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Bus company apologises after ‘rebranding’ Pride flag bus for the NHS

Plymouth Citybus issued a statement after sparking anger and frustration earlier this week.

By Will Stroude

A Plymouth bus company has apologised after ‘rebranding’ a Pride bus as an NHS rainbow bus.

Plymouth Citybus sparked frustration this week after announcing it had decided to repurpose a bus bearing the Pride as a bus to support the NHS.

The company was accused of tokenism by many LGBTQ people, who pointed out that the six-stripe Pride flag designed by Gilbert Baker symbolises decades of LGBTQ persecution and is not in fact ‘a rainbow’.


Now, Plymouth Citybus has apologised for causing any “offence”, adding that is an “inclusive company.”

“We would like to apologise if the use of our pride bus to support the NHS and key workers has caused offence”, a statement shared on Facebook on Tuesday (19 May) read.

“This was not our intention. Our team have played a huge part in @PrideinPlymouth for many years. We are an all inclusive company representing the community we serve.”

Pride in Plymouth had previously issued a statement about the controversy, saying they had been in touch with Plymouth Citybus, who had confirmed that the ‘rebranding’ of the bus would only be temporary.

“Following some concerns from members of Plymouth’s and wider LGBT+ communities, Plymouth Citybus have been in touch with Pride in Plymouth to confirm that the current rebranding of their colourful rainbow Pride bus is a tempoarary measure to show support for the National Health Service in these difficult times”, a statement read.

“With the more traditional seven colour rainbow becoming associated with the NHS response to COVID-19, Citybus felt that the Pride bus (with its six colour Pride flag colours) could quickly be used as a symbol for different communities working together, in these difficult times, over the next few weeks.

“Rest assured though, this is a temporary measure while a design is created for a new Pride in Plymough bus for 2020.”