Bus driver suspended after ‘refusing to drive double-decker with gay pride colours’

A BUS driver who allegedly refused to drive a double-decker adorned with gay pride rainbow colours “because it promoted homosexuality” has been suspended from his job.

The man, described as aged in his 50s, was apparently so offended by the vehicle that he demanded to swap buses, so he could drive one which didn’t feature shades of the gay pride rainbow flag.

Konectbus passenger Rebecca Sears, 19, said the incident occurred while she was waiting at Norwich Bus Station last Friday for the 501 park and ride service.

She explained: “He said we have to wait a minute; he said ‘I am not driving this bus because it promotes homosexuality’.

“I was standing with two other women and we kind of thought he was joking, in a weird way. Like we were just thinking is it really that big of a deal?”

Norwich town celebrated a Pride event on July 27, days before the incident.

Rebecca claims the bus driver was referring to the vehicle’s service number which featured the colours of the gay pride rainbow flag.

She said of his vehicle swapping demand: “I thought it was all just quite bad, it made us 10 minutes late.”

While the driver went to change buses, the teen decided to report the incident to the bus station’s front desk.

She added: “I said to them that he had gone to swap buses and that it is ridiculous.

“You are stopping people from getting home for such a ridiculous reason. It is really bad.”

Go East Anglia, which runs the Konectbus service, said the driver involved has since been suspended, and that an investigation was underway.

Rebecca noticed that while she was speaking to bus officials, the driver had managed to swap buses and was letting passengers board.

She was concerned that his comments might have offended someone who is gay.

Rebecca said: “He didn’t know if I was gay or the other two women I was with. He just out right said it.”

Rebecca, a sixth form student, shared a picture of the driver along with a post on Twitter which read: “Today I was waiting for the 501 bus to Thickthorn and we were told by the driver we had to wait for him to swap buses as ‘this bus promotes homosexuality and I refuse to drive it’ due to the multicoloured “501” sign.

“Norwich doesn’t appreciate homophobia.

“I complained to the staff at the station and they were already aware of who I was talking about, so why has nothing been done?

“I’m aware everyone is entitled to their own views however, if you can’t do your job properly because of your bigotry, maybe you need rethink your choices.

“Please call out a system that allows homophobes and bigots to get away with things like this, it’s 2019 people need to grow up and be more accepting.”

Konectbus replied to her tweet, saying: “Many thanks for getting in touch about this incident.

“Our management team has been made aware and it is being taken very seriously.

“We find this attitude, behaviour and level of customer service completely unacceptable.

“As a company we do not condone any behaviour from our drivers that does not support this view.

“The driver involved in this incident has been suspended and a full investigation is underway.”

A spokesperson for Go East Anglia added: “We particularly want all customers of whatever background or sexual orientation to feel comfortable on our services.

“As a company we do not condone any behaviour from our drivers that does not support this view.

“The driver involved in this incident has been suspended and a full investigation is underway.”