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Tonbridge Grammar schoolgirl, 12, left in 'middle of nowhere' by bus driver

By Sevenoaks Chronicle  |  Posted: February 05, 2013

By Emma Curry emma.curry@sevenoaks-chronicle.co.uk

SAFE AGAIN: 12-year-old Amber Rickett, of Chipstead, who was dropped in the wrong place in Tonbridge

SAFE AGAIN: 12-year-old Amber Rickett, of Chipstead, who was dropped in the wrong place in Tonbridge

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A YEAR 7 pupil was dumped "in the middle of nowhere" with her friends after her bus driver missed her stop and ignored her pleas for him to stop.

Amber Rickett, 12, from Martin Shaw, Chipstead, said she was panicked when she was told to get off the 400 Arriva bus to Tonbridge Grammar School in a place she did not recognise.

After her and other students on the bus tried to alert the driver that he had driven past their stop at Tonbridge Grammar School, and the next one, Amber and her friends had to leave the bus and find their own way back to school.

Her dad Stuart told the Chronicle: "When the girls on the bus tried to alert the driver, he ignored them completely.

"He continued to drive further away from the school before eventually stopping the bus in the middle of nowhere and telling the girls to get off.

"To this date we do not know where our daughter was dumped only that it took her 20 minutes to get back to the school with the help of passers-by."

Amber called her dad and mum Izabella, who tried to calm her down and work out where she was, but in the end Amber and the other pupils had to ask a stranger for help to find their way back to school.

"She was really upset," Mr Rickett said. "She's young and had only been at the school a short while, and she had no idea where she was. "Obviously her call panicked us as well, but what could we do? We tried to work out where she was from road signs and guide her back to school.

"I'm just thankful she was with other girls, not on her own."

Furious at his daughter's treatment, Mr Rickett called Arriva but said he had still has not received any answers.

He said: "I spoke to the depot manager on the day and was told that the matter would be investigated and CCTV reviewed.

"He later informed me that the driver was new.

"He could not tell me where the bus dropped the girls or why the driver ignored them, and advised me to contact head office.

"To date I have called twice and e-mailed, and am yet to receive a response – they just tell me they will get back to me within ten days and I hear nothing more.

"I'm disgusted that Arriva would send a new driver on a route he did not know, disgusted that he would then drop young children in the middle of nowhere.

"Amber is still really nervous getting on the bus, and we make her text us every day when she gets to school now, so we know she's arrived safely."

Linsey Frostick, of Arriva,said: "We are aware of the incident involving Mr Rickett's daughter and have investigated the matter, we are awaiting further feedback and will ensure someone contacts Mr Rickett again in the next few days."

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