A 58-year-old man, negro Gilbert Watt, making his way to work, from Cardiff to London in the early hours of 28.01.2019 was summarily thrown off the coach, by South Wales police, despite having a valid ticket
His long time partner had purchased an e-ticket for Gilbert Watt, a six-foot Rastafarian black man, to return to London Victoria Coach Station from Cardiff, Sophia Gardens.
It’s a journey
Gilbert’s partner dropped him off at the Coach station, at around 02.20am. As usual, he and his partner said their goodbyes, and he attempted to board the 02:30 Coach.
As the coach driver of the London bound coach was about to check his ticket out of nowhere another driver, claiming to be management, instructed the London coach driver not to let Gilbert on the Coach Gilbert explained. When challenged as to why by the London driver, he was told that Gilbert did not have a “paper” ticket.
Gilbert continued to state that he did not need a paper ticket, as he had an e-ticket, a ticket he had used, every weekend for the last two years.
As Gilbert was making his case, the manager/driver was becoming enraged and demanding that he be refused entry to the coach.
Gilbert defiantly boarded the coach and took his seat, knowing that he was in possession of a valid ticket.
The driver then approached Gilbert and claimed: ” the manager said this coach cannot leave Cardiff, with you on it.”
Gilbert now quite shocked and alarmed, calmly reiterated, that he had a valid ticket and needed to be in work in the morning and was staying on the Coach.
The driver then informed him that the police were being called to remove him from the Coach.
At 02:45am 4 uniformed officers boarded the coach and Gilbert showed them his phone and the ticket reference number (which is all that is needed).
The police went, up and down, back and forth between Gilbert and the manager/driver and bizarrely, despite having a valid ticket, to Gilbert’s surprise he was then ordered off the coach by the police.
Not knowing what to do, Gilbert rang his partner and she arrived at the Coach station to find Gilbert the Coach had by this time left, leaving Gilbert stranded 150+ miles away from where he needed to be to get to work.
Gilbert’s partner then asked police officers why they had insisted that Gilbert get off the Coach. One Police officer stated that Gilbert showed the driver an incorrect reference number.
Gilbert’s partner then immediately took Gilbert’s phone off the police officer and showed the officer that Gilbert had the correct reference number.
She further demonstrated to the police officers, that she had purchased the ticket and had sent a copy of it to Gilbert and showed the officer the email and reference number sent her home phone, and then her message forwarding onto phone onto Gilbert.
A police officer took the phone, and showing it to another employee of National Express, returned stating that as Gilbert’s partner had purchased the ticket, then Gilbert would not be able to travel with that ticket, as it is not in his name.
By this time it was nearly 3.00am Gilbert’s partner now getting agitated and told the police quite clearly that in they had failed to establish the facts in this matter and had treated Gilbert appallingly simply because he was a Black man. All the officers disagreed.
|“Having an incorrect name on your ticket won’t affect your journey, as oyour drivers only look at the validity of your ticket.”|
Even if, the police officers believed that Gilbert’s ticket was invalid, why was he summarily removed from the coach, instead of being offered the alternative of purchasing another ticket, an option clearly articulated on their website?
It’s precisely this kind of incident,
It is these kinds of incidents, that continue to alienate black communities from the police, and reinforce the notion that racism in Britain, is seeping into every aspect of our lives.
Gilbert was lucky, he had a partner who could collect him in the middle of nowhere, and knew something about the law. Imagine if Gilbert had been 21 and alone in Cardiff on that bitterly cold morning?