Sunday, 24 August 2014

New First Cymru services starting 1 September

Amongst other changes, First Cymru will be commencing two new services of particular interest from Monday 1 September.

There'll be a new Swansea - Carmarthen direct service, the X12, running 4 times a day, cutting journey times by 40 minutes. With journey times of an hour and return tickets for £5, this will provide decent competition with the train. While the train takes around 45 minutes to travel between the two, with a return costing nearly double First's fare, I expect the new service to be a success.

In the Bridgend area, there will also be a new X7 service from Cymmer/Maesteg to Cardiff. I'm particularly interested in this as I've felt for years that direct bus services between Cardiff and Bridgend have not been explored properly.

First run 2 services between Bridgend and the capital - the X2 which takes around an hour through Cowbridge and the Vale of Glamorgan on the A48, then through Ely. There is also the Greyhound which takes half an hour from McArthur Glen Retail Outlet but sadly there are no day ticket options for passengers using other First Cymru services in order to catch the Greyhound, and while ticket prices online are relatively cheap, the reality is that the train is more frequent and similarly priced. As a result, from my experience at least, patronage between Bridgend and Cardiff is very low.

The new X7 takes 42 minutes from McArthur Glen to Cardiff bus station, calling in at the service area just off junction 35 of the M4. It will be interesting to see if passengers use the service in Pencoed as there are no other public transport links to the stop, which is a long walk from the centre of Pencoed. Maybe we could see passengers using a car to drive to a bus stop - common with rail travel but not with the bus.

What will this mean for the Greyhound and the X2? Most bus services serving Bridgend stop at McArthur Glen so there is connectivity with the X7 for most routes. Using the X7 would save around half an hour by changing at McArthur Glen. Given the extra time it takes to get to Bridgend town centre, the X7 is a very real alternative to the train, plus prices are cheaper. Also, First's South Wales all day/weekly/monthly etc tickets can be used on it and so passengers won't have to pay extra, unlike the Greyhound. The service is unlikely to make any difference to passengers travelling from the east and south of Bridgend.

I expect patronage on the Greyhound from Bridgend to virtually disappear and that X7 buses will be full. As the service uses the motorway, passengers will not be allowed to stand and I foresee passengers being refused entry, especially at McArthur Glen.

I would also expect more direct buses between Bridgend and Cardiff as the X7 gains popularity. I think First are on to a winner with it.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Farewell to the 244

Much has been made of the attempts by the Welsh Government to reduce the amount it spends on the free bus pass scheme and the battles with bus operators in Wales. While this has seemingly been resolved and, in no small part I suspect to the threat issued to the Welsh Government of a judicial review into this, the cut to funding won't be anywhere near as severe as anticipated. Stagecoach announced a number of cuts to services and while there isn't the scope in one blog piece to announce or discuss them all, I'd like to look at their decision to remove the 244 - resulting in the end of direct buses between Pontypridd.

In the late 1970s there were two buses an hour between Pontypridd and Porthcawl - a 244 and a more direct 240 which bypassed Brynna and Llanharry. The service was clearly popular and operated to the same frequency on a Sunday! By the mid 80s, National Welsh were still running 2 buses an hour though the 240 was tweaked and became the 241 and only ran to Bridgend. 244s were run from both the Porth and Bridgend depots.

During the demise of National Welsh and the sale of a number of depots, Rhondda buses continued to run an hourly 244 in competition with National Welsh's Bridgend operation. When Bridgend finally closed, SWT continued to operate the route as 44, eventually deciding to terminate in Talbot Green as opposed to Pontypridd. Stagecoach, of course, bought out Rhondda buses and continued to run the 244 while Badgerline and then First took over SWT and became First Cymru.

Competition along the busy Pontypridd - Talbot Green corridor increased in 2009 when Edwards started operating service buses in response to passengers dissatisfied with Veolia's efforts. In 2011, following the demise of Veolia Transport, First Cymru dabbled along the Beddau - Pontypridd route and extended the 44 to Pontypridd again. Both that and the ill-fated 400 disappeared quickly as First got their hands burned in competition with Edward.

First's attempt was never likely to succeed on the 44 - competing with 7 buses an hour along some stretches when they had no other services in the locality was doomed from the start. Stagecoach, while only operating hourly, at least could provide a service for its passengers travelling from elsewhere on one of its many services to Pontypridd.

