Q. We are a small operator who undertakes a number of third-party contracts for various tour companies. We were recently running a tour with a group of individuals. One of the individuals on the coach was subsequently discovered to be an alcoholic. This caused major problems as the other passengers on the vehicle did not want to sit near this particular individual and there was a situation whereby she was found to be incontinent. What is our position with regard to refusing her access to the vehicle?
A. This is a very difficult situation for the operator and driver. Initially, I would suggest that the operator contacts the tour organiser and raises the concerns he or she has with regard to this individual. I would keep the driver in the loop with regard to the communications as it is the driver who would be dealing with this individual. Once the operator has contacted the tour operator it would be necessary to ascertain exactly what the terms of the contract are that they have with this particular tour operator. If the individual is causing distress to other passengers and indeed damaging the coach, I would suggest that the individual is removed from the vehicle and refused access. It is for the tour company, as it is with it that the passenger has the contract, to arrange alternative transport or to deal with the matter accordingly. I think it would be appropriate for the tour company in this circumstance to remove the passenger from the list and deal with her accordingly.