‘Slurry incident’ on Stagecoach bus from Rustington to Brighton: cause revealed

A horrified passenger wanted answers from Stagecoach after an incident involving an unsavoury ‘slurry’ on a bus from Rustington.

Monday, 28th September 2020, 4:25 pm

On Wednesday, September 16, Margaret Inglis got the 700 bus from The Street, Rustington and was travelling to Brighton for a dental appointment when her bag was soaked by a mystery liquid. At the time, she thought it could be urine – but Stagecoach confirmed it was a spilt drink, following an internal investigation.

The 77-year-old said: “I was sitting in the front and chatting to two other women. One was facing me as she was on the wheelchair seat.

“She started to become agitated about half way to Brighton as streams of liquid appeared on the floor of the bus.

Margaret Inglis is annoyed at the response of the 700 bus driver following the 'slurry' incident. Picture: Steve Robards

“I assumed it was due to someone spilling water but she said ‘look at it. That’s not just water. Theres something else there’. We were all horrified.”

She said the source of the stream seemed to be a lone woman sat at the back of the bus. “She did let off a rant at us later but I couldn’t understand what she said”, Margaret added.

There were solids mixed in with the drink, Margaret said, making the trip rather unpleasant.

According to Margaret, the woman who had been agitated by the incident spoke to the driver several times, saying it had to be reported immediately – but nothing was done.

Stagecoach has refuted this. A spokesman said that ‘once the driver was made aware, he contacted the depot to report the incident and informed passengers that the bus is to be cleaned at an appropriate break in its journey’.

Margaret said: “Then I realised a pool of liquid had settled under my feet with the movement of the bus and to my horror the long strap of my crossover shoulder bag was soaking.

“I had no choice but to unclip the strap from my bag and leave it on the floor.”

Having moved into another seat, an unwitting woman got on the bus and attempted to claim the soiled strap for her own.

Margaret said: “I tried to stop her. She argued but dropped it eventually. I realised I couldn’t warn everyone – people just assume you’re mad – so I just had to watch helplessly as people picked their way over the slurry.”

The pensioner said she would have got off the bus sooner, but it could have made her late for her appointment.

She finally left the bus outside The Blind Busker pub in Church Road, Hove, where she ‘just had time to buy a drink so she could use the loo and wash her hands’.

She said she did not blame the woman for what may have happened, but felt the situation should have been handled better by the driver, particularly given the current pandemic and need for hygiene on public transport.

In response, a Stagecoach South spokesperson said: “When our drivers are made aware of a spillage or an issue where one of our buses may need to be cleaned, our protocol is always that we would remove the bus for immediate cleaning at the earliest opportunity.

“All of our services have been accredited with Visit Britain’s “We’re Good to Go” official mark, recognising the work we have carried out to meet government and industry Covid-19 guidelines and the processes in place to maintain cleanliness and aid social distancing.

“Our comprehensive regime includes daily deep cleans and contactless payments, in addition to the government’s mandatory use of face coverings.”