AN Antrim man is demanding an apology from Ulsterbus Tours after enduring a ‘revolting’ holiday from hell.
Brendan Gillan has booked trips with the bus company in the past, including a memorable drive to Cornwall, so he was looking forward to hitting the road in August for a journey to Wexford and Kilkenny.
But from the second he stepped aboard the bus at the Europa, it was clear that Brendan and his fellow travellers could forget about enjoying the Irish countryside and the fresh air.
“As we got on the driver announced that the toilet was off limits, and we soon discovered why,” he said.
“It was blocked and instead of cleaning it up or getting us another coach, we had to grin and bear it.
“Trouble was, the smell was completely unbearable.
“It was reeking at the front of the bus, but my seat was right beside the loo - so it was absolutely horrendous.
“The smell would have sickened you to the stomach. It nearly knock you out.”
The unhappy travellers had barely left Belfast when the complaints started flying.
“Unsurprisingly people wanted to have it out with the driver,” Brendan said.
“They couldn’t believe that a bus was allowed to hit the road in that condition. We had a long drive ahead of us - and I can assure you every mile was torture.
“The driver eventually apologised and said there was a ‘plumbing issue’ and that there had been no other vehicles available at the time.
“In fairness to him, he did his best by hanging air fresheners all over the place, but it was not solving the issue.”
Eventually the passengers reached Treacy’s Hotel in Enniscorthy, but Brendan did not feel like kicking up his heels.
“We had been looking forward to the Riverdance show that was being put on but we were unable to attend because we felt too ill and instead went to bed early.
“The next morning all we could think about was getting back on to that horrible bus. The food provided was lovely, but our stomachs were unsettled and we were unable to eat very much.”
After two days the holiday-makers’ prayers were answered when another bus arrived - but by then it was too late.
“The holiday was ruined. It was horrid. Just horrid,” said Brendan.
“Can you imagine travelling along on a hot day in an open sewer? That gives you an idea of what we went through.
“To make matters worse, it was not cheap either. We paid around £800.”
The Antrim man wrote to Ulsterbus Tours on his return, but to date there has been no reply.
He added: “I really think they should apologise. On this occasion their customer service fell well short of the mark.
“I think they should apologise to each and every one of us.
“Has it put me off? Yes. Yes it has. I won’t be back.”