A WHITBY stalwart who received an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s honours has said she is “absolutely disgusted” at how a local bus company is treating residents.
Benson Stage Academy director Barbara Benson-Smith said that she was left stranded with a group of other bus users when the last Arriva 93 service of the day failed to show up on 15 Feb.
Mrs Benson said: “It isn’t often I complain, I’m usually ringing up people to congratulate them but in this case I think it’s a disgrace to the general public.
“Having done my duty at St Catherine’s Hospice in Scarborough I catch the 7.40pm bus home every Wednesday but we were all standing there at the bus stop and nothing happened.”
The previous week the bus had been 15 minutes late due to roadworks, so they continued to wait, but no bus appeared.
“It got past 8pm so I got a taxi which cost £28 – I had to get home.
“One chap had to walk to Cloughton, while another lady walked to Burniston.
“They left an 81-year-old stood by the road.”
When Mrs Benson contacted Arriva she was told that the company would not refund her taxi fare.
She said: “I got a phone call from a lady who told me they were not going to reimburse me and I said: ‘there was no last bus, I’m 81 years old, you’re supposed to provide a service.
“‘You have a timetable but you’re not standing up to your commitments’.”
This was the final straw for Mrs Benson, who said there are a catalogue of failings by Arriva over recent months.
In January this year, she said that she was a passenger on a bus that was at the junction in Hawsker when it hit a rockery, leading the passengers to be showered with glass.
She also added that she has twice had to walk up the bank heading out of Robin Hood’s Bay when buses failed to appear.
“The general public of Whitby are utterly sick of this service,” she added.
“This is despicable and a matter of principle.”
After Mrs Benson got in contact with the Gazette, we contacted Arriva, who said they were looking into the matter.