Firm apologises to epileptic woman
Bus operator First has apologised to a 19-year-old Bath woman with epilepsy who was ordered off one of its vehicles despite having a disability card for free travel.
As revealed in last week's Chronicle, Jess McGee was told her card was "a p*ss take" when she boarded the firm's Number 13 service to take her from her home in Bear Flat to work at Morrisons supermarket, in London Road.
After demanding to know what was wrong with her, the driver said that if she did not have the money for the fare then she had to get off his bus, despite her having a valid diamond card issued by Bath and North East Somerset Council.
Miss McGee was eventually rescued by a fellow passenger, who paid her fare, but the incident left her feeling shocked and embarrassed.
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First has now formally apologised to Miss McGee, and says "appropriate action" has been taken against the driver, although it will not say what this was.
Its Bath business manager Richard Lewis said he was disappointed to learn of her experience and had written to her.
He said: "The whole company is disappointed and I'm personally embarrassed by what happened. I can assure Ms McGee and all our Bath customers that this is in no way a reflection of First's customer service in the town.
"We carry some 14 million people every year and on the whole have a customer service record that we are proud of.
"However, clearly mistakes were made in Ms McGee's case.
"As part of our training programme, we train all of our drivers in disability awareness and expect all our staff to recognise and respond to the range of different needs that our customers may have, this includes hidden disabilities such as epilepsy.
"However, we will be taking further steps to ensure that such an incident does not happen again."
First has also been in touch with the charity Epilepsy Action with a view to working with it to help increase awareness and understanding of the condition.