A family have spoken out after their teenage son was told he could not board a bus despite having the correct ticket and a mask.

The 13-year-old was on his way home from the Abrar Academy, Preston and was traveling from Garstang Road to Preston Bus Station.

Dr Arifa Khan told us, “The group of five friends regularly travel on this route and got on the bus and one of them did not have a mask. His friend gave him a spare one but then all of them were told to get off the bus.”

The incident happened on Wednesday 16 December.

Stagecoach said, ‘the situation should have been handled better’ and the other children should not have been told to leave. They also said it did not warrant the driver being sworn at and the bus being kicked following the decision to remove the children.

Dr Khan said, “The bus driver initially allowed most of the children on the bus after checking their tickets.

“The second to last child was severely reprimanded by the driver for forgetting his mask. After which a friend lent him a spare mask to wear. Then the bus driver refused the child’s valid receipt and said he needed a ticket. The child started to argue as his receipt was valid. This was the last straw.

“The bus driver said to the child and his friends “Because of him, you all get out”. This was a great shock to all the tired schoolchildren who had finished a day’s study. When they started to argue with the driver that they all had valid tickets they were all forced to get off the bus.”

The children then had to wait for the next bus to arrive.

A stagecoach spokesperson, “We have investigated and it is clear that the situation should have been handled better. Although our driver correctly informed one of the young people that they did not have a valid ticket for travel and rightfully asked them to wear a face covering, which is a legal requirement, the wider group of young people travelling should not have been asked to leave.

“Unfortunately, the situation escalated with the driver being sworn at and the outside of the bus kicked.

“Our drivers receive extensive customer care training and we are sorry that this situation was not handled correctly. We will be following up the matter appropriately with our employee.”