Pregnant teenager booted off bus in blizzard
Published 15/02/2016 | 08:28
A bus firm has apologised to a pregnant woman who was told to get off a bus in the snow because she didn't have change of a tenner.
Amie Patterson (18) waited in snow outside Mothercare on High Street, Belfast, for the 11A bus to go to work.
But when she got on the 7.45am service to Silverstream on January 15 and handed the driver a £10 note she says she was told that she'd have to get off and wait for another one.
She said she was relieved to see the bus coming as she had been waiting at the stop for 10 minutes, cold and wet, and was suffering with backache.
"I was standing there waiting like I do every morning to go to work," said the full-time carer, who travels from Islandmagee to the Shankill on public transport every day for work.
"My back was sore and I was freezing cold because it was snowing and soaking wet. On my way to the bus I stopped at the bank machine to withdraw the £10 I needed for my fare when a car drove through a puddle and soaked me.
"When the bus pulled up, some people got on first and then I did. I handed the driver the tenner and he told me: 'You're not getting on a bus at this time of the morning without change'.
"Everybody on the bus saw it but I didn't want to make eye contact with them.
"So I asked what I was supposed to do and he told me to get off and wait for the next one.
"I was so embarrassed and didn't want a fuss, I didn't want people on the bus thinking I had done something wrong, so I just got off like he said."
Around five minutes later Amie got on the 11B with the same £10 note without question.
"During her wait she rang her partner Tony Clarke and her mum Louise, who were furious.
"I was really raging when I heard how she had been treated," said Louise.
"She leaves here at 7am to get the train then the bus to get to her job up the Shankill every day, and it costs her £10 for the two fares.
"She's trying to work as long as possible to save money for the baby. I couldn't believe a driver would ask a pregnant woman to wait in the snow.
"To think that she was already freezing and made to get off like that, with everybody watching, really angers me."
Amie says she arrived at work 30 minutes late and was so upset she asked to take her maternity leave.
"It was just the day from Hell," she said.
A Translink spokesperson said: "We have carried out a full investigation into this passenger's complaint where she was allegedly refused travel on the 11A Metro service on January 15 while attempting to pay for her journey using a £10 note.
"We very much recognise the importance of good customer service and take reports of this nature very seriously. We have taken steps to address this issue internally and our customer services tam have also been in direct contact with the passenger concerned to offer our apologies, as this is not the high level of service we aim to deliver."