NEWS
11/16/2011 08:04 EST | Updated 01/16/2012 05:12 EST

OC Transpo Apologizes After Driver Abandons Bus

OC Transpo

Ottawa's transit provider is looking into a reported incident in which a driver left a bus full of passengers and walked off the job after a dispute with a customer.

Henry McCambridge, who lives at a seniors' residence on Montfort Street, said the Monday dispute began when he boarded the No. 5 bus, which he said was 40 minutes late.

When he pointed this out to the driver, McCambridge said the driver told him he would not be talking to him. McCambridge then started talking to the other passengers and told them to complain to their local councillor.

He said the driver then got out of the bus while it was still running, telling the passengers to get on the next bus.

About five minutes later the passengers realized the driver was not coming back, McCambridge said. Four passengers had to help a person in a wheelchair get off the bus, he said.

A supervisor arrived about 10 minutes later, and then the driver returned. After a discussion on the bus, the driver left on the empty bus by himself, said McCambridge. He said the supervisor told him the driver had been relieved of his duties.

OC Transpo said its customer relations people have contacted "the customer regarding his experience."

"We apologize to all customers who were on the bus when this incident happened," the transit authority said in a statement.

"We appreciate when customers contact us directly on their service experience and OC Customer Service will communicate with the customer to better respond to their needs."

The incident occurred on the same day another OC Transpo driver was fired after video of him swearing and threatening a passenger was posted on YouTube last week.

McCambridge told CBC News Tuesday night there was no excuse for the bus driver's decision.

"I understand bus drivers are stressed out. But he abandoned us, and that's inexcusable," he said.