The Chubu District Transport Bureau has taken disciplinary action against Izu Hakone Bus Co, a public bus operator in Shizuoka Prefecture’s Mishima City, after one of its drivers told a woman passenger to get off the bus because she was not wearing a face mask.
The only two buses belonging to Izu Hakone Bus have been prohibited from operating from Sept 1 until Sept 25, Kyodo News reported. This is the first case in Japan where a bus operator has received disciplinary measures for refusing to let maskless passengers ride on a bus.
According to the transport bureau, the incident occurred on April 7. The woman boarded the bus in Izunokuni City, Shizuoka Prefecture. When the 66-year-old driver made a general announcement asking all passengers to wear face masks, the woman refused to comply with the request.
The woman claims that the driver did not ask her why she was maskless and that he just stopped the bus and put her off on a street with no bus stop. There were about 25 passengers on board at the time.
After receiving a complaint from the passenger, the transport bureau launched an investigation of the bus operator on April 22, and concluded that the Road Transportation Law had been violated.
Izu Hakone Bus released a statement saying that the driver told investigators he believed the maskless woman was unsettling to other passengers because of the coronavirus.© Japan Today