Bus driver ‘no longer employed’ after alleged racist comment against disabled Peterborough passenger
A bus driver who allegedly made a racist comment towards a passenger from Thorney is no longer employed following an investigation, her bus company has confirmed.
First Eastern Counties has apologised to Ian Barrington who claimed he was the subject of a racist comment by a First Bus driver when travelling from the village into central Peterborough a fortnight ago.
The Royal Mail worker published a video where the driver can be heard saying: “I don’t understand foreign languages, I only understand English.”
Mr Barrington, who was shot during a robbery in the Caribbean in 2005, leaving him unable to walk, was on his way to a doctor’s appointment due to a blood clot in his left calf when the incident happened.
The episode was captured on camera and published on the 44-year-old’s Facebook page.
First Eastern Counties said it could not confirm why the driver at the subject of the complaint has left, but following an investigation head of operations Chris Speed stated: “I have concluded my investigation into an incident that was brought to my attention, relating to a verbal exchange between one of our drivers and Mr Barrington, who was travelling on our Excel service.
“First and foremost I want to apologise to Mr Barrington for the poor level of service he received; this is certainly not the level of service I would expect any of our drivers to provide to any customer travelling with us. I can also confirm that the driver involved in the incident is no longer an employee of First Eastern Counties.”
Mr Barrington previously told the Peterborough Telegraph that the driver had declined to put up the ramp for him to get onto the bus as she had “a bad back”, meaning his wife Katarzyna Barrington had to lift him on.
He said he was then speaking to his wife about problems he had had with First Bus services before, including non-disabled passengers taking the wheelchair space, when the bus driver allegedly began to shout at him, leading to a heated exchange between the pair which can be heard on the video.
Mr Barrington continued: “She said if I continue slagging her off she was going to stop at the next stop and I would need to get out.
“I said I was having a private conversation with my wife and wasn’t speaking about her, so what are we doing wrong?
“But I said ‘if you think I have done something wrong by talking, you come and take me off the bus’.
“She said ‘I don’t understand foreign languages, I only understand English’.”
Asked for his thoughts on the result of the investigation, Mr Barrington told the PT he was sad that the driver had lost their job but that First Eastern Counties would have been correct to take action.
He also questioned whether staff were receiving the right training after he claimed he had written to the company regarding a similar incident back in 2017.
He said: “I’m very pleased with the way they’ve looked into this. I don’t expect to leave my home and be humiliated because I’m disabled and black.
“I’m happy that I spoke out about it.
“I hope the situation changes and people like myself are treated with more respect.
“People have said to me they were afraid to come forward but are happy I said something. Some have said they will follow my lead because they have suffered as well in their lives.”