An Action bus. Photo: Graham Tidy
A young Canberra woman is facing an anxious wait for test results after an incident in which a man with a head wound and a contagious blood-borne virus may have bled near where she sat down on a suburban bus.
ACTION management has defended its handling of the incident and said it appeared no blood came into contact with the seat the 17-year-old sat on during her journey home from school.
Andrea McEachern said her daughter - who did not wish to be named - was catching a No. 27 bus to their home in Rivett last Tuesday when the driver stopped the vehicle and announced that there would be a short delay.
''Next thing a little ACTION bus turns up and a couple of guys with rubber gloves jump out and in a sort of panicky voice yell at her, 'Get off the bus, it's contagious','' Ms McEachern said. ''No one looked at her hands to see if she had any open wounds, no one told her to disinfect her hands when she got home, no one told her what it was. They put her in a little ACTION bus and took her home.''
Ms McEachern said she telephoned ACTION several times over the next two days in an attempt to find out what had happened before a customer service staff member told her that a passenger had been bleeding on the bus.
The man got off the bus at the Woden interchange and told staff that he had a head injury and a blood-borne virus and may have spilt blood on the bus.
Ms McEachern's daughter appeared to have sat in the same seat as the man after he left the bus.
''They said, 'We watched a video: although your daughter sat in the seat he sat on, she hasn't touched anything he's bled on.' ''
After Fairfax Media approached the ACT government about the incident, Ms McEachern was contacted by a doctor from the ACT Health Directorate who she said had agreed the daughter should undergo blood tests.
ACTION director James Roncon said no blood had been found on the bus and he was confident that correct procedures had been followed by staff.
''If blood had been visible we would have contacted the Health Department,'' Mr Roncon said.
''As it was, all the passengers were asked, 'Do you have blood on you? Have you come into contact with it?'
''Everybody said, 'No we haven't.'
''I think all their details were collected.''
Mr Roncon said the closed circuit television footage appeared to confirm that the young woman had not come into contact with any potentially contaminated surfaces.
He said that procedures were in place to protect passengers and clean buses if bodily fluids were spilt.