A BUS company has apologised to a mum and her young daughter after they were kicked off a bus – for being 20p short on the fare.
Kasi Brewer had collected her daughter from nursery and went to get the number 5 bus home from the Mountbatten Centre in Stamshaw.
But they were not allowed on by the driver because Kasi was 20p short of the full fare.
She said no other services arrived and was given no help when she walked round to the Hilsea bus depot.
They had to wait two hours in the cold before a friend could drive round to pick her up and take them back to their home in Fareham.
Kasi, 24, of Trinity Street, said: ‘I use First buses on an almost daily basis and generally don’t have a problem.
‘I got on the bus and realised I didn’t have enough change. I was 20p short and asked them to take me as far as they could. But he was very rude and told me to get off the bus.
‘No-one was willing to help me. I just wanted some advice or help.
‘I finally managed to get hold of someone to drive down from Fareham and collect me at about 8.30pm, with still no news on a number 5. My little girl was cold and tired.
‘It was lucky that she’d already had dinner otherwise she would have been hungry too.
‘By the time my lift arrived I was so angry and upset. I was shaking with rage and in floods of tears. I’m not bothered about myself, but my young daughter is an entirely different matter.’
Kasi says she has to use First buses on a regular basis to get to and from work in Portsmouth.
‘If I could afford to get a taxi I would,’ she added.
First only responded to Kasi’s complaint after they were contacted by The News. It said a failure on its website meant it didn’t receive the email.
The firm said the driver should have allowed her to use the bus and sorted out repayment of the 20p at a later date.
Chris Bainbridge, regional service delivery director for First on the south coast, said: ‘We acknowledge that Ms Brewer’s email to us was not acknowledged or responded to due to a failure on our website.
‘We offer our sincere apologies to Ms Brewer for this oversight.
‘We’re concerned that Ms Brewer states she was told she was unable to travel by a member of our driving team, all who have the facility to make alternative arrangements for customers who may not have the right amount of money to make their journey.
‘It is obvious from Ms Brewer’s email that she found herself in distressing circumstances on a cold evening and with a young child.
‘If First in anyway contributed to these events it is extremely regrettable.’
The company confirmed that two buses arrived at the Mountbatten Centre between 6pm and 6.40pm but that Kasi may have missed the service as she walked round to the Hilsea depot.