OAP (92) left out in the cold after bus pass row

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A 92-year-old World War II veteran has hit out at a county bus company after she was forced to walk a mile into Spalding when her bus pass was not accepted.

Thelma Branch, of Bourne Road, said she was “insulted” by a driver for Boston-based Brylaine Travel who refused to let her travel on the F42 Spalding town service on Thursday, despite her bus pass being valid until October 2015.

Mrs Branch was unwilling to pay the £1.45 fare and ended up walking into town, taking a taxi home afterwards with her shopping.

She said: “I had to go into town on Thursday to do some shopping because I was due in hospital on Monday for an eye operation.

“I walked in the freezing cold from my home to the bus stop outside The Plough pub and the bus came at about 10.40am .

“But when I got on the bus and showed the driver my pass, she said it was invalid and wouldn’t let me stay on the bus.

“I was disgusted because it’s only about a mile from The Plough to town, so I couldn’t believe that anyone could behave like that.

“I’ve never been so insulted in my life.”

Mrs Branch, who served with the Royal Signals during World War II, said she had never experienced any problems using her bus pass before and was angered when told to pay up.

“The driver wouldn’t let me on unless I paid and I wasn’t going to,” Mrs Branch said.

“I was so angry because she should have used her initiative and said ‘it’s just a mile into town so I’ll let you on.” Why did the driver have to be so dreadful about it when I’ve lived in Spalding for 33 years?”

Her son, Ian Branch (66) has taken the complaint to John Hayes, MP for South Holland and The Deepings, after an unsatisfactory conversation with Brylaine.

In a letter to Mr Hayes, Mr Branch of Biggin Hill, Kent, said: “I spoke to the bus operator and their only reply was that the bus driver was correct in what she did and that if my mother didn’t have the correct pass, she was within her rights to refuse travel.

“I would have thought that even under the most basic duty of care laws, a 92-year-old woman should not have been left in the freezing cold.”

A Brylaine spokesman said: “According to our driver, the pass was obsolete, although not necessarily out of date.”