Police called after free bus pass row in Sheffield

Brian Wall with daughter Phoebe,11, who had her bus pass confiscated by the driver who said it was a fake and leaving her to face a five-mile walk  home
Brian Wall with daughter Phoebe,11, who had her bus pass confiscated by the driver who said it was a fake and leaving her to face a five-mile walk home
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Police were called after a bus driver came under a hail of abuse from pupils for confiscating an 11-year-old Sheffield girl’s free pass.

Officers were called to the scene outside King Ecgbert School in Dore to deal with what the driver reported as ‘an escalating situation’.

Bus operator First has launched an investigation into the incident - which will include scrutiny of CCTV footage from the vehicle.

Problems began when the driver took Phoebe Wall’s zero fare pass away from her, claiming it was in ‘poor condition’.

Phoebe was unable to board the 98 bus as she did not have enough money for the fare - and played no part in the pupils’ protest.

She was forced to wait at the stop until her elder sister Faye arrived with cash. She subsequently arrived home in tears more than two hours late.

Her father Brian said Phoebe has a pass because the family live more than three miles away from the school on Chippinghouse Road, Abbeydale.

“She has been using the pass with no trouble since last September,” he said. “There was nothing wrong with the pass. Phoebe kept it in a plastic wallet she got from the council.

“But the driver took one look at it and claimed it was a forgery.

“She was faced with walking home and it was throwing it down with rain.

“After she was forced to get off the bus the other kids started to scream at the driver. They thought it wasn’t fair. I heard the police had to deal with the situation, but Phoebe had left by then and was nowhere near.”

Mr Wall added Phoebe is still without a pass and having to pay 70p fares each way to get to school.

A spokesman for First said: “Our initial findings are that our driver withdrew this young person’s pass because it was in poor condition.

“Unfortunately our driver became the centre of abuse from a number of young people and he had to summon police to deal with the escalating situation.

“We have spoken with Mr Wall and we are investigating the incident which will include examining CCTV footage,” he added.

Many King Ecgbert pupils qualify for zero bus passes as they travel to the school from along the Abbeydale Road corridor, stretching towards the city centre.