I'm slightly surprised that the 244 has been given the elbow. I've always found decent loadings on it; light in some parts but occasionally standing in others, especially between Talbot Green and Llanharry and (surprisingly) between Brackla and Bridgend (where in my opinion, First don't operate nearly enough buses given the size of the area).

What now for bus passengers wanting to commute between Pontypridd and Bridgend? Try Edwards and First. It's not much of an issue if you're a concessionary bus pass holder but for a fare payer who uses Stagecoach regularly, the trip now becomes an expensive nightmare. The only alternative is a 150 to Trebanog/Tonyrefail and change to the 172.

Now, people from Llanharry and Brynna have one bus an hour - communities who have supported their scant bus services.

I wonder if Stagecoach have managed the decline of the 244? Until 2012 the 244 ran using the 130 bus (Blaenrhondda - Pontypridd, then on return to Ponty changed to 130 again), using 38 seater Darts. From my experience I've seen plenty of occasions where virtually every seat was full at some point. When Stagecoach improved the 120/130, putting new branded vehicles on the route, it added the 244 to the 150 service, meaning 24 seat Solos were now used on it, resulting in standing at times. I heard passengers complain about this on a number of occasions and it definitely affected patronage ("I don't like those little buses" was a phrase I often heard around Bridgend).

I have a feeling that Stagecoach's decision to cut the 244 will bite them quite hard and will affect patronage on other routes. I wonder if they will end up reconsidering - after all, they won't know what impact culling the route will have until it happens.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Cymru Clipper

On Monday, First Cymru unveiled the 'Cymru Clipper' - combining their network of interurban services under one banner. This comprises of:
X1 Swansea to Bridgend
X2 Porthcawl to Cardiff via Bridgend
X3 Swansea to Maesteg
X4 Neath to Bridgend via Port Talbot
X5 Swansea to Glynneath
X11 Swansea to Carmarthen via Llanelli
X13 Swansea to Ammanford
X58 Swansea to Banwen / Coelbren.

An all-day ticket for use on the Cymru Clipper network is £5; weekly £20; monthly £75.

Sounds good and fair play to First for coming up with some initiative. However, I see flaws in the plan.

If you don't happen to live close enough to walk to a bus stop on the Clipper network, you'll need to get another bus. An all day ticket now costs an extra £1.70 or it's a regular thing, an extra £2 a week.

Bridgend happens to be the most expensive area in South Wales to buy a weekly bus ticket. Someone living in, say, Pyle could travel to Cardiff or Carmarthen every day on the X1/X2 or X1/X11 and pay £2 a week less than someone travelling from the top of Kenfig Hill (over a mile away from Pyle) to McArthur Glen retail outlet. That can't be right.

Monday, 18 February 2013

App-y at First Cymru

Technology. It's long been my opinion that some bus operators have been slow to embrace it.

First Bus have produced an app available for iPhone or Android, now available for download. First impressions of it are very positive. It automatically selects the region, though this can be changed easily. Users can search timetables which, while they appear as a long list for the region selected, are searchable and easy to navigate. Fare information is available (but not single or return fares, strange that most bus operators want to keep those to themselves....) plus service updates and links to their Facebook and Twitter pages. Users can view route maps and there's a section for checking the times of the next buses at a particular stop, though whenever I try to do something with that, the app crashes, but bugs can always be expected of a new app. One pity so far is that it doesn't seem possible to view or download whole timetables or even the booklets on the First Cymru site, but for me it's more user friendly than their website and is more likely to be my port of call for information. 

Great work by First.

Now a Stagecoach app would be very handy as I use them more often, but I'm not holding my breath of one appearing any time soon.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Green and red

Stagecoach in South Wales are rolling out a green-light system to show how well their drivers drive. GPS equipment on board which detects numerous movements each minute is able to show how harshly a driver brakes or accelerates, how much they swerve in and out of traffic and so on. The system, which can be seen by the driver using a green, amber, red light system, can show immediately how well a driver drives a bus, plus they can also find out online afterwards how they perform.

Such a system is common in a few other parts of the UK. The main motivation for installing such a system is to provide savings on fuel costs, especially with the reductions in BSOG (Bus Service Operator's Grant, which provides a tax rebate on fuel used in service).

