A BUS driver who got spat at by a female passenger has spoken out about his shock over the incident – and the “horror” he feels in how his employer treated him afterwards.

The driver, who wishes to remain anonymous, was behind the wheel of the Diamond Bus 582 bus near Four Lanes End in Over Hulton at around 4pm on Tuesday, July 21.

A woman passenger, who had already argued about payments, was told to get off when her fare ended.

But she became aggressive, approached the driver with her phone in which someone on the line was yelling at him, and then she smacked the front of the bus and demanded a refund.

The driver refused and as she went to leave the bus she turned around and spat at him.

The CCTV was not working on the bus but a passenger captured the shocking incident in video on his mobile phone.

The Bolton News:

The female passenger argues with the driver

The Bolton News:

The female passenger spits at the driver from near the door

Following the assault the driver ended the service and asked the remaining passengers to leave the bus.

Two months on the passenger has not been caught and the driver has left Diamond over safety concerns.

The driver said: “The woman has blatantly got away with it.

“She spat at me twice. I felt dirty after it happened.

“I would rather have been punched.

“What made it more shocking was that she had a baby in a pram with her.

“I had to go to hospital to have a covid check, Hepatitis B test and a blood test and got told to isolate for two weeks.

"Thankfully I was negative for everything.”

The driver had to self-isolate for two weeks and was off with with stress for a few weeks as he worried about passing an illness on to his family and how he did not feel safe in his job.

He returned to work though and was given a visor to wear to protect him and customers from covid-19, which he also wore to help prevent others spitting at him.

But on Monday, September 14, he said he was told by a supervisor that he was not allowed to wear a visor while he was driving as it would hinder his sight, which he said was not true.

The driver, who worried about his safety under the firm with not every bus having a protective screen and had pay disputes with the company in the last couple of months, handed his notice in.

"I have been treated horribly," he said.

"I have worked all the way through the pandemic and I've put myself at risk for this company working 60 to 70 hours a week.

"I did not feel safe when I came back to work.

"I drove the bus from Bolton to Bury wearing a visor without a problem.

"The visor protected me from being spat at so if I was not wearing it at each stop I would have to quickly put it on again to stop someone spitting at me.

"There wasn't a place to put the visor near me when I wasn't wearing it and it's not safe to keep leaning down on the floor for it when I'm driving a bus."

The Bolton News:

Diamond Bus vehicles

In response, a Diamond Bus North West spokesman said: "We have a number of key risk assessments in place aligned to covid and these are in place to protect our workforce and our customers, the visor is issued to all staff to ensure staff and customers are protected when passengers board or alight.

"However, the visor cannot be worn when driving as this will affect the drivers vision.

"A large amount of our vehicles have protective screens which aligns with the new vehicles we have introduced into the area in the last few months, we also have a fitment programme being carried out to fit 100 per cent of the fleet with screens.

"However the visor issued to all staff reduces the risk of covid being passed between the driver or customers and is the key risk control measure as protective screens help reduce risk but not to the levels of the visor we believe.

"The protective screen wont assist the driver when carrying out certain elements of the drivers duties for example when assisting with a wheelchair user.

"We have worked very hard over the last six months in conjunction with the employee representatives to protect our employees and customers with a number of key activities taking place from in-service cleaning, fogging vehicles, PPE items for example visors, anti-bacteria wipes, hand sanitiser, and we have also reduced the capacity on our vehicles to limit how many can travel.

"The employee representatives are very appreciative of the way we have continued to deal with this challenge while supporting over 600 employees in the workplace in our Manchester business.

"Our risk assessments have been shared with a number of governing bodies and accepted as fit for purpose and we continue to review and amend when changes have been required.

"We have continued to operate throughout these challenging months adapting to the changes needed and our staff have done a sterling job throughout this unprecedented period, we are committed to keeping everyone safe and continuing to supply services to the local community.

"We continue to engage through our professional trade bodies to utilise best practise where ever necessary as we learn and develop with the changing landspace."

If you have any information about the assault on the bus on July 21 contact police on 101.