Stagecoach bus driver accused of ignoring Muslim commuters

first_imgA complaint has been made against the bus company Stagecoach Group regarding alleged incidents of Islamophobic discrimination along Cowley Road.According to a complaint made against Stagecoach Group Muslim commuters were ignored on two separate occasions by company bus drivers on the number 10 bus route. The complaint was submitted to ‘Tell MAMA’ (Measuring Anti Muslim Attacks), a project that records anti-Muslim abuse in the UK.On the first occasion, the complainant stated, a couple who “were obviously Muslim… tried to flag the bus down but the driver despite seeing them completely ignored them and continued to drive on.” In the second instance, a bus driver “deliberately chose to drive on” after “being flagged down by a group of people, one of whom was clearly wearing a Hijab and clearly identifiable as a Muslim.”In a written response to the complainant, a Stagecoach employee apologised for the incidents, saying, “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.”Further assurances were also made, including a formal interview with the driver and an investigation “in line with the Company’s disciplinary procedure.”In a statement to Cherwell, a spokeswoman for Stagecoach Group said, “We would be very disappointed to hear of any situation where a driver is found not to have stopped for passengers waiting at a bus stop. We have investigated the matter fully, including viewing CCTV and speaking to the driver involved.“There was one occasion on which a customer remained inside the bus shelter as the vehicle passed the stop and did not appear to clearly indicate a desire to board that particular bus. There were a number of other buses in the area at the time. In addition, we have not found any evidence to suggest that the driver’s behaviour on this occasion was racially motivated.“The welfare of our customers is of the utmost importance to us and we are very clear that anyone employed by Stagecoach should treat both customers and colleagues fairly and with respect and that we will not tolerate discrimination of any kind.”According to Tell MAMA, transport is one area where victims of anti-Muslim abuse “consistently raise concerns.” The organisation was founded in February 2012 to record physical, verbal, written and online attacks against Muslims and provide support to the victims. In 2014-2015, 548 verified incidents were reported.Kiran Benipal, Co-Chair of OUSU’s Campaign for Racial Awareness and Equality (CRAE), told Cherwell of her “horror and disgust” at the alleged incident, stating that “the racial tension which it highlights is particularly poignant at this time of the year – Ramadan.”“Incidents such as this one and those similar have become all too commonplace, and are too rarely logged. Instead, they have become anecdotes for Oxford BME residents and students to share and momentarily reflect on, before they return to the reality of Oxford life as a ‘racial minority.’”last_img read more