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Public Transport Intimidation


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Hi everyone. I would like to share an email which I sent to the 'First Bus' transport company today. I should point out that not all drivers are behaving this way, some are being reasonable. My approach to dealing with belligerence, aggression or intimidation from drivers on public transport is as follows: remain calm, keep a level tone of voice or they will adopt the 'bait and switch' manipulation tactic whereby they behave aggressively then turn things round and act the victim if you raise your voice even slightly, which would be understandable. State your case calmly but firmly, mention the equality act or basic privacy if necessary, but don't back down to intimidation. Here is the email I sent today after witnessing two individuals being harassed by driver(s) whose behavior seemed to border on the psychotic:
"I travelled to **** and back on this day. I got on the bus just before midday. I travelled through to **** and then got the 13:35 bus back. I am not sure if it was the same driver on both journeys because masks were worn. The first issue was that on the way to ****, an elderly man who got on in ***** was loudly questioned by the driver in an aggressive and shaming manner. The elderly man was asked why he was travelling. The driver took issue with the fact that he was carrying a fishing rod. Things were made personal; the driver said "we're burying our drivers at the moment", and was generally shaming the gentleman, who looked shell-shocked. On the way back, a person who I am assuming was the same driver did a similar thing to a woman who was mask exempt, and who became tearful. The driver was aggressive and belligerent but cares so much about his health that he took a couple of minutes to smoke a cigarette before departing. I am not interested in hearing about government guidelines in your response, I am delivering to whomever carries the can for First Bus: keep your drivers under control, or people may be inclined to find lawyers who can."
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I'd be interesting in reading any reply you get back from First Bus.


On 2/26/2021 at 5:50 PM, Ethel said:

the driver said "we're burying our drivers at the moment",


That sounds like an exaggeration to the extreme, from someone who has swallowed the propaganda too hard.


I'm pleased that with one exception, the vast majority of bus drivers I encounter generally don't say anything, certainly most of the ones who drive from my local depot don't.


But then I do have an 'Exemption' card which I downloaded and printed off from the West Midlands Network website, which is in my travel pass holder alongside my Swift smartcard. So as I'm scanning my pass as I board, it is visible to the driver.


There is unfortunately one driver who I've encountered a couple of times, he doesn't go to those kinds of extremes as you describe, but I have seen/heard him initially asking passengers to wear a mask. A couple of weeks ago while boarding he did curtly ask me "are you exempt?", to which I said nothing but waved my exemption card in his face. He said nothing, and just turned away. The next time after that, he didn't say anything to me as I boarded.



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