Greyhound Canada is apologizing and conducting a full investigation into the actions of one of its drivers in Manitoba.
The driver picked up several passengers in the northern community of Wabowden bound for Cross Lake First Nation, about 65 kilometres away.
On the way, the driver realized two passengers had been left behind in Wabowden.
He was instructed to go back and get them but before he did, some passengers complained. He then let 16 people passengers get out, said Greyhound spokesperson Maureen Richmond.
The people were left at the side of the highway as the driver turned the bus around and drove off.
'That's absolutely unacceptable and our sincerest apologies go to the folks who were on there.'—Greyhound spokesperson Maureen Richmond
Richmond said the driver has been pulled from duty and an investigation is underway into his conduct.
"That's absolutely unacceptable and our sincerest apologies go to the folks who were on there," she said.
"That is not the way, certainly, that our drivers are taught to interact with passengers nor is it the way that we proceed. We usually go from stop to stop as you can imagine."
Greyhound now wants to get in touch with the passengers and offer them refunds for their tickets, Richmond said.
Baby among those put off bus
A First Nations group has called a press conference for Friday afternoon in Winnipeg to talk about the incident, which it says involved at least one passenger with a baby and another still recovering from a recent surgery.
David Harper, grand chief of the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO), an organization representing most First Nations communities in northern Manitoba, said the passengers were dumped at 7 p.m.
They were left near Manitoba Hydro's Jenpeg generating station, about 45 kilometres from Cross Lake and about 525 kilometres north of Winnipeg.
It was cold out and snowing and getting dark, said Lorelei Ross, one of the passengers. She claims the driver kicked the people off and swore at them.
"This one lady wanted to get off and the bus driver just got up and said, 'Get the F off my bus,'" Ross said. "Then he looked at all of us, so we just got off."
Hydro workers saw the stranded people and arranged for rides to Cross Lake, according to the press release issued by Harper.
Cross Lake Chief Garrison Settee is outraged and is demanding the passengers get compensation from Greyhound.
Manitoba's Minister of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Eric Robinson is also calling on company officials to make a personal apology to people in Cross Lake.