An incident where a gay couple was reportedly thrown off a bus near Blackheath for kissing has been described as ‘completely unacceptable’ by Transport for London.
Jack James, 23, said he and his partner were verbally abused and forced off by the driver of the number 89 bus.
James told the Evening Standard: “We were chatting away when my partner gave me a peck on the lips. The bus driver shouted: ‘Oi, you two, don’t do that on my fucking bus or you can get off, I don’t want to watch that’.”
James described the homophobic abuse he received after questioning whether the driver was talking to him and his partner.
He added: “When the bus stopped at our stop I walked up to the driver and politely asked the driver if he was talking to us. His reply was: ‘Yes, it’s my bus, it is my rules, and I don’t want to watch that. It’s disgusting. Get off the bus.’ Once we got off the bus we were fuming and I was shaking. The bus stopped again and he shouted and told us we were not real men and we should fuck off.”
The alleged incident happened at around 10.30pm on the 8th August.
Labour Assembly Member Tom Copley voiced his concern on twitter, branding the incident as “disgusting”:
Bus driver tells gay couple to stop kissing or get off http://t.co/NeKG6HXtDd < Disgraceful. Glad to hear TfL are investigating
— Tom Copley (@tomcopley) October 20, 2014
Darren Johnson, Green Party Assembly Member also tweeted with TfL’s response to the news:
Gay couple thrown off a bus in south east London after sharing a kiss. TfL say the matter is being taken "very seriously."
— Darren Johnson AM (@DarrenJohnsonAM) October 20, 2014
In a statement, Ken Davidson, TfL’s Head of Bus Operations, told EastLondonLines: “All customers have the right to use our services without fear of being abused and offensive behaviour is completely unacceptable. We would like to reassure Mr
James that this matter is being taken very seriously and that a thorough investigation is being conducted by Go Ahead.”
Some members of the public have taken to Twitter to suggest there should perhaps be a mass “kiss in” protest, including journalist Chris Godfrey who tweeted:
I feel another kiss-in protest coming on. Occupy the 89 bus route!!
— Chris Godfrey (@ChrisPJGodfrey) October 20, 2014