Great-grandfather walks home after bus pass refused

Padiham pensioner Kevin Cheetham (79)
Padiham pensioner Kevin Cheetham (79)

A great-grandfather had to walk four miles home at night from Burnley to Padiham because a bus driver said it was too late to use his bus pass.

Retired miner Mr Kevin Cheetham (79) who has a heart condition, had been to visit friends at the Burnley Miners’ Club last Friday night when he was refused entry on the bus at Burnley Bus Station.

Mr Cheetham, who is also a former soldier and amateur boxer, was told by the driver his old age bus pass was not valid because it was after 11pm.

But because Mr Cheetham did not have enough money for the fare, he had to walk all the way to his home in Gawthorpe Street, Padiham.

He said: “I was shocked and absolutely disgusted when the driver said I wouldn’t be able to use my pass.

“I had been out to see a few friends at the Miners’ Club and went to get the bus home from the station.

“I eventually got on the bus and put my pass on the machine as usual. The driver then said it was too late which was a bit rich as I had been waiting about 20 minutes for the bus.

“I only had a few coins on me and not enough to even get halfway so I decided to walk home. I think he could have been a bit more understanding, especially as it was night-time.”

A spokesman for bus company Transdev said it had carried out an investigation and studied CCTV from buses and the bus station at the time, which suggested no-one had been turned away.

In general terms the English National Concessionary Travel scheme is available from 9-30am to 11pm from Monday to Friday and all day at weekend or on Bank Holidays.

During these times, eligible older people can travel free of charge on local buses.

In Burnley the scheme is administered by Lancashire County Council and bus operators get partial reimbursement of just over half the full adult fare for the journey taken by the pass holder.

The ticket manual states: “Where any passenger liable to pay the standard fare does not have on his person sufficient money to do so he or she shall on being required to do so by the driver or any other official of the company give his or her name and address to that person and produce such identification as may be required to verify the name and address given as his true address.”