Devon

National Express 'journey from hell' says Devon passenger

Coach Image copyright PA
Image caption National Express said all reports of unacceptable behaviour were taken very seriously

A National Express coach driver led passengers on a "horrific and abusive" journey from Heathrow to Exeter, a passenger has said.

She said the driver did an emergency stop on the M5, swore at passengers and arrived two hours late.

Former deputy head teacher Beth Lees, 50, from Exeter, said: "It was a journey from hell."

National Express said the driver had been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation.

Ms Lees, who had flown in from a holiday in Athens, said the coach arrived more than two hours late at 21:10 BST on Saturday.

She said the driver was "clearly in a bad mood" and was "grumpy and moaning".

After getting onto the M5 they came off soon afterwards and "for an hour-and-a-half we roamed the countryside".

Image copyright Google
Image caption The driver slammed on the brakes and veered into the hard shoulder of the M5, according to the passenger

She said: "He was clearly lost. A couple of ladies went up and said he was going the wrong way. He was saying '... off, it's my ....... coach, I'm ..... driving it."

At one point, she said the driver was "trying to force someone off the coach in the middle of nowhere".

Some passengers offered to help the driver with directions and she said it "was getting quite scary".

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When they got back onto the M5 an alarm started.

"Eventually he slammed on his brakes and veered onto the hard shoulder," she said.

The coach pulled into Exeter at 01:40 BST and Ms Lees told the driver she had "never been on such an appalling journey".

National Express said it was concerned to hear the complaints and was investigating them as a priority.

It said all reports of unacceptable behaviour were taken very seriously.

Passengers had been given a complimentary ticket at Heathrow because of the delays, it said.

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