Greyhound Bus Lines says its statement that a Texas man was kicked off a bus in the middle of the night because he was being unruly was false and has issued an apology to the man.
Mohammad Reza Sardari said he was forced off a bus in 2017 because he is Middle Eastern, according to a 2018 lawsuit he filed against Greyhound. Sardari said he was discriminated against and assaulted by fellow passengers after the bus driver looked at his ticket and saw his name was Mohammad.
In a lawsuit against Greyhound in November, Sardari said he was “abandoned in the middle of the night at a dark and closed bus station in Wichita, Kansas” while taking the bus from Dallas to Kansas City, Missouri, in 2017.
Since then, he said, Greyhound defamed him in the media by saying Wichita police were called to remove him from the bus because he “became unruly.”
After the incident, Greyhound told various media outlets the following:
“Greyhound has investigated the situation. The driver asked everyone onboard to show their ticket, and the customer, who was asked twice to present his ticket, refused to do so and became unruly, both with the driver and a security guard who was called for assistance. Due to his behavior, the customer was asked to leave the bus, to which he refused, and the police were called to remove him.”
On Sept. 17, Greyhound said this was not true and retracted the statement in an email to Sardari.
“Greyhound hereby fully retracts its public statement regarding Dr. Sardari, including the statement that Dr. Sardari was unruly and failed to cooperate,” the statement, which was shared with the Star-Telegram, said. “Further, the Wichita police have no record of being contacted in connection with these events, and Greyhound also fully retracts its statement that police were called to remove Dr. Sardari from the bus he was riding.”
Greyhound maintained in the statement they did not act in a discriminatory manner toward Sardari.
Kicked off the bus
On Nov. 14, 2017, Sardari, who was a Ph.D. candidate at UT Arlington, was scheduled to present his research on inequality in the Dallas Area Rapid Transit System at a national conference in Kansas City.
Sardari, who is an Iranian national, said in the suit he took the Greyhound bus “in keeping with his philosophical commitment to public ground transportation.”
When the bus stopped in Wichita to pick up more passengers, the driver shook Sardari awake at his seat and demanded to see his E-ticket. When he showed her, she said she needed to see a printed ticket. He got out his printed ticket, but she refused to accept it, Sardari said in the lawsuit.
The bus driver started acting hostile after she saw Sardari’s name on the ticket and heard his accent, Sardari said.
The bus driver and other passengers started yelling at him to get off the bus. Sardari took video of the driver forcing him to get off.
“On the video, Dr. Sardari can be heard calmly asking for an explanation as to why he was being asked to leave the bus,” the lawsuit states. “Neither Greyhound security not the driver provided one.”
After he was left in the middle of Wichita, Sardari had to call a ride-sharing service to take him to Kansas City in order to make his 8:30 a.m. conference, he said in the lawsuit. The ride cost him $250.
In an email to Sardari on Sept. 17, Greyhound said the company “sincerely apologies to Dr. Sardari regarding the events that occurred.”
In a statement the company sent to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Tuesday, Greyhound said, “As part of our agreement with Mr. Sardari to resolve his lawsuit, our team agreed to meet with him at our corporate office for an open conversation about his experience and his work in transportation. We regret Mr. Sardari’s experience and it is our hope that our new connection will lead to positive actions within our business and throughout the industry.
“Greyhound’s initial statement was the result of a good faith investigation which revealed a dispute between Mr. Sardari and the driver as to what occurred. Subsequently, Greyhound was not able to find a police report. We are thankful for the opportunity to have reached an amicable agreement with Mr. Sardari.”