Rotherham bus leaves early and strands passenger

A TRAVELLER in the middle of a 14-hour journey to visit relatives in Rotherham was left stranded at a service station by a coach driver in a hurry.

Beverley Tilley had travelled all the way from her home in Canada without a hitch when the driver of the National Express service from Heathrow Airport to Meadowhall left Leicester Forest motorway services five minutes earlier than planned—leaving her stranded without her luggage.

Panic-stricken Beverley, who was travelling alone for the first time and was without her mobile phone, only managed to complete her journey thanks to Good

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Samaritan Paul Deakin, who was heading home to Barnsley and offered her a lift.

Paul, who actually got Beverley home quicker than the coach, even loaned her his mobile phone, allowing her to call her mum in Maltby and ask her to try to retrieve her luggage, which had left the services along with the coach.

Beverley said: “We had pulled into the service station at about 2.10pm and the coach driver told us to be back for 2.30pm, but when I emerged just after 2.25pm, it was nowhere to be seen.

“I was panic-stricken. I ran to a bus that had been parked next to ours to check the time and see what time my coach  left. They said it was 2.27pm and that it had left ‘a few minutes ago’.”

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Thanks to the help of Paul, who spotted her distress when she re-entered the services, Beverley got to Meadowhall at 4.10pm, and beating the behind-schedule 240 service by two hours and 20 minutes.

She was able to retrieve her luggage and also spoke to a fellow passenger from the coach, who confirmed that the coach had left too soon.

Beverley said: “She said that the coach had left Leicester Forest well before 2.30pm and said that one man had been forced to run after the coach as it left.

“The driver had changed by the time they reached Meadowhall and he’s lucky that he had because I would have given him a piece of my mind.”

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Beverley’s mum, Veronica Cox (65) of Rowan Rise, Maltby, said that she had been “wholly unimpressed” by the way National Express had dealt with the situation, which unfolded on June 14.

She said: “Beverley was a woman travelling alone and for a coach driver to leave her stranded miles from home is unforgivable.

“She had to resort to the goodwill of a stranger and we were left making calls to try to see where her luggage had got to, but we received very little sympathy from National Express.”

A National Express spokeswoman said: “We are extremely sorry for the inconvenience caused to Mrs Tilley and her family travelling from Heathrow to Sheffield.  As an apology, we will refund the cost of her ticket.  Going by coach is usually the most stress-free way to travel to Heathrow Airport and we will put actions in place to learn from this incident.”