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Anger after 11-year-old boy told to get off public bus

PUBLISHED: 11:51 20 September 2018 | UPDATED: 14:04 21 September 2018

James Pulford and his son Kai. Picture: SUPPLIED BY THE FAMILY

James Pulford and his son Kai. Picture: SUPPLIED BY THE FAMILY

Archant

The father of an 11-year-boy has described his anger at a Norfolk bus company after his son was left at the roadside on the way home from school.

Charles Sanders of Sanders Coaches. Photo: Karen BethellCharles Sanders of Sanders Coaches. Photo: Karen Bethell

But the owner of Sanders Coaches has defended the bus driver, saying Aylsham High School pupil Kai Pulford and two others were asked to get off the bus because they were “messing around” and causing a risk to safety.

Kai’s dad James Pulford, 39, said his son was asked to get off the bus a mile from his school on Tuesday, September 18.

Mr Pulford said: “For whatever reason the school bus didn’t arrive on time so Kai got on the public bus with other pupils.

“They got as far as Tesco in Aylsham, about a mile from the high school, and the driver stopped the bus and asked three pupils to get off and left them at the side of the road.”

A Sanders bus in North Walsham.
 Picture: ANTONY KELLYA Sanders bus in North Walsham. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Mr Pulford said he phoned Sanders Coaches at 4.45pm after a neighbour brought Kai home, and tried again the following morning, he had not been contacted by the bus firm’s owner, Charles Sanders.

Mr Pulford added: “My son was standing, but he wasn’t the only one and there were several others.

“[The driver] asked them to get off the bus at Tesco. He’s 11 years old - he did as he was told.”

Mr Pulford also said the driver let people waiting at the Tesco stop board the bus instead, and also allowed one pupil back on board, leaving his son and one other child stranded.

Kai Pulford. Picture: SUPPLIED BY THE FAMILYKai Pulford. Picture: SUPPLIED BY THE FAMILY

He added: “Luckily, he was spotted by the older daughter of our direct neighbour who phoned her mum. She drove all the way from Hevingham to pick him up.”

Mr Sanders said the bus was full when the pupils got on, meaning they had to stand in the aisle, and they were not behaving themselves.

He said: “Instead of standing sensibly they were messing around, so (the driver) asked them to get off and get the next bus. That was five minutes away and was going to the same stop they were going to.”

Mr Sanders said he had contacted the school, who said they were looking into the matter, and he told the bus driver he should call the police in the future when passengers were disrupting the journey.

He said: “We can’t have safety issues when we are conveying 50 people.”

But Mr Pulford said: “Nothing to me justifies asking an 11-year-old boy to get the off the bus and leaving him there.

“Their bus pass entitles them to the public bus. He was going to walk down the A140 where there’s no footpath.”

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