Schoolboy, 12, told to 'iron your ticket' and kicked off bus by irate driver

Freddie MacFarlane had been at a friend's house when he left to make his trip home, but it was only an hour after mum Andrea expected him to be home that he finally turned up - having been booted off the bus
A 12-year-old schoolboy was kicked off a bus after a driver refused to accept his crumpled ticket.

Freddie MacFarlane was on his way home on the evening of Thursday 27 April, when he tried to board the 31 bus from East Craigs to Edinburgh city centre around 8pm. But mum Andrea had expected Freddie to be home by 8.30pm and grew concerned when he wasn’t.

She tried to call him, but his phone’s battery had died and it was only an hour after he should’ve got back that Freddie finally made it home.

The youngster explained that he had been denied entry because of his “too crumpled” bus ticket - a valid day ticket - and the driver told him to “give it an iron”.

As a result Freddie had to walk the entire way back as it grew dark.

Now an investigation into the alleged incident is underway.
Speaking to Edinburgh Live about the ordeal, Andrea said: "He was at a friend's house and was at one of the stops in East Craigs between 8.15pm and 8.30pm. He didn't get home until nearly 9.30pm so I started to get worried that something had happened to him.

"His phone had run out of battery but he was supposed to be home around 8.30pm. When he got home I wondered where he had been but he said he wasn't allowed on the bus as his ticket was too crumpled.

"I said show me the ticket and you can see it is crumpled but it is still easily readable. I then started to question him and asked if he was other kids or if they were mucking about but he said he was by himself.

"He said the driver told him to go home and give it an iron then you can get on the bus.

"I know kids muck about but they should still let them on. He was totally by himself and I even thought he may have just said that as he was late but the fact he said what the driver said about ironing the ticket Freddie would never have thought to use an excuse."

Andrea said her son does usually use a free bus travel card but he lost it recently so was given money for a day ticket until his new card arrives.

Whilst she trusted her son to be sensible, she said some bus drivers used their position as a “power trip”.

She continued: "I made a complaint on the Lothian Buses website as it's not the first time this has happened. I think the way they act towards children is a power trip and they would never say that kind of thing to an adult.

"If I had a ticket like that no bus driver would say that to me. The bus wasn't even busy and it terminates at East Craigs so that can't be used as an excuse. On another occasion a driver wouldn't let him on when he was with a friend, he just shook his head and kept going.

"They don't even look like teenagers, they just look like young boys. My younger son goes out with a hoodie on so I thought it could be due to that and what drivers may initially think but my older kids who go to a private school and have uniform on have witnessed similar incidents."

After posting about the incident in a local Facebook group, SNP councillor Euan Hyslop commented saying he would also chase the incident with Lothian Buses after being shocked at the driver's response.

Speaking further on the issue, Euan said: "I was shocked reading reports from a local resident that her 12-year-old son was turned away from the bus due to a crumpled ticket. I have since asked Lothian Buses to investigate the incident and to clarify the specific policy on the validity of tickets.

"Lothian Group and their staff provide communities across Edinburgh with a valued public service, but if this account of events is accurate it's a failure to safeguard the wellbeing of a potentially vulnerable young person.

"The parent who voiced their anger on social media has every right to be upset, and it is important that Lothian look into the incident to prevent this type of situation occurring in the future."

A spokesperson for Lothian Buses said: "Lothian is committed to the safety and wellbeing of our people and our customers. We are in the process of conducting an investigation into the alleged incident and are in direct contact with the family involved."

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