Transport chiefs have apologised after a bus driver kicked a 16-year-old girl off a bus in the middle of the night – sparking a missing persons hunt by police.
Schoolgirl Vanessa Lucien had caught the bus using a valid temporary pass, but the driver - wrongly - confiscated it.
Vanessa refused to leave the vehicle until she was given back her pass.
She was finally let off at 12.30am around North Acton – miles from her home in Southall, London, by which time her mother Rose had already contacted the police to report her daughter missing.
Police finally found her at the side of a motorway after she flagged down a motorist at 1.30am and asked for help.
Vanessa and her brother, Anthony, 24, had caught the bus after collecting their 11-year-old sister, Tiana, from a birthday party in West Ealing.
They got on at 11pm, but returned home without Vanessa.
She told the GetWestLondon website: "I knew my bus pass was valid. The driver became really angry and told me she'd call the police, which I was quite happy for her to do. She then closed the doors and turned the lights off and drove me away.
"Finally, after driving for miles she looked again at the pass and literally threw it at me.
"She opened the doors and told me to get off the bus. I had no idea where I was. I was on the side of a big motorway, I had no phone and had to stop a passing woman who luckily phoned the police for me."
Vanessa's mother said: "I was horrified to hear that the bus driver had apparently driven off with my daughter.
"I immediately went to the police station to tell them what had happened and that she was missing. She was incredibly vulnerable. Anything could have happened to her on that road."
Transport for London said Vanessa was 'never held against her will'.
CCTV footage is said to show the driver and a girl in a 'heated conversation'.
Ken Davidson, TfL's head of bus operations, told the Evening Standard: "We do offer our sincere apologies to Miss Lucien, who experienced a problem when using a temporary travel ticket on a route 207 bus recently.
"We can confirm this ticket was valid and should not have been retained by the bus driver. A full investigation into this incident is ongoing."
The Metropolitan police said a 16-year-old girl was reported missing at about 12.30am on August 3 and that her photograph had been circulated to all units.
A police spokesman said: "The girl was found by traffic police on a bus in North Acton at approximately 1.25am."