Bus driver suspended for refusing to drive bus with rainbow number

Damien Gayle
Photograph: Steve Allen/Getty Images

A bus driver in Norwich has been suspended after refusing to drive a bus decorated with a rainbow-coloured number in celebration of gay pride.

Passengers were left waiting after the driver allegedly told them they had to wait for him to swap buses because “this bus promotes homosexuality and I refuse to drive it”, according to a passenger.

The driver has been suspended from work while he is investigated, the company involved said.

According to Rebecca Sears, 19, a college student, the incident occurred at Norwich bus station last week. The city had recently celebrated a pride event and Konectbus buses in the city were displaying their numbers in rainbow colours.

Alongside a picture of the driver, she wrote on Twitter: “Today I was waiting for the 501 bus to Thickthorn and we were told by the driver we had to wait for him to swap buses as ‘this bus promotes homosexuality and I refuse to drive it’ due to the multicoloured ‘501’ sign.”

She wrote: “Norwich doesn’t appreciate homophobia,” adding: “I’m aware everyone is entitled to their own views. However, if you can’t do your job properly because of your bigotry, maybe you need [to] rethink your choices.”

Sears said she complained to staff at the terminus, who told her they were aware of what had happened.

Go East Anglia, Konectbus’s parent company, said on Wednesday: “Go East Anglia prides itself on values that support diversity and inclusion and has been a champion of Norwich Pride since 2017. We particularly want all customers of whatever background or sexual orientation to feel comfortable on our services.

“As a company we do not condone any behaviour from our drivers that does not support this view. The driver involved in this incident has been suspended and a full investigation is under way.”