A BUS driver allegedly used racial slurs to a customer leaving her distraught and in shock.

Emma Dowling, 37, from Basildon, got on the number five First bus from Basildon bus station on January 17, and was horrified at the inappropriate conversation the driver began to have with her.

She said: “I got on the bus and gave my ticket to the driver to scan, and they usually rip it and hand it back to you.

“But the driver said to me ‘I’m collecting these for Children in Need so the black kids can get a free ride’, all while he was laughing.

“The fact that I am black and he had said that to me I was in shock. I couldn’t even say anything back to him, I just didn’t know what to do.

“I went straight upstairs to sit down, I usually sit downstairs, but I guess I just wanted to be as far away from him as possible.”

The mother-of-four called her husband for support who then met her at the bus stop and gently asked the driver why he had spoken to Emma in the way he did.

Emma added: “The driver denied it all, but said sorry and that he was tired before trying to drive off and close the doors with my husband still in the doorway of the bus.

“I’m just glad none of my children, who are mixed race, were on the bus to listen to that, imagine how they would have felt.

“I felt so awful about the whole thing, I was overcome with anxiety in my belly even hours after we got back home, it was just horrible.”

The couple logged a complaint when they arrived at home and were told they would have to wait between seven and 14 days for a response.

When approached by the Echo, First confirmed bosses will be investigating the serious allegation.

Steve Smith, operations manager at First Basildon, said: “We will be undertaking an investigation after a customer made us aware that one of our drivers allegedly made some racist comments whilst in conversation at the time of boarding a bus.

“We do not under any circumstances expect any of our staff to make such comments, so we will be taking this matter very seriously.”