VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – The owner of Sprinter Bus contacted 10 On Your Side to tell his side of a story after several people told us they were stranded on a bus Friday night.
On Saturday, passengers told 10 On Your Side’s Kara Dixon they were on their way from New York to Virginia Beach when the bus they were on stopped in Onley around 10:30 p.m.
One passenger said she felt ignored and helpless.
WAVY reporter Brandi Cummings spoke to John Gomez, owner of Sprinter Bus. At several times during their interview Tuesday, he apologized.
“We are very sorry it took so long,” he said.
34 people were stranded when the bus broke down on the Eastern Shore.
“We are a little bit hurt because we pride ourselves on excellent service,” Gomez said.
Gomez said a brake problem forced the driver to pull over and because the mechanical problem happened after hours, it was harder to get another bus and another driver there.
“When he was having issues he followed protocol which was to get the bus out of harm’s way and the people to a safe establishment,” he said.
Passengers complained that they were not picked up until Saturday morning.
“It is very unfortunate when break downs do happen but customers also need to understand it takes time for a rescue. We could not just hurry and get there,” Gomez said.
According to Gomez, Stouts Transportation is the company who owns the bus. That company is based in New Jersey and it would have taken a driver four hours to get from New Jersey to Onley.
He said as a last resort, his company used vans to pick up passengers. They arrived at 3 a.m. However, by that time, most of the passengers had already been picked up by loved ones.
Gomez said, “If it would have happened during the daytime, we could have gotten to them much faster.”
When 10 On Your Side first reported this story Saturday, a representative for the company said they would give passengers credit toward another trip. Now Gomez says he’ll do more.
“Customers that are non-members, they will have to follow our protocol, which is contact us through email and we definitely can give them a refund,” he said.
According to Gomez, the bus that was stranded was the second one that came to Hampton Roads from New York that day. He said he and his partners are now working on creating a 24-hour call center and a protocol to rescue stranded passengers faster after hours.
Stranded passengers should call 757-932-7670 for a refund.