THE leader of the city council has criticised a Labour parliamentary candidate for saying bus drivers need to be more polite.

Councillor Marc Bayliss, leader of Worcester City Council, used a full meeting of the council to condemn Cllr Lynn Denham, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Worcester, over comments she made about the city’s bus drivers.

Speaking about the city’s bus service on the Worcester Observer’s podcast, Cllr Denham said bus companies did not treat bus users very well and often lacked basic politeness.

She said: “The bus drivers need to be rather better at customer service and help people who are disabled, give people time who have difficulty getting on and off the bus. Basic politeness, which I am afraid is quite often missing.”

Cllr Marc Bayliss said it was a “terrible generalisation” about a hard-working group of people who work in difficult circumstances.

He said: “I think that is a pretty damning criticism of a group of workers in this city who are giving a public service in sometimes difficult circumstances.

“It’s also a terrible generalisation of a whole group of people and if a Tory had said such a thing about nurses in this city they would have been castigated rightly for that.

“But because these workers work for a private bus company they appear to be fair game.

“I as leader of the council disagree with that and bus drivers in Worcester are doing a challenging job and I think they deserve the support of the members across this chamber for the services they are providing.”

Cllr Denham said she stood by what she and criticised Cllr Bayliss for the "childish political jibe."

She said: "The issue I was raising in the podcast was a very serious one about our bus service and how they are not satisfactory for the people of Worcester.

Cllr Denham said raising it during the full council meeting was "completely inappropriate" use of city council time.

She said: "I think to the vast majority of the city council it was completely cryptic and the question between two Conservative councillors was of no interest to the rest of the council.

"It is the kind of thing that gives politics a bad name.

"There are some excellent drivers and some excellent public services but I do catch the bus myself and it is something I observe and it is something that people in Worcester have said to me.

"Getting on a bus if you are disabled can be very problematic and some drivers are not empathetic and helpful to those customers.

"A good bus service would run their service by taking account of customer's needs."