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Mar 22, 2007

Lost: Short Field Trip Becomes 7-Hour Excursion

Sixty schoolchildren spent seven hours driving all over London when their bus driver entered the wrong name into his satellite navigation device. The Evening Standard reports that the children, aged eight and nine, were supposed to go on a field trip to Hampton Court Palace in south west London.

However, the bus driver entered "Hampton Court" into his onboard navigation device and drove the kids to the street of the same name, 18 miles away in Islington, north London. Upon arriving at Hampton Court (the street, not the palace) the driver realized they were in the wrong place. The driver, along with a driver trainee following in a second bus, attempted to find the palace on their own, but became hopelessly lost. At one point a teacher got off the bus and purchased a paper map in an attempt to find the palace.

In a last ditch effort to locate the Tudor palace, a teacher called a staffmember back at the school to look on the Internet and find directions for them. When that failed, the teachers gave up and returned to the school, having never seen the palace.

Zenith Coach Travel, the bus company, has apologized for the error and pledged to reimburse the school and take the children on another trip, free of charge. A spokesman for the bus company also told the Standard, "Our drivers are now being banned from using sat-navs, which are brilliant but rely on what info is put in, and must use our maps."