Amanda Hansson boarded the bus in Malmö on Friday in the midst of Sweden's heatwave, wearing shorts and a camisole top. But she was told by the driver that her clothing contravened the bus company's dress code, as she was showing too much skin.
“I asked him what sort of sexist shit he was trying to pull, but he just continued to say that I should cover myself up,” Hansson told the Kvällsposten newspaper.
The incident was reported by national media, and has prompted severe criticism from women's rights campaigners, though the bus company was quick to state it had no policy regarding customer clothing.
Sara Mohammad, chair of 'Glöm Aldrig Pela och Fadime' (Never forget Pela and Fadime), which campaigns against so-called honour culture and female body shaming, told The Local that she had been shocked by the bus driver's behaviour.
“What gives a bus driver the right to decide if a woman has 'unsuitable clothing' on?” she said.
“It was good that Amanda rejected that. I wish all women rejected this, whether it's from a bus driver, or a father, or a mother or an uncle, whoever it is. It's my body. I own it.”
After the story was first reported, both Skånetrafiken, the local transport authority in Skåne, and Nobina, the bus company, apologized. The driver has been suspended from his post until an internal investigation is complete.
Skånetrafiken's traffic director Linus Erixon immediately addressed the incident via Twitter. “Something went wrong,” he wrote. “Of course people are welcome on board our buses and trains in shorts and a camisole.”
“I can confirm that the driver was not acting out of any religious or political motive,” he told Sydsvenskan.
Skånetrafiken clarified on its website that it had no policy prohibiting women from wearing certain clothes.
“Neither Skånetrafiken nor Nobina have any policies concerning the clothing of our customers. Everyone should be treated equally and with respect.” The company formally apologized to Amanda for her “erroneous treatment”.