One of the areas where victims consistently raise concerns about is around public transport and over the last 3/4 months, we have had a number of cases that have come in where individuals have reported in anti-Muslim hate incidents on buses, trains, the underground and on public tram services.
Today’s example highlights an area where the perception of anti-Muslim hate can be strengthened. The response back from Stagecoach is to be commended and their honesty and transparency too. We will list their response later in this letter.
The text from the complainant highlights the Stagecoach Number 10 bus service which travels through Oxford and along the Cowley Road which is a diverse area within the city with a high population of British Muslims of Pakistani heritage. The complainant states:
“I was walking along Cowley Road when I witnessed a couple stood at the Plain bus stop opposite the Music shop, the couple incidentally were obviously Muslim and were waiting for a bus. Upon arrival the couple tried to flag the bus down but the driver despite seeing them completely ignored them and continued to drive on.
I was with a friend and we noted the number at the back of the bus which was 22768. This wasn’t a random event earlier in the day I witnessed the same number 10 stagecoach bus this time at The Slade being flagged down by a group of people, one of whom was clearly wearing a Hijab and clearly identifiable as a Muslim. The direction of the bus was towards Headington, and even here the bus driver ignored the passenger along with a couple
of others and deliberately chose to drive on. Unfortunately I was unable to get the number of the bus and in relation to timings this happened before midday.
This was a mere coincidence that I was able to witness these two very similar events and would like to see this looked into.
I have also copied the council as I feel that these type of events (there may be many more) are clearly in breach of equality laws and companies like stagecoach need to be held account for such discriminatory practices.
I hope that this is the last time I witness such incidents and that both the council and stagecoach work towards not only holding the driver to account for their behaviour but put in place preventative measures to ensure that this is not repeated again.
The response of the Stagecoach is also listed, confirming that they are baffled as to why the driver did not stop:
“22 June 2015
Dear Mr Akbar
I have been forwarded the details of your correspondence to our offices regarding the 10 service on Saturday 13 June. I regret that you have had cause to complain about the conduct of one of our drivers.
From the information you provided, the CCTV from the vehicle has been downloaded. Having viewed the footage, I can see the situations you described. I am at a loss to explain why the driver did not stop.
I completely understand how these incidents have been interpreted. I give you my assurances that matters of this nature are treated very seriously. We are an equal opportunities employer who ensures that all customers, employees or job applicants are treated fairly and equally.
I have made arrangements to formally interview the driver. He will be reminded of his responsibilities as a professional driver. We will discuss how he should keep a watchful eye out for intending passengers and stop where all passengers signal for the vehicle. We will review his conduct in line with the Company’s equal opportunities policy. It will be made clear to him that any unfair conduct will not be tolerated. This matter will be dealt with in the appropriate manner in line with the Company’s disciplinary procedure.
Once again, I apologise for the incidences. I trust that you are satisfied the matter is being dealt with appropriately.
Stagecoach in Oxfordshire