October 25, 2005

Now it's My Turn.


I knew the time would come. I need a vent for the anger that builds inside me. The new Stagecoach pink buses are shite.

Even that helps. I'm sure every last person in Leamington trying to get to Warwick University feels my pain. I live next door to an ex-X12 driver and now a dispatch worker and he agrees they have a serious problem.

Need evidence? I almost had the photograph that would have been front page Boar material. Whilst walking down the parade to south Leamington, on the opposite side of the road, in the space between the top crossroads and the town hall were four, yes four, U1 pink buses. Sodding four of them! Print cannot convey the strange amusement I drew from it and the sheer astonishment at the situation.

What was it they said? The new timetable will prevent bunching. If my mobile phone had a decent camera i'd have got the lot of them in frame. It was a joke. I might have laughed at the time, but it did piss me off thinking i'd be screwed had I been on one.

Only this morning the eight past bus went five minutes early leaving me to wait for the twenty past. When that turned up and left at quarter past I started to see something forming in my brain that might explain the bus services current plight. More on that shortly. By the time we reached the top of the parade, the twenty past bus I was on, overtook the two buses infront of it. So as a threesome we ran to uni. So I wasn't late, as the bus would normally have been in getting me there.

Ok, so the parade is causing some issues, now with the middle bus stop missing on one side confusing old people tempers are starting to fray. The other thing i've picked up on is the fact that downstairs now fills up first on the buses rather than the top as it has done over the past two years. Yesterday, I found out why. The radios on the top are seldom tuned in and the buzzing and squealing drove me nuts.

The other day my housemate and I waited nearly 40 minutes for a bus. Two went past in the space of a minute just as we got ready to depart the house. Then the long vigil at the bus stop meant I was late for an important project meeting. Which buses were the ones we saw? and where the hell were the ones in the gap? Which one was the one we caught? Argh. To top it all off, there is this trend for U1's to stop at the top of campus and sit for some twenty to thirty minutes before leaving. In which time two buses will have just driven straight past without stopping. It's then that the bus driver informs you he doesn't leave until ten past and we should try to get on one of the buses that leaves before him. Then why did you get here first?

The other thing that's catching me lately is the random buses that only go as far as the railway bridge on the way back. They don't go to st helens road (the official start and end of the route) or sydenham. Looking at the timetable they are supposed to go to st helens road. But becuase it's easier to just go to the depo from the bottom of town, they seem to do this.

My next door neighbour and I have agreed its an attitude problem on the bus drivers part. They all have a stop they like to make up time at. Ever got on a bus and it's sat there for some twenty minutes? Feel sorry for the sods who are waiting for it at the bus stops behind it. The big bald bus driver the route has likes to stop at the bottom of sydenham to make up his time for example. Some sit at the parish church and grab a bite to eat from the newsagent or some sit on campus. Some want to get to the driver swap as soon as possible as well. So there is this growing trend for buses to just past stops even if they are early. To carry on driving regardless of the fact that they aren't supposed to leave that stop for another five minutes. Screwing the entire timetable and bunching things up.

What's the net result of all this? It seems to be more appreciation from the customers. Don't get me wrong, in previous years i've been the only guy to say thanks, no everyone does it. Which is nice and polite of us all. Perhaps though if we were more vocal about the idiocy of the situation things might change. Rant over. Meh.



- 9 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. Sounds like it's worth keeping a bus diary for the next couple of weeks, to present to Stagecoach as evidence. Surely, for the kind of service I've heard so many people complain about this year, you've got some kind of right to a refund. There must be some kind of bus watchdog (Ofbus? Ofpis?!) who can enforce a passenger's rights in this respect.

    26 Oct 2005, 00:21

  2. Complain as loudly as possible to Stagecoach and the Students Union. This is exactly the kind of thing the Union want to hear about – they can't do anything unless people present them with complaints like this.

    I know what you mean – I saw 4 buses parked up on campus the other day. They didn't fit into the bus stops, and ended up pissing a load of taxi drivers off by blocking the road out of the Rootes taxi rank.

    I think it's a tactic they're employing – they run a load of buses together, so rather than there being an even spread of passengers they can go to the Union and say "look! Half of our buses are running empty! We're afraid it's not financially viable and we're cutting our services!" It wouldn't surprise me. Stagecoach back at home (Chesterfield) are equally shite.

    26 Oct 2005, 01:23

  3. RE: Bunching Buses

    You may not have had a chance to take a photo, but when we were witness to this somewhat amazing view sitting in Xananas the other week, I just had to snap it:

    26 Oct 2005, 11:56

  4. I think you've hit the nail right on the head. I've heard so many people complain about waiting for ages then 2, 3 or 4 buses turning up at once. Surely it wouldn't be such a big job to sort it out. See: link

    26 Oct 2005, 13:42

  5. Lewis Henson


    Seriously though, is anyone surprised at how badly this has turned out?

    26 Oct 2005, 13:53

  6. It does sound like it's worse than it ever was while I was at uni (I graduated this year and used Stagecoach 10–16 times a week throughout my second year (2002–3)).

    26 Oct 2005, 14:30

  7. I've seen a timetable on the net which suggests that in addition to the 5 services an hour there are 'additional services during peak times' that run just from the parish church to campus, and this seems to be the cause of the busses that end at the railway bridge and don't go any furthur.

    I'd complain to the union but we all did that last year – got bus diaries and stuff and got them to add in extra buses and improve the service.
    This year it's worse than it was before they made the changes – one can only assume that ex-welfare saab Carly Braddock had photographs of stagecoach officials in comprimising positions but now she's out of the picture they're safe to do what they want and fuck us over again, as long as it makes them enough money to afford thier underage whores. Allegedly.

    29 Oct 2005, 22:49

  8. simon

    Nice comments.As a bus driver myself i am sick of dumb students getting on my bus in Leeds going to the uni giving me a 10 pound note for a 60p fare.If they have a pass its wedge in the botttom of the bag and i have to wait 3 mins before they find it.You want to know why we run late it idiots like you.Then when we do turn up late we have to waste time explaining why we are late whuch makes us later.You want the buses to run to time then help us out.

    09 Jul 2006, 01:13

  9. Hey,

    Point taken. But it also pisses me off when people get on the bus and hand over notes and wonder why the driver doesn't have any change at 8:00 in the morning when he has had no fares. It also pisses me off when (often girls) have their pass right at the bottom of the handbag. I lived next door to a bus driver of the very route I complained about. Not only are we good friends but he's in agreement.

    The problem lies with dispatch and with the fact that places like sydenham having six bus stops in the space of half a mile perhaps.



    10 Jul 2006, 19:05

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