A BUS company has apologised after scores of passengers heading back from the coast were stranded at Malton and then left to stand all the way to York and Leeds.

Terri Raddings, of Leeds, said she was on a Coastliner bus full of passengers from Scarborough which was told to get off at Malton bus station by the driver yesterday evening.

She said the driver said he had completed his hours and could not go any further, and suggested that a driver shortage meant there was no one else able to take over.

She claimed about 100 passengers had originally been stranded but some travelling to Leeds had been able to get on a bus from Whitby. However, some people were left having to stand all the way because it was so full.

She said about 30-40 passengers heading to York had been unable to get on and remained stranded in Malton.

She claimed there were no managers at Malton to explain how or when they would be getting back, and said people could not afford to go and catch a train instead.

She added later that when her bus arrived in York, passengers waiting for it could not get on, and would have to wait an hour for the next one.

She said many passengers on board were also still standing as it left for Leeds.

Coastliner tweeted: "We're really sorry that the 19:21 from Malton to Leeds hasn't run this evening. Unfortunately, one of our drivers has had to go home sick, meaning there was no driver to take the bus to Leeds.

"If you're waiting at Malton, please hang tight - the 20:21 is running on time."

It later added: "We're really sorry, but the 21:15 from Leeds to Malton won't be running this evening. The 20:15 and 22:15 are running on time - sincere apologies for any inconvenience."

Coastliner had already experienced problems earlier yesterday because of traffic jams on the A64.

Long queues developed on the eastbound carriageway near the Grimston Bar roundabout in the morning as the usual Saturday traffic heading for the coast was joined by people trying to get to BBC Countryfile Live at Castle Howard.

Coastliner apologised to a woman who tweeted that the delay to one of its buses meant she would miss a pre-booked train, and have to pay more for a different one.

The firm tweeted: "We are working as hard as we can to keep buses running on time but the A64 is a difficult road, especially on summer Saturdays and with big events on such as Countryfile. Our drivers will he trying their best to get you there on time.

"I’m sorry, most of the time we do run to time. The A64 is an unpredictable road and so one thing may go wrong and can cause an impact; if it doesn’t we can sail through. I apologise for the inconvenience today."

A campaign backed by The Press has been calling for the A64 east of York to be dualled but it emerged earlier this year that extra costs caused by the need to build new bridges meant dualling might no longer be viable.

Meanwhile, Terri has today slated some Press readers for their 'awful' comments about the stranded bus passengers posted below our story online.

Some readers have made light of passengers' plight, joked about their weight and ability to pay to travel by train instead.

Terri said: "In response to the many negative comments left, the issue wasn't about who had paid, who could afford a train or people's dietary habits. 

"It was about a business not providing what is in fact their bread and butter...... A bus service and their honest response to the consequences of not doing this. 

"It was due to ongoing driver shortages which Coastliner need to address. 

"What a dreadful society we live in when people make such awful comments about others who find themselves in a difficult situation through no fault of their own making. 

"I hope these people never have a need to call on others for help and support and if they do that they are shown more empathy and compassion than they have to us. 

"There was a real show of care for each other at Malton and on the bus last night and those making the comments would have felt very uncomfortable amongst us last night."

She also said she wanted people to know the problems were 'absolutely not' about the A64 or the Countryfile Live show. 

"It was a lack of response from Coastliner management to firstly address how they were going to maintain their services with an obvious shortfall of drivers and secondary the way they dealt with the situation and the impact on their customers. 

"To inform customers solely on Twitter when many wouldn't have access to this is wrong."