A PASSENGER got the brush off when she tried to board a bus with a can of paint.
Annie Elliott was astounded to be told she couldn’t get on the vehicle because the paint was a fire risk – even though it was water-based emulsion.
She was told by one bus driver at Weymouth bus station she could not get on and by another that she could. Ms Elliott said that there should be one rule for everyone to avoid confusion.
Ms Elliott, 56, from Westham, bought an all-day ticket for £2.70 and went into town on Tuesday afternoon to buy some magnolia masonry paint to redecorate a wall in her garden.
She said: “I had a return ticket and went to get on the bus and the bus driver said that I couldn’t get on with the paint because it was flammable.
“I said that I was sure I had got on a bus with paint before. He said he couldn’t let me on as it might cause a spillage.
“I didn’t have my mobile with me and I only had my bus ticket. Luckily I bumped into a friend and borrowed her mobile to call my daughter to come and pick me up.
“I’m not very happy about it. One driver said I couldn’t come on and the other who was there said I could’ve.
“There should be one rule for everyone. It’s stupid.”
Ms Elliott said that she had gone to speak to the First office to discuss a refund but had been told to contact customer services – and was disappointed with the service she had received.
She said: “I know they have to have a procedure to stop spillages and certain items can’t be taken on but I think it’s a bit pathetic.
“What if it had been an elderly lady and they had been stuck there with a few miles to get home? It’s a bit silly.”
Ms Elliott said she wanted to highlight the issue so that other bus users wouldn’t have the same difficulties.
A spokesman for First Bus said that carrying non-flammable materials like paint and other liquids and chemicals on buses was allowed as long as they were in sealed containers and kept secure.
They said that the decision to let someone on was at the discretion of the bus driver.
The spokesman said: “We would like to apologise to Ms Elliot.
“While there are restrictions over the carriage of flammable liquids on our buses she should have been allowed to board with a tin of water-based paint, provided it was unopened and carried in a safe and secure way.
“If she contacts our customer service team, presenting the ticket she bought, we will arrange for a refund.”
A new First Bus website is planned for later this month which will highlight what can and cannot be taken on buses.
For more information call First Bus on 0870 0106022 or visit www.firstgroup.com/dorset
Not the first time
• A pensioner in Wales was also thrown off a bus for carrying a tin of paint.
Brian Heale, 73, was told the cream emulsion broke new health and safety rules on the No9 bus in Cardiff.
Brian was left stranded because he was not able to carry the tin home. He took shelter in a cafe where the owner gave him a lift.
• A bus firm serving rural areas surrounding Tamworth and Lichfield caused outrage after they refused to allow passengers on their buses with their pets.
Hearltands Bus banned pets, meaning villagers without their own cars have to pay £20 plus in taxi fares when their pets needed to be taken to the vets.
• A teenager who suffers from cerebral palsy was left distraught when a bus driver refused to allow her power wheelchair on board.
The driver told her she couldn’t bring her power wheelchair on board because it was too heavy and that she had to get a manual wheelchair instead.
Bosses at First Bus later issued an apology to 16-year-old Melissa Rowbotham after she was stranded at the bus stop in Bury, and the driver responsible has undergone retraining.