Disabled woman, 27, speaks out about female safety after she was 'stranded' in Northampton due to bus pass issues

The woman is now urging others to be considerate of women's safety at night time

Friday, 14th January 2022, 1:36 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 11:22 am
Rachel Davies

A 27-year-old disabled woman from Northampton has spoken out about women's safety after she was left feeling 'vulnerable', ignored' and 'stranded' when her bus pass was confiscated.

Rachel Davies was on the way home from a day out at Riverside on Tuesday night (January 11) when she become embroiled in a confrontation with a Stagecoach bus driver, which she recorded on her phone.

The driver confiscated her council-issued disability bus pass because it was not accepted by the on-board ticket machine at the time.

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Rachel relies on walking stick to get about and was left feeling vulnerable when she was left with no bus pass

Rachel was allowed to get on the bus back to town but the driver kept her card and told Rachel she would need to go to the council to get it back.

The full-time volunteer needed her pass to get her second bus back home, but she was unsuccessful with her pleas to retrieve it immediately.

Rachel was subsequently left feeling 'stranded' as she had no means of paying for her second bus home. Fortunately, her boss was sympathetic and paid for her to get a taxi home.

The council has since confirmed the card was recently cancelled by Rachel and that a new one had been sent in the post to be used. This, Rachel concedes, was a mistake on her part, and also means the driver was following the correct protocol.

But after the incident, Rachel, who is four foot six and relies on a walking stick to get about due to her disability, wants to highlight the importance of being mindful of women's safety at night time, especially after the Sarah Everard murder last year.

Rachel said: "I have really bad anxiety and usually I would never do anything about it, but I needed my card to get the second bus home from town. I rang my boss in tears, she got me a taxi home because I didn't have any change on me to get the other bus.

"They need to put themselves in our shoes. We [women] are victims of crimes and I feel lots of people need to be more aware and understand that. We are not doing it to get people in trouble.

"My main message is just please be considerate of others, especially women, when it comes to travelling alone at night. It's a thing that women fear.

"No-one should feel like they are not heard. I was begging to get that pass back in order to get home safe. It's just frustrating. I wish there was more consideration for vulnerable people to get home safe.

"We all know Northampton is not the safest place to be, especially at night. I am someone who could be taken and controlled. It's something I am very aware of so I have to be vigilant all the time."

A Northamptonshire Police spokeswoman said: "If anyone feels they are at risk of becoming a victim of crime, we would urge them to call us so we can help."

A Stagecoach spokesman said: "Concessionary travel cards remain the property of West Northamptonshire Council.

"The council hotlisted the card, which means that it’s not valid for travel and needed to be retained and returned to the council.

"Our driver was following these rules. He carried the passenger free of charge to the town centre arriving at 5pm. The pass has been returned to the council."