A WOMAN was left furious after she boarded a bus with her young son only to be told she had to pay for him – because she has a disability.
Katie Cowdrey was getting on the E2 on Brockhurst Road, in Gosport with three-year-old Oliver when the driver told her she had to pay.
Normally, youngsters under five travel for free but due to an error, First Bus passengers with a concessionary pass are told to fork out for a ticket.
Katie, 34, of Pegasus Close, in Rowner, Gosport, said: ‘It’s just ridiculous. The bloke actually got the driver’s manual out and showed it me.
‘I’d rather be a paying customer and not be epileptic and be able to drive.
‘It was quite a shock to be suddenly told that – I just thought how discriminatory.’
The rules say anyone with a concessionary bus pass would have to pay for their children.
First Bus say it is an anomaly, which is now being reviewed.
‘Obviously that will include pensioners with their grandchildren,’ Katie adds.
‘Their response to me was that they think it’s a misprint.
‘They said “if you do get charged, send the tickets in and we’ll refund you”.
Katie added she has previously got on the bus without paying for Oliver. This time the driver let her off and Oliver was allowed on without a ticket.
Councillor Sean Woodward is executive member for transport at Hampshire County Council, which paid for the dedicated Eclipse bus route.
He said: ‘The rules say up to three children can travel for free with a pass holder.
‘There’s no anomaly here, they’re not following their own policy. It certainly wouldn’t be my understanding that children should pay when they go with pass holders.’
Katie has written to Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage about the problem. She added she has been struggling after the number nine was cut back recently.
As reported, Ms Dinenage and councillors Alan Scard and Graham Burgess met First boss Marc Reddy after hundreds of people in Alverstoke petitioned to have the bus reinstated.
The cuts were not changed but they are now pursuing other ways to fund the route.
First is now looking into its concessionary pass policy.
A First spokeswoman said: ‘This is currently the case, but it is an anomaly in our fares structure which we are intending to change to make it fairer in the future.’