Passengers left stranded on bus after driver refuses to board because of gay rights advert on the side of the bus
The unnamed driver would not get on the X78 from Rotherham to Sheffield because it bore a billboard for gay lobby group Stonewall, reading: ‘Some people are gay. Get over it!’
Passengers sat and waited while the driver argued loudly with colleagues and customers.
Among those on the bus was Rebecca Neill, 25, from Herringthorpe, South Yorkshire, who had boarded the 5.25pm service at Rotherham and had just taken her seat when the commotion began.
‘Once the driver had let us on the bus, he was meant to be swapping with another driver, but when his replacement wouldn’t get on they just left us there while they had an argument outside,’ she said.
‘There were quite a few passengers arguing with him and several drivers as well. Someone was shouting at him: “You can’t do that, it’s disgusting.”
Eventually, the next X78 service arrived and its driver swapped buses with the protester.
By then, Rebecca had already missed a connecting tram at Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield.
She said: ‘I just thought it was disgusting. I would never say: “I’m not getting on your bus because you believe in God and I don’t.”
‘He’s a bus driver — he’s going to come across all sorts of people. Does he seriously think he has never had a gay person on his bus?
I think it’s wrong that he can cause such a fuss while people are trying to go places.’
A spokesman for bus operator First Group would not divulge what action — if any — had been taken against the renegade driver.
He said: ‘We are aware of an incident involving one of our drivers refusing to drive a bus at Rotherham Interchange.
We have spoken to the driver in question and the matter has now been resolved. We would like to apologise to any customers that were affected during this isolated incident.’
Stonewall information officer Louise Kelly said: ‘Passengers in Rotherham can rightly expect bus drivers to do the job they pay them to do — drive buses.
‘If they are unwilling to, perhaps they should look for another job.’
Stonewall, a gay rights lobby group and charity, was founded in 1989.
The group was named for the Stonewall riots of 1969, a series of demonstrations that took place after police raided the Stonewall Inn in New York, a bar popular with the gay community.
Their slogan ‘Some people are gay. Get over it!,’ developed in collaboration with 150 secondary school pupils and teachers, was originally launched in 2007 as part of a campaign to tackle homophobic bullying in schools.
In addition to their billboard and signage campaign, the charity also holds the Stonewall Awards, which recognise people who have affected the gay community in a positive or negative way during the year.
The charity recently named Cardinal Keith O’Brien their ‘Bigot of the Year’ for his stance on gay marriage.
Article from today’s Daily Mail Online