A BUS driver accused of ‘putting lives at risk’ by using his mobile phone while transporting passengers around Gosport is to be investigated for his actions.
The driver was pictured appearing to use his phone on Saturday afternoon by eagle-eyed waitress Emmy Thornton.
The furious 17-year-old was travelling on the Eclipse bus to work when she took a picture of the bus driver who seemed to be texting – and it has been alleged he was doing it while the bus was moving.
‘I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,’ said Ms Thornton, a Fareham College student.
‘I was disgusted he was using his phone.
‘It did scare me when I saw it.’
I am absolutely horrified that a person who is in a position of responsibility to ensure the safety of the travelling public would even contemplate doing something like thisCouncillor Mark Hook, Gosport Borough Council leader
The unnamed driver’s alleged actions have since sparked outrage from the boss of Gosport Borough Council and from Emmy’s mother, Sarah Thornton.
The 46-year-old, of Harwood Road, Gosport, said she reported the man to bus operators First Solent, which has since revealed it is investigating the incident.
Speaking to The News, Sarah said: ‘I was livid when I heard about it.
‘If it is proven, I hope he gets sacked for it and doesn’t just get a warning.
‘I don’t want to do it out of spite and I’d hate for anyone to lose their job but he could have lost someone’s life.
‘It’s not just my daughter’s life he was putting at risk, it was everyone else’s on the bus, too.
‘In my eyes he should be making sure everyone on his bus is safe – he can’t do that while texting.’
Councillor Mark Hook, leader of Gosport Borough Council, was outraged by the allegations.
He said: ‘I am absolutely horrified that a person who is in a position of responsibility to ensure the safety of the travelling public would even contemplate doing something like this.
‘If it’s proven, you can’t believe the stupidity of the driver. What on earth was he thinking about that is more important than the safety of the travelling public?’
Patrick Miller is a former Gosport bus driver with about 40 years’ experience in the industry, and he was concerned by the photo.
‘You just don’t do that sort of thing,’ he told The News.
‘You need to have total concentration on the road because you’re responsible for the safety of the passengers.’
Dervla McKay, general manager of First Solent – which operates the bus service – said the organisation had ‘been made aware of some images which show a driver using a mobile phone while at the wheel’ of one of their vehicles.
‘We are currently in the process of identifying the driver and will investigate,’ she added.
‘We treat these types of incident very seriously and we would like to thank the customer for bringing it to our attention.’