Coach driver praised for calm response to M6 toll motorway incident
06 Jul 2012
- Megabus.com driver recounts role in helping police during "scary" security alert
- Father-of-two thanks passengers and police for their co-operation during ordeal
The driver of a megabus.com coach which was caught up in a security alert on the M6 toll motorway yesterday was praised by bosses today (6 July 2012) for his "calm and professional" response to the incident.
Married father-of-two David Myerscough (38) helped officers ensure people on the coach disembarked safely one by one after a passenger had called police to report concerns about vapour escaping from a bag.
Ian Laing, General Manager of megabus.com, said: "We would like to thank David for his calm and professional response to the incident and the police for their support. While it later emerged it was a false alarm, we can understand how everyone on the coach must have felt when events were unfolding at the time.
"Safety and security is our absolute priority. David followed all of our procedures correctly and kept a calm head, as did the passengers on board. The rest of the megabus.com team did a great job in making sure everyone got to their chosen destination after the police investigation was completed."
David was operating the 5.10am service from Preston to London when the situation began around 8.20am. He followed police instructions relayed via megabus.com control staff and also directly by phone. David was instructed by police to go through the toll and pull on to the hard shoulder at the M6 toll plaza.
"Once we pulled over, the police told me to make sure nobody left the bus under any circumstances. After a while, we realised that the road beside us had actually been closed and cars had stopped going past us," he said.
"Then we saw the armed response team arrive. Just before that, a few passengers had started to get a bit agitated, but when they saw what was happening they calmed down and realised that we were going to have to go with it.
"I was instructed to take the passengers off the bus one by one. I had to wait at the front of the bus until the armed police gave me the signal to bring the next passenger off, and I was to tell them not to put their hands in their pockets and just to walk out slowly. Once one passenger was off, I'd then get the next one.
"Once we were all off the bus we sat on the tarmac and nobody was allowed to use their phones. After a while, we were moved on to a replacement vehicle. The police then said they wanted to move the megabus.com coach so I drove it to the new location and the passengers followed in the police coach.
"There, all the passengers had to identify their belongings. Then they were told that those who wanted to go to London could continue on the megabus.com coach and those who wanted to return to Preston, Manchester or Bolton could go on the police bus."
David added: "It was a scary thing for a lot of people and it was a very long and tiring day. We were all in it together and when you're faced with armed police you can't really do anything else other than follow their instructions.
"The police were really professional. I always thought we would be alright. Fortunately, what could have been a terrible situation turned out to be OK. Most people got to where they wanted to be in the end. A few people had important appointments that they had missed, but we tried to help them as much as possible.
David, who has been given today off, has worked with Stagecoach, operator of megabus.com, for five years. He is a standby driver based at Preston depot and stepped in to work the shift yesterday due to the sickness of a colleague.
"When I rang my wife, I said there had been an incident and that we might be on the news. She was a bit worried, but I always felt it was going to be OK and I'd be coming home," he said.
"Some of the passengers said thanks to me and they were all really nice. I was just doing my job and I wanted to do it well. I just followed the instructions I was given. Once the call is made to the police, they have to do their jobs. I'm glad everything turned out to be OK in the end."
For media enquiries, please contact: Stagecoach Group Communications on 01738 442111 or email email@example.com
NOTES TO EDITORS
Advisory note: please note that the driver will not be undertaking any print or broadcast media interviews.
megabus.com carries around 5 million passengers a year in the UK, covering around 60 locations. Visit megabus.com for more information.
Stagecoach Group is a leading international public transport group, with extensive operations in the UK, United States and Canada. The company employs 35,000 people and operates bus, coach, rail, and tram services. Visit www.stagecoach.com for more information.