Three students have spoken of their lucky escape after the Uber they were travelling in was involved in a collision with a double decker bus on the M32 in Bristol.
The three young people are all musicians studying at the BIMM Bristol institute, and were returning from band practice when their Uber ride came to a dramatic and frightening end.
They were left ‘feeling beaten up’, and were lucky to not be seriously hurt when the side of the vehicle they were travelling in was struck by the front corner of a bus on the bus lane of the M32.
A police investigation is underway into what happened, but the passengers in the Uber said the driver pulled onto the bus lane into the path of the double decker First Bus.
The private hire vehicle was spun around by that collision, struck another car on Lane 2 of the motorway, and knocked back into the path of the bus to be struck for a second time by the 12-tonne bus.
The three students spoke of their ordeal and said that, after everything they had been through, they were even overcharged by Uber for the ride, even though they were left shocked and injured.
The crash happened on the southbound side of the M32 at around 2pm on Saturday afternoon.
It caused huge tailbacks on the city centre-bound side of the motorway, with traffic filtering past.
Passengers on board the bus, as well as the two drivers and the three students were shocked but largely unhurt in the crash.
But Lucy Gibbs, Dane Shiel and Eddie Peers said they were lucky to walk away from the collision.
Dane was in the back seat behind the driver, at the rear passenger door that took the full force of the impact from the bus.
“I was looking down, looking out of the window and I remember looking out because I was thinking ‘what’s he doing going into the bus lane?’, but I’ve since been told they are allowed to do this,” said Dane, who is originally from Cornwall.
“The car began to move across and we were going at a decent speed anyway, so I didn’t understand why he needed to do that.
“Then the bus hit the door and immediately I was thrown to the side by the force of it. All the glass in all the windows and windscreens shattered instantly and I was covered in glass,” he added.
“The seat belt held me and I felt whiplash, and then a second impact as we hit another vehicle. And then we were pushed back into our seats as we bounced back and the bus hit us again,” he added.
“The first thing I thought was ‘for f***’s sake, why?!’ But at least we weren’t going too fast and we were in one piece.
“I was checking the driver was ok, we all got out and was ok, but I was angry about it,” he added.
“We all feel beat up, but thankfully we’re ok. When we saw the bus – we had to get on the bus to give our statements to the police – we realised it must’ve been bad for the passengers too. They would’ve had quite a jolt, hopefully none of them are badly hurt,” he added.
The three musicians were rehearsing in Barton Hill and, with their instruments and three of them, an Uber back to their homes in the city centre was the cheapest and easiest option.
Lucy Gibbs, from Bristol, was in the front passenger seat. “I wasn’t really paying attention to where we were going, but suddenly the first split second was that all the windows suddenly smashed and we were covered in glass, she said.
“It didn’t really register with me what was actually happening.
“Then we were spinning round, and there was a second bang, then the bus hit us again. It felt like we were being dragged along.
“We came to a stop, and we sat there for about three seconds, then we all got out really quickly. We checked each other was ok and had a hug of relief and then the traffic had stopped so all got over to the side of the motorway.
“All the passengers started coming off the bus then, and we were all just there,” she said.
Lucy said she believed Dane was saved from serious injury because his guitar was in its case between him and the door that took the impact of the crash. The guitar, remarkably, was undamaged.
The three of them turned down a police offer to stop another bus on the hard shoulder so they could continue their journey into the city centre, and they opted to walk the rest of the way.
“We all thought we’d had enough of transport at that stage, and wanted to walk,” said Lucy.
But the final insult was that Lucy realised that they’d not only been charged for the Uber ride, but overcharged.
“It was due to cost £6, but obviously we didn’t make it. The driver cancelled the ride, but by the time he did, the cost was more than £10. If I’d have cancelled it, it would have been £4.50, but I don’t think we should pay anything. I want a refund.”
Police are investigating the circumstances of the collision.
Bristol Live has contacted Uber for a comment.