However, if drivers are going to be penalised for harsh acceleration and braking, tight timetables are going to struggle even more. Routes that struggle to maintain time are going to struggle even more to the point where they may well have to be rescheduled, or Stagecoach will feel the wrath of fines from VOSA. In some cases, any efficiency savings from using less fuel may well be cancelled out, or may even cost the company more, in using extra vehicles/drivers to maintain the timetables. Who knows, maybe the system will cost some routes more than it will save them? What will happen then? Frequency cuts rather than extra buses to maintain the same service levels?

Interesting times ahead, that's for sure!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Then Three Come Along....

What's the old saying? Something along the lines of you wait for one bus and three turn up at once? Well, there's three little bits of news to post so I thought I'd do it in the same post. 

On Monday, Stagecoach started operating their new 10 minutely 120/130 service as they had hoped to run back at the end of last year. The 244 Pontypridd - Bridgend is slightly amended and no longer runs to the Royal Glamorgan Hospital. Also, all 132 services run between Maerdy and Cardiff when previously the 18 past from Cardiff only went as far as Pontypridd and passengers wishing to go further had to change onto the X32. The X32 timetable leaves Maerdy 7 minutes later at 12 minutes past each hour and Cardiff at 45 minutes past (3 minutes later than before) but services before 8am remain the same. The 120/130 services no longer serve Trehafod but the 132, which previously didn't, does. The X32 doesn't. It'll be interesting to see if the extra 132 service eases the pressure on some of the morning X32s, which seemed to be more popular than the 132 between Maerdy and Pontypridd, despite running exactly the same route and timetable.

Stagecoach have also announced the return of the Rhondda Megarider. Two years ago it was removed and the only weekly ticket option was the Megarider Gold. Priced at £18 I believe it is cheaper than it was before its removal. With the addition of a number of new vehicles, Stagecoach are clearly targetting the area and believe they can generate more growth. I can well imagine that the disappearance of the Rhondda Megarider would have caused a number of complaints. Compare this with First Cymru, who haven't invested in new vehicles for a long time now and operate a fleet of mainly P to T reg vehicles around South Wales. Bridgend doesn't have its own weekly ticket; passengers buy a First Week ticket that covers them across their network (cunningly disguised as a Bridgend weekly ticket with bonus of travel across all of First's buses in South Wales). Bridgend now has the highest cost of a local weekly ticket anywhere in South Wales. Terrible.

Mentioning First Cymru, they have decided to extend their Greyhound service to Newport and Bristol Airport from Cardiff and Swansea. Tickets from £6 from Cardiff and £10 from Swansea (the Bridgend option doesn't work for some reason). Pity the £1 fares from that date appear to have gone but tickets between Swansea and Cardiff are available for £2.50. Does South Wales need 15 coaches a day between Swansea and Bristol Airport? Who knows? It's certainly a brave venture by First and good luck to them with it.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

Today saw a spot of snow around South Wales. Actually lots of snow. Many roads are unpassable. Yet despite the weather, people need to travel and hope that their buses and trains run despite the conditions. Back in December 2010, around 10 inches of snow fell on a Friday. Needing a few important items (not bread and milk!!!) I trudged through the snow to my nearby supermarket. Very few cars had dared to venture out, yet a local bus operator had managed to get a minibus to operate a service. I was gobsmacked to see it crawling along in deep snow, more amazed by the fact that it was, in fact, full. Were there really people waiting for a bus in such snow despite the fact that hardly any cars on the road? It would appear so. Incredible! This operator certainly doesn't have a website so it couldn't have informed passengers it was operating a single bus.

Talking of keeping passengers informed, needless to say bus companies phones would have been red hot all day, not to mention Traveline. Increasingly, operators are turning to the power of the internet to pass on information. Most decent sized operators have their own website for conveying information and Cardiff and Newport Bus kept regular updates.

Social media is also becoming a very popular way of getting in contact with passengers. More and more people use the likes of Twitter and Facebook as a way of keeping in touch and as such is a useful, sometimes vital tool. Here are two examples from Cardiff Bus and First Cymru, who along with Newport Bus must be commended on their efforts to keep people up to date with their travel situations.

Of the major operators only Stagecoach's social media presence is lacking. They don't currently offer updates on Twitter or Facebook. As has been previously mentioned, their website updates can be hit and miss and today saw another example. Nothing updated from 13.21 yet later that day they operated a few services in the Cwmbran area as can be seen on a Traveline update. I wonder if the passengers who used them were like the ones I saw on