A bus company has issued an apology for attempting to rebrand their Pride bus.

Earlier this week, Plymouth Citybus came under fire after they shared pictures of their new rainbow bus on Twitter, which was rebranded from one showing support for LGBTQ+ Pride to one showing support for the NHS.

“Rainbows have become synonymous with hope and the NHS during the current pandemic,” they wrote, “so we thought what better way to show our thanks to our amazing NHS and key workers, than to re-brand our Pride bus to our rainbow NHS bus?”

The ‘NHS bus’ caused a huge divide on social media, with one Twitter user writing: “Congrats, this is offensive to both the LGBT+ community and the NHS workers, who deserve better than hand-me-downs.”

Another wrote: “The rainbow is the only universal symbol celebrating LGBTQ rights. There are so many other ways to celebrate the NHS without erasing that. Im sure this was meant well, but it is hugely Ill conceived.”

One person – who claims to work for the NHS – called it a “shit move.”

The backlash prompted Plymouth Citybus to release an official statement on both Facebook and Twitter.

We would like to apologise if the use of our pride bus to support the NHS and key workers has caused offence. This was not our intention. Our team have played a huge part in @PrideinPlymouth for many years,” they wrote.

“We are an all inclusive company representing the community we serve.”

The Facebook post was flooded with comments from people who insist the company have “nothing to apologise for.”

One wrote: “For god’s sake what is wrong with people, if they don’t like it then walk. I don’t only clap for the nurses, I’m doing it for all frontline workers, that includes, nurses, bus drivers, postman, doctors, care workers etc.”

“Nothing to apologise for. People seem to look for things to be offended by these days,” said another.