Pensioner with cancer ‘ignored’ by bus driver

Pensioner Jim Richardson is annoyed with Arriva.'Picture by Jane Coltman
Pensioner Jim Richardson is annoyed with Arriva.'Picture by Jane Coltman

A 73-year-old man with cancer was forced to walk two-and-a-half hours after a bus driver allegedly refused to stop for him in a remote location.

‘Disgusted and panic-stricken’ James Richardson claims the culprit shrugged his shoulders as he drove past, deliberately carrying on without stopping.

The incident happened on Sunday morning at a temporary stop in Waren Mill – between Belford and Bamburgh – while he was waiting for Arriva North East’s X18 service.

As the next bus was not for another four hours, stranded Mr Richardson, who has severe prostate cancer, says he had no choice but to walk.

Mr Richardson has written to Arriva to complain. The company has apologised and launched an inquiry.

Mr Richardson said: “I went for a walk from my caravan at Adderstone. I was feeling tired so I waited at Waren Mill for the X18 bus to take me to Alnwick, to pick up my car from my wife who was at work.

“I was there at about 10.30am waiting in the main road at a temporary bus stop, with no signs and only a plastic timetable hanging upside down attached to a temporary metal fence. I walked about 200 yards to a more safe area and waited.

“The bus arrived 30 minutes behind schedule. I held out my arm with bus pass in hand. The driver saw me, shrugged his shoulders and deliberately continued without stopping, knowing that the next bus was four hours away.

“I was disgusted and panic-stricken. I had to walk along the main road with hundreds of cars flashing past. I walked to Seahouses, where some of my relatives live, and it took me two-and-a-half hours.”

Nick Knox, area managing director at Arriva North East, said: “I apologise for any distress and inconvenience this incident may have caused.

“We have launched an internal investigation to understand what happened and will make contact with the customer once our investigation is complete.”