A mother humiliated by an Arriva bus driver for not having the “correct change” said her “ridiculous” experience is part of a wider problem.

Natalie Carter, 33, from Croxley Green tried to pay the driver of a 520 bus following a gruelling night shift in Rickmansworth on December 19 – but was told to “get off” because she was 20p short and the driver had no float.

Mrs Carter, who works at Waitrose, was waiting for the 7.10am bus to take her home so she could get her seven-year-old son, Daniel off to school on time.

She said she felt “really angry” and “embarrassed” when the “rude” Arriva driver refused to take her £5 or £2.30 in change, forcing her off the bus to wait for another one 15 minutes later.

Before leaving the bus, she asked other passengers to change her money but none were able to help, she said. 

Mrs Carter said the incident was part of a “worse” problem with Arriva since a new service was brought in on September 30, in which buses sometimes fail to show up.

Liberal Democrat councillor Phil Williams confirmed Mrs Carter’s account in saying his colleagues were receiving “daily reports” of Arriva buses arriving late, drivers taking “unofficial detours” or services not running at all. He said customers “deserve better”.

Speaking about her experience, Mrs Carter said: “I was like, ‘are you kidding?’, I have just finished a night shift. I felt a bit embarrassed, it’s not like I didn’t have money for the bus.

“The driver was rude and quite dismissive which did shock me if I’m honest. I don’t know if he was having a bad day or what.

“He said he didn’t have a float or change for £5 and that the £2.30 wasn’t enough, so I had to get off.

“I was really angry. I didn’t have a massive note that needed changing and you don’t always have change on you.

“He could’ve just let it fly. It did frustrate me and I had quite a tight deadline to get home to get my son to school.”

Mrs Carter waited 15 minutes for another bus whose driver she said was “so apologetic” when she told him.

She used Arriva’s online complaints procedure to report the first driver, but the company did not reply for two weeks saying, “drivers are not required to have a float”.

She said: “I just didn’t even respond to them it’s not worth my time – it’s ridiculous.”

Cllr Williams added: “Councillors are receiving daily reports of buses being late, taking unofficial detours, missing out entire road along the route, or simply not running at all. Sometimes a bus will show up on the phone app that many passengers use to track their service, but then mysteriously does not appear.

“Many residents rely on buses to get them to and from work, school or hospital, and are fed up with turning up late, or having to get lifts or taxis when a service doesn’t run. Worse, some elderly residents have difficulties waiting at the stop for extended periods, particularly in the cold weather.

“Arriva need to take a good look at the business and ensure that all timetabled buses are running and taking the expected route. Residents deserve better.”

An Arriva spokesperson said: “We have recently had issues with our vehicles that have affected all our routes. These are currently undergoing improvement and we are making an effort to minimise the effect on any one individual service or area.

"All complaints about our drivers are taken very seriously and are dealt with in line with company policy, with the aim of stopping the recurrence of such incidents.”