The manager of a bus company at the centre of a Facebook storm last weekend has said people should “think twice before sharing gossip” on the social media site, especially without knowing all the facts of the story.
Alan Gribbin of Bee Line Coaches in Dungannon said he has been “hounded” since a Facebook message posted by the father of a disgruntled Derry concert goer went viral over the weekend.
In the post the Derry man alleged that 52 teens travelling to the Calvin Harris gig at Tennent’s Vital in Belfast were let down by the coach company, which failed to show up after already collecting the £1,100 coach hire fee.
The post named the responsible company as ‘Party Buses Ireland’ and urged other concert go-ers to steer clear of it.
However, speaking to the ‘Journal’ yesterday, Alan Gribbin of Bee Line Coaches said he wanted to state categorically that ‘Party Buses Ireland’ was not the company in question.
“Our company, Bee Line Coaches took the booking for the concert late on Friday evening.
“The fella who called us pleaded with us to help him and agreed to take a late pick up slot, and a late slot for getting home again. He agreed to a pick up at 4.30, when normally this kind of pick up would have been down at about 12.30.
“This was the biggest concert of the year - and it was near impossible to get booked for transport, but we agreed to take the booking. For that I hold my hands up.”
Mr Gribbin said that the bus he had been planning to use for the Derry run had was damaged in Lisburn on Saturday afternoon before it was due to leave for Derry.
“Two windows were put in. We could not use the bus in that condition, but we could not have foreseen that this would happen.
“I did my very best to try and get something else organised for the teens, but there were no buses available.
“I know that some people missed out on the concert, and I am very sorry for that - but it was completely outside of our control.”
Mr Gribbin said he had since returned all the money paid to the father of the young man who had made the initial booking.
He also did what he could to try and ensure as many of the revellers were able to travel home on other coaches from the event.
“There was only so much that I could do,” he said. “And I did it. I could not do any more.”
The initial post on Facebook has been shared in excess of two and a half thousand times - garnering hundreds of thousands of views.
Both Party Buses Ireland - which had not taken the original booking and Bee Line Coaches have since come under considerable fire.
“I want to say that Party Buses Ireland had nothing to do with this. They passed our number onto the young fellah when they weren’t able to take the booking - that was all.
“My phone has been ringing constantly since - and people don’t know all the facts.”
The father of the Derry teen who made the original booking told the ‘Journal’ yesterday that all money had, indeed, been returned to the local teens and that Bee Line Coaches have been trying to make amends.
He said: “Yes, the teens were let down on Saturday night. They were very disappointed. But to give Alan at Bee Line his dues he has been doing his best since.”