Derbyshire police investigate alleged assault by bus driver on elderly passenger
Retired engineer Ian Farndon was travelling home Chesterfield town centre to Brampton on a number 84 Hulleys bus when a minor disagreement with the driver suddenly escalated.
76-year-old Ian said: “It was just something silly and simple. Near the junction of Chatsworth Road and Storrs Road, I rang the bell and stood up to get off at my stop – but the bus just kept going.
“I politely asked the driver why he’d not stopped and at first he just ignored me. So, I said ‘Excuse me’ and asked again, and he said that there’d been no sign on his dashboard to say stop, so I couldn’t have rung the bell.”
Ian said:“He kept being awkward and offensive, and all of a sudden the bus stopped, he got out of his driver’s cab, grabbed hold of me and pushed me off the bus.”
Although he is currently undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, Ian considers himself fit for his age and not easily intimidated, but the sudden turn of events left him stunned.
Three weeks later, he says there is still swelling on his wrist from where the driver took hold of him, and that he sustained bruising to his chest where he was pushed.
He said: “It’s lucky he had hold of me when he pushed me off on to the pavement. If I’d fallen, it could have been much worse.”
A spokesperson for Derbyshire Constabulary said: “We are investigating reports of an assault on a bus in Chesterfield. Enquiries are ongoing. No arrests have yet been made.”
Ian’s son, Simon Farndon, has also taken the matter up with Hulleys. He said: “I understand the driver was a temp who only came on at busy times, and he’s been let go now, I’m just surprised they’ve not made an effort to get in touch with dad. They’ve got a duty of care to their passengers.”
Alf Crofts, managing director at Hulleys, said: “Following reviews of the CCTV footage and witness statements, the driver in question – who was not an employee of Hulleys but who worked on a freelance basis – was immediately discharged of his duties and will not be used again.
“As for cooperating with the police, we have done so fully and remain at their disposal should they require any further information. This was very much a one-off incident and I would like to take this opportunity through your columns to publicly apologise to the gentleman involved, his family, and to the other passengers who had to witness this dreadful and regrettable incident.”
He added: “We have had no direct contact from the gentleman in question but have received an email from his son who we urged to ask his father to get in touch so that we can offer whatever help and support he requires. To date we have received no further contact but our offer remains.”
“We obviously can't turn the clock back but we will do everything possible to make the situation as right as possible, if he or his son want to get in touch with me directly I would gladly meet them to discuss next steps.”