Mum's anger after autistic son has bus pass confiscated

A 19-year-old who has autism and social anxiety was left upset after a Go North East bus driver confiscated his card.

Friday, 15th November 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 15th November 2019, 10:07 am

On Friday, November 8 at around 3pm, Niall Myers was leaving his college in Gateshead and got on board the X1 bus to Shiney Row – his usual route.

He has a concessionary pass for his disability and when he went to use the pass for his free journey home, the bus driver confiscated it saying his photo wasn’t clear enough.

His mum, Kelly Myers said: “He wouldn’t let him on and he didn’t have any money. He rang me in floods of tears because of his social anxiety.

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Kelly Myers is having to pay full price for her son's travel until his new pass arrives.

“They could’ve given him a warning but they just took it off him. He is vulnerable and that’s what makes me angry.

“Sometimes he forgets to charge his phone and if he hadn’t, he wouldn’t have been able to call me for help.”

Niall now has to wait up to four weeks for a new concession card with a new photo. Until then, Kelly is paying full price for his travel.

Kelly is concerned that he is missing out on his free time.

Niall Myers has a paid week bus pass while waiting for his new concessionary pass.

She said: “He likes skateboarding with his friends but he can’t even do that at the moment without his card. It is affecting his mental health.

Free travel was arranged on another bus home but Kelly believes more consideration should be made for those with disabilities that aren’t visible.

Stephen King, commercial director at Go North East said "Our driver has withdrawn this ticket as it was severely damaged to the point that it was not possible to check that the person using the ticket to travel free, was the person to whom the card has been issued to.

“In this situation, to prevent free concessionary passes being used by those not entitled to them, it is common practise for the driver to withdraw the ticket in line with our agreements with local authorities, who issue and pay for these passes.

“In this instance, our driver worked with our bus station supervisor in Gateshead, to ensure that the customer could get home by arranging free travel on another bus back to his destination.”