South Shields dad caught up in Metro chaos thanks kind-hearted bus driver
A father who was left stranded in Gateshead with his two-year-old daughter due to Sunday's Metro chaos says he can't thank enough the kind-hearted bus driver who came to his aid.
Steven Lunt had been in the town with daughter Blossom to see the Paw Patrol movie.
The pair had been due to travel to Gateshead by Metro but, after finding the service was not running, he booked a taxi from the station, believing the trains would be back on by the time they were due to come home.
But when they arrived at the station in Gateshead at 3pm, they were told trains were still not running and there was no replacement bus service.
The 44-year-old, from Fairles Street, South Shields, was handed a number to call, but says he was told he would need to make his own travel arrangements - despite having no money.
He said: “We got to the station at 9am to find the Metros weren’t running. I was told they’d be back on for 10am when I inquired.
“I thought OK, things like this happen so I got a taxi to the cinema.
“We came out after the film, had something to eat then headed for the Metro not even thinking the trains wouldn’t be on.
“When we got there, there were no trains. I wasn’t angry, I just went looking for the replacement bus service only to be told there wasn’t any.
“I asked what buses would accept our tickets and was told none and given a number to call.
“I rang them, I had no money as we already had our prepaid cards. But the person I spoke to put the phone down on me twice when I was asking how do we get home?
“My daughter was tired and starting to get hysterical. No one seemed to want to help us.
“I understand problems happen, that wasn’t what I was angry about, it was the poor attitude of the customer service.”
Mr Lunt said with no money and a screaming child in distress, he tried his luck on the bus, only to come across a kind-hearted driver who allowed him and his daughter to travel.
He added: “I don’t want to get the driver in trouble for letting us travel for free, but I really don’t know what we would have done without his kindness and empathy.”
A spokesperson from Stagecoach North East said: “We are glad to have been able to help on this occasion.
A Nexus spokesman said: “We’re sorry for the inconvenience the major disruption caused to our customers on Sunday.
“It is not practical for us to call in replacement buses when the entire Metro system gets so unexpectedly shut down.
“Calling in that many buses to cover all five districts of Tyne and Wear, across 60 Metro stations was not possible at such short notice.
“Customers were advised to use the local scheduled bus network during the disruption.
“Anyone who purchased a Metro ticket can claim a refund.”