A Birmingham mother has claimed she was marched off a National Express West Midlands bus, despite having proof of fare payment for the service.

Inderjit Kaur has written of her “humiliating” and “embarrassing” experience after allegedly being told to leave the bus she was travelling on, even after presenting her proof of payment for the new contactless payment facility to the conductor on board.

In a post on Twitter, she recalls, “The most humiliating and embarrassing experience on NX West Midlands bus today. I used contactless to pay for my ticket as I do every day, I’ve totally transformed my travel habits, using bus, train, bike each day rather than car.

“Today, an inspector came up to me, said I hadn’t, even though I had proof of payment on my phone… It didn’t come up on the inspector’s system, so he told me in front of whole bus to get up and leave the bus; and then even though I had proof, proceeded to embarrass me in front of everyone [at the] bus stop.”

Kaur, who has been using public transport to reduce her carbon footprint, also shared a photo of her proof of payment to her Twitter followers.

Public transport user Inderjit Kaur shared a photo of the proof of contactless payment she presented to the conductor before being removed from the bus she was travelling onInderjit Kaur / Twitter
Public transport user Inderjit Kaur shared a photo of the proof of contactless payment she presented to the conductor before being removed from the bus she was travelling on

She continued: “The problem was with his system, but he treated me like the dirt of his shoe. I explained I had paid, that I was on the way to get my son from school and needed to get there, and had paid. It all made no difference. I stood at the bus stop in tears feeling utterly humiliated.”

“All this on #CleanAirDay, where they are trying to persuade more people to travel by bus. How, on earth is this okay, welcoming or showing you can have a nice commute on the bus; or even remotely fair? What shall I do? This is NOT OK treatment of customers @nxwestmidlands!”

“I have really been trying to change my habits too and this makes me utterly dismayed with whole thing. A reminder once again I HAD PAID THE MEASLY £2.40 @nxwestmidlands, you had no right to humiliate me, leave me in tears and remove me from bus whilst I was on the way to school run.”

According to Ms Kaur, the incident took place on the Number 24 bus going towards Harbourne at around 4.10pm yesterday afternoon (Thursday 21 June); but she was removed from the vehicle outside Harbourne Academy, well before her intended stop.

Oddly, Natonal Express West Midlands had rolled out a special free Day Saver bus pass yesterday to coincide with Clean Air Day, which was being offered to encourage more people to use public transport instead of their cars, helping to reduce vehicle emissions. This would’ve meant that Inderjit could’ve travelled for free regardless.

“It was terribly embarrassing at the time and was just shocked at the whole situation. The irony of it all is that I could have travelled for free all day on the bus as it’s #CleanAirDay2018, but I chose to pay £2.40.”

Responding to Inderjit on the social media platform, a spokesperson for National Express stated:

“I am very sorry to hear of your experience yesterday. Can you please send us your contact number in a private message and I​ will ask our team to call you about this to discuss in more detail.”

Several Twitter users were outraged by the events described by Inderjit Kaur, with many questioning National Express’ new contactless payment service and the ability to verify payment:

National Express West Midlands recently launched contactless card payments on their buses in the region. The company’s website describes the payment method “as easy as 1, 2, 3”.

Information on the site explaining how bus inspectors would know a passenger has paid states:

“When our inspectors do a ticket check they will ask you for the last 4 digits of your card number or your device card number which will be checked against a list printed from the bus you are on.”

Earlier this month, it was announced that a Birmingham bus driver has beaten off competition from 47,000 employees from across the National Express Group, including colleagues from across the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Bahrain, Spain, Morocco and North America, to win the National Express Group Customer Value Award.

At the time of writing, National Express had not made a public statement about the incident.

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