A student at the University of Warwick was allegedly assaulted by a bus driver for The Uni Express to Kasbah nightclub last Friday.
The victim appealed for witnesses of the assault on Facebook. When contacted by The Boar, he alleged that while he “did not become aggressive” during the exchange, the driver forced him off the bus and pushed him against a wall “while shouting threatening remarks” and swearing.
The student left the bus from campus at approximately 11pm on Friday night. He had arranged to meet other friends at Kasbah, but “did not know the procedure of buying a ticket”. Upon asking the ticket representative on the bus, he was told that “it was £10 for travel there and entrance”, and that only cash is accepted.
He retrieved the amount from a cash point, paid the driver and found a seat. Arriving at Kasbah shortly after, he “noticed the other students taking out tickets and forming a queue outside the club”, but he “did not remember being issued one in the first place”, which prompted him to approach the bus driver.
The driver, bald, in his 40s, with stubble and of “large build…like that of a bouncer”, told the student that he should have received a ticket.
When the student responded that there “must have been a mistake” and requested a ticket, the driver, known only as Lee, “was dismissive, telling (him) it wasn’t his problem and for (him) to get off”.
Speaking to The Boar, the student recounted: “I pursued the matter further, saying it wasn’t fair how I had paid £10 for nothing. I did not become aggressive but I did raise my voice slightly.
“He then opened the door from his booth and got out, standing very close to me. He started swearing at me, calling me a ‘twat’ and to get off the bus.
“I then said, ‘You’re a working professional and you’ve just called me a twat. That’s not right.’ He then pushed me with force, off of the bus.
He…got off the bus, following me and pushed me up against the wall while shouting threatening remarks
– Anonymous Warwick student
“I stumbled off, landing on the pavement. I did not pursue the driver further, or give any indication that I wanted to initiate a physical fight.
“He then got off the bus, following me and pushed me up against the wall while shouting threatening remarks. I was immediately in a state of shock, so walked over to a corner to catch my breath.”
The alleged victim was approached by Lily Wolff, a first-year English Literature and Theatre undergraduate, who was “equally…shocked” after witnessing the assault.
She saw the student “kindly (ask) for help” but the driver’s response was “aggressive and sarcastic”. Lee “did not listen” to the student “but instead came out from behind the wheel and pushed the boy off the bus and into the wall”, Lily told The Boar.
Seeing him “on his own next to the wall”, Lily asked if the victim “was alright and if she could help get (him) home”, using her student card to help him gain entry to Kasbah. Initially deciding to stay, he shortly changed his mind and headed home.
He contacted West Midlands Police first following the incident, then the owner of The Uni Express, who “explained how the drivers are not employees of the company and they hire them out”, and “was appalled, shocked and embarrassed that this happened on his service”.
“He apologised, offering me some compensation and asked me to send him a full description of what happened,” the student said.
The Uni Express did not immediately respond to The Boar‘s request for comment.
When asked how this experience has affected him, the student shared: “Unfortunately this has been a awful experience for me being new to Warwick.
“I do not believe it reflects the university or town however, this was just a horrible incident with an individual. I have had similar experiences in the past with men of authority surrounding nights out or clubs.”
He continued: “The issue with these scenarios is that the victims (i.e. me) have often drank alcohol, so it puts you in a vulnerable position. This can discredit somebody who actually did not act out of turn. It is easy to accuse somebody who had every right to complain about something that is not right that they were ‘drunk’ or ‘aggressive.’
When you find yourself in a situation like this…it is essential you remain calm and respectful…This gives them no excuse to treat you unfairly
– Anonymous Warwick student
“I am expecting the driver to defend himself with allegations such as this, should he have to. My behaviour was not aggressive, although I admit to showing frustration.”
The victim advised students to “remember that people in these positions often feel like they have complete power over you and can decide to do what they like, even if it is not ‘just’ or ‘fair’ or ‘professional'”.
“When you find yourself in a situation like this (e.g. being refused entrance to a club for no reason), it is essential you remain calm and respectful,” he added. “Always be the bigger person!
“This gives them no excuse to treat you unfairly and when you escalate the problem, it will be far easier to strengthen your case.”
He stressed that similar incidents “should be reported to the police, especially when physical contact is involved…as soon as possible”.
“No one is allowed lay hands on you in this way, whether you are male or female,” the student elaborated, adding that he “regret going straight home and to sleep and not reporting it until Sunday morning” after speaking with a friend.
He furthered: “I am gay and its hard for me not to suspect homophobia from this incident. No specific homophobic remarks were made but when you act appropriately, and are treated with such disgust and aggression, it makes you wonder. This is not the first time I have felt like this.”
“My last piece of advice is to always be vigilant when you’re going out,” he said, “Keep your friends close and don’t give anyone a reason to pick an unnecessary fight with you. Often standing up to these kind of people isn’t even worth it.”
Ms Wolff also advised: “Look out for other people in these situations, especially late at night if you see them on their own. also take note of what bus drivers look like and try and remember what they say so that they can be reported.”