Express coach service Stagecoach has strongly denied any homophobia within the group and defended its commitment to equal opportunities and diversity, following accusations of a lack of support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) staff and passengers.
The Queer Youth Network, run by and for LGBT people, accused Stagecoach of homophobia, pointing to two recent incidents involving a coach driver and a young gay couple in Aberdeen, while in Manchester, a young gay Stagecoach driver has allegedly spoken up about a ‘canteen culture’ of bigotry and ignorance.
Steven Stewart, director of corporate communications at Stagecoach Group, dismissed both incidents, following a police investigation into the first. The police were found to be satisfied with the driver’s account, and reported no evidence of discrimination.
Stewart added that Stagecoach was not aware of any such case in Manchester. “We have an excellent relationship with our local trade union, who would be the first to complain if they felt there was a discriminatory culture within the company’s workforce,” he said.
“We have a diverse and committed workforce and our policy is very clear: all employees and customers are treated equally and with dignity and respect,” he added. “Some 2.5 million passengers a day trust in us for their bus and rail travel, and know what a respected and high-quality transport operator we are.”