarded a bus in Dublin city centre this week.

He had intended taking a photograph of the driver at the end of the journey to use as part of a complaint to Dublin Bus.

A Dublin Bus spokeswoman said a complaint about "an alleged incident" is currently under investigation.

condition

Mr Tiernan told the Herald he has a free travel disability pass as he suffers from a neurological condition called myotonic dystrophy - a form of muscular dystrophy.

His condition causes his skeletal muscles to waste.

It also makes him very tired and causes other negative effects, but it does not alter his normal physical appearance, he said.

When he held his disability pass in front of the bus driver as he boarded the bus this week, he claimed the driver did not say anything to him for up to half a minute as he continued looking at the pass.

"I was feeling very tired and I asked him if he could see the pass.

"He then asked me to give him the pass and he turned on a light in his cab and said "I'll have a f****** good look at it now, you smart c***."

"I said 'Sorry, what did you say?' He repeated the insult and handed me back the pass.

"I told him I would be phoning Dublin Bus the next morning to make a complaint about him," he said.

photograph

An hour later, as Mr Tiernan got off the bus at a terminus in North Dublin, he attempted to photograph the driver.

But the driver held his hand in front of his face and then got off the bus and chased him around the roadway, he claimed.

The driver shouted demands that he delete the photograph from the phone and he also threatened to break the mobile phone across his head, Mr Tiernan claimed.

"A bus driver should not behave like that," he said.

"It was very frightening. He didn't catch me and I managed to get away from him.

"I don't want him to lose his job, but he should be given a warning by the company," he said.

Footage

Mr Tiernan is a mature student studying for an Arts degree at NUI Maynooth.

"My own experience is that a small number of bus drivers seem to treat people with contempt if they have a disability pass, but do not appear to be physically disabled," he said.

A Dublin Bus spokeswoman said: "We are investigating the alleged incident.

"We have requested the CCTV footage from the bus on the date of the alleged incident.

"As with any complaint, Dublin Bus must follow procedures which take a number of days to complete," she said.

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