A teenage girl whose dog had just died was forced to walk for a mile after a bus driver refused let her pay with a £20 note.

Grace Bates, 13, from Rutland Close, Epsom, could not board the E5 bus at Epsom marketplace because she only had 60p in small change at about 3.30pm on Saturday.

Her friend Tegan, who had already got on the bus and paid, was refused a refund when she decided to get off again and walk home with her.

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Grace went to Epsom in order to print out this photo and frame it

Grace had come into town to print a photograph of her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Louie, who died in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Her mother Sarah Bates said: "It just seems that the girls were treated like troublesome teenagers.

"Grace said the bus driver was so rude even when she was pleading with her that she just needed to get home.

"They are both good girls who will help anyone in need. They don't need to be spoken to so rudely."

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Mrs Bates said she had called Epsom Coaches to complain and an employee was defensive and dismissive on the phone.

She said: "A simple ‘I’m sorry’ and refund for Tegan's ticket if we popped down to them would have been great and the end of it."

Steve Whiteway, the managing director of Epsom Coaches, told the Epsom Guardian yesterday the company and female driver would like to apologise for not carrying Grace.

Mr Whiteway said: "The driver was wrong not to allow the child to ride and apologises, as do I.

"She should have let them both ride and taken her name and address. Drivers should not deny children travel on a bus."

According to correct procedure he said the driver should accept the £20 note then give change back by the end of the ride or send a cheque if that wasn't possible.

Mr Whiteway said drivers often have to deal with children presenting a large note as a way to avoid paying the fare.

He said that Grace may well have been tarred with the same brush, adding: "A lot of kids do try to travel for free."


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