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Author Topic: "Despair wrestling with sarcasm' a worthy summing up of First bus ?  (Read 1623 times)
chuffed
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« on: December 30, 2016, 06:55:13 pm »

Bus passenger's hilarious and sarcastic letter to First Bus bosses after terrible journey home

By The Bristol Post  |  Posted: December 30, 2016

First Bus Bristol - a letter from a passenger

In a late contender for rant of the year, the Bristol Post letters page has been enriched by this beautifully scripted missive from one reader, known only as Sarah, by email. You can hear the despair wrestling with the sarcasm.

I am writing to apply for the vacancies of First Group Bus Operations Manager (Bristol) and First Group Bus Strategy and Policy Manager (Bristol).

I assume that these positions are vacant as your operations, policy and strategy suck like a kindergarten class in a lolly factory.

Thursday night (15th), betwixt the hours of 1810 and 1920 I was, with many other of your fare paying customers (don't worry, customers is a word you can look up in a dictionary if you don't understand it), waiting at the bus terminus at Cribbs Causeway for one of your modern, WiFi-equipped luxury mass-transit solutions for Bristol to come by.

I'd had a hard day's work and was tired, but no matter your new orange fronted "Best way to get down Whiteladies Road" answer to all Bristol's traffic issues, promised me a trip home, much akin to snuggling up in a finest goose down duvet whilst being majestically whisked through the city streets, watching cars and pedestrians fade into the distance behind.

It was with some vexation that I watched a fleet on your finest dreamliners arrive and depart in short order. Each one reported the destination of "Not in Service" (boy, oh boy I wished I'd moved there rather than Broomhill – it has a superb bus service, so much better than the tawdry, latrine scrapings that we have to put up with from First Group).

Sometimes I catch the "Number 2" (the appropriateness of this title is not lost on me). It means that I have a stiff 25-minute walk but who would expect a bus to take up where you want to go (more on this later too!).

Your website claims that it helps make "strong vibrant communities" and I assume that this is down to the number of people walking through places they don't live to get to where they do want to go, but the service is so unreliable that you have to jump aboard the first bus you can find that will take you to within a postcode or two.

My surprise for the night was that "Not in Service" was getting service from not just the number one's, but the number two's too. Indeed my perspective of the night was that your fleet were like a Scaletric set with busses whizzing around the route, just not doing that whole "picking people up" thing.

I thought that we had dedicated bus lanes to inconvenience the rest of the civilised world whilst you "Lorded it" in your red-roaded kingdom.

Bus stops set out from the curb to stop riff-raff from passing your mobile palaces. The rest of the world suffers whilst your buses roll though. I believed that I was witnessing and had endured many months of delays from roadworks that were down to raising bus stops to a height where people had level access and putting information boards so you know when the next bus is coming and could breeze onto the bus without leaping a chasm.

Strange that the bus service I witnessed on Thursday didn't seem to involve the "stopping" and "passenger" bits. Are these new expensive platforms for bus spotters so we get a better view of all of the buses going to "Not in Service"?

Are the boards to display cheery messages such as "Abandon All Hope", "Ha! You Suckers!" or "Don't Worry we're making £5 billion", "Never mind picking people up we just need to run a bus on time – passengers are not part of our KPIs".

Eventually a bus came. Wow! How happy I was. All my troubles over, grab the duvet I can rest peacefully whilst the bus took me home. Door-to-Door. A Dream.

Alas it was not to be. The driver said "I'm only going as far as Temple Meads".

Now correct me if I am wrong, but Temple Meads is in the middle of Bristol and is not where people live. The route of the Number One is to South Bristol residential areas (NB this means where "people live").

I've waited an hour. I watched zooming buses and now you are taking us to somewhere that nobody wants to go.

Maybe you thought (thinking about the customer for the first time) that we would be bored, tired, hungry, frustrated and angry, and the best solution would be to change the view for us. (Perish the thought that taking us home, to where we had purchased our tickets and made our plans for, should be a solution).

Remember the bit where I suggested that sometimes getting a bus near home was a good idea? I got on.The bus journey was rubbish. It got worse when, the nearer we got to town, the more people surprisingly didn't want to go to Temple Meads as they had been waiting for two hours and taking them two stops (to where even an arthritic snail could have slithered in this time) was not the solution that they were looking for.

The driver twice got off the bus during the journey (it's all right – we were all bloody good at waiting by then) to make phone calls. I don't know if he was calling for divine intervention, ordering his tea, checking that First Group were still £5 billion a year company rather than a laughing stock or what?

I got a lift from Bristol Bridge in the end. The bus driver had again stopped and got out. Temple Meads was obviously too much of a Valhalla, a pipe-dream, a wish, the unachievable goal.

I had to get someone to drive from Broomhill to Bristol Bridge. Well that's solved Bristol's traffic problems! Good job I purchased a ticket from you. I could have got a lift two hours previously had I known that you didn't fancy playing buses that day.

At some stage, someone in your underground, many screened, headset-wearing, operative ripe, map-festooned, purpose built command bunker, must have made the decision that the best way to address the lots of people waiting on bus stops was to make buses drive around the city empty, like the ballet of the clinically insane.

Maybe they were sat in a chair with a cat on their lap and a well-practised evil laugh. Maybe they were wearing a very tight, special, First-group, hi-viz jacket where the arms do up at the back, you know the ones…lots of buckles……

I'm applying for the roles of Operations Manager and Strategy and Policy Manager as they are obviously vacant.

The role of Grand-High Fudge-Wit is obviously already taken by someone who has the requisite number of brain cell and has no idea as to what passengers are, what customers expect and what running a mass-transit system is all about.






Edit note: With my apologies to chuffed, but in the interests of clarity, I've added a link to the Bristol Post item and redacted various advertising text which appeared in the original online version. Hope this helps. CfN.


« Last Edit: December 30, 2016, 10:42:55 pm by Chris from Nailsea » Logged
simonw
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« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2016, 07:45:25 pm »

Saw this online earlier today, and was very impressed with the authors contribution.

First Bus has to many long bus routes in Bristol and not enough depots and connection points. The consequence of this is that a traffic issue in one part of the city halts all central traffic, and Bus drivers run out of hours. They then have to return to depots with 'Not In Service' marked on their bus.

The solution to this is to designate trunk bus routes to cross the city and local loop bus routes that link with trunk routes, train stations, shops, schools and places of work. Then traffic issues would not grind the whole city to a halt.
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