Bus alarm on Norwich to Acle route causes panic and confusion

First Bus

First Bus - Credit: Archant

The mother of a teenager says he was left terrified by a warning that the bus he was on was under attack – and there was no reassurance given to the passengers by the driver.

The incident happened on the X1 service between Norwich and Acle when the driver accidentally triggered the alarm.

Deborah McConnell's son Ben, 14, was one of the passengers left scared and confused by what was happening.

'The alarm went off, saying the bus was under attack, and the bus powered down and the lights went off,' said Miss McConnell, from Acle.

'It was pitch black at that time of the day. Children were crying and some people called 999, but there was no explanation from the driver.

'Even when the bus eventually got moving again, there was no explanation or reassurance, even though the passengers were scared and had no idea what was happening.

'My son was still shaken up when he got home.'

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The incident happened at about 5.15pm last Saturday.

First Eastern Counties, which operates the X1 service, said that in such cases, the bus driver would be expected to speak to the passengers and reassure them there was nothing to be worried about.

'The matter was brought to our attention by a customer who was travelling on our X1 service out of Norwich bus station on Saturday afternoon, when one of our drivers accidentally activated a panic alarm on the bus,' said Steve Wickers, business director for First.

'Obviously, as the alarm is quite loud, we can appreciate that people travelling on the bus would be concerned that their welfare and that of the driver may have been at risk, but we are pleased to confirm that this was not the case.'

He added: 'Our driver proceeded out of the city centre before pulling over safely and deactivating the alarm.

'Safety is paramount in everything we do at First Eastern Counties, as is the care and wellbeing of our valued staff and customers. Therefore, all of our buses are fitted with alarm systems to deter any threat of criminal activity.

'We would like to thank all persons on board for their vigilance and care whilst travelling on the bus and we apologise for any undue concern experienced with the incident.'