Tiarnah Fahey of Gagebrook was thrown off a Metro bus at 8.24am yesterday because her free school bus pass or Greencard didn’t work, The Mercury reports.
Her family says the female bus driver told the prep student that she had to walk to school up a hill and across busy double lanes of the East Derwent Highway until she could get her Greencard working.
Her quick-thinking sister Chloe, 13, jumped off the bus to save Tiarnah from being abandoned alone to walk to school. The bus then drove off, leaving the girl in tears.
The incident left Tiarnah’s mum, Jane Watts, furious.
Ms Watts said Greencards were provided to all her eight children as part of the Government’s free school bus travel policy for social-welfare recipients and that Tiarnah’s card being out of action had nothing to do with her, or the family’s, finances. She said it must have been malfunctioning when placed on the bus-pass validation machine.
“How could anybody, let alone a bus driver who has a duty of care towards these school kids, abandon a little four-year-old by the road and expect her to walk 20 minutes to school?” Ms Watts said. “I’m angry, really angry. She’s only four and all she wants to do is to go to school.” Tiarnah finally arrived at Herdsmans Cove Primary with the help of Chloe, who then had to walk for another hour to Bridgewater High.
Ms Watts said she had immediately called the Government-owned Metro company, after talking about the incident with Tiarnah’s teachers. Metro chief executive Heather Haselgrove was not available for comment yesterday. However, the company has agreed to immediately send Tiarnah a new school bus pass. A public relations company hired by Metro confirmed the bus company had received a complaint from Ms Watts, which it was taking seriously.
“We are reviewing CCTV vision from the relevant bus and are investigating,” public relations executive Nicholas Turner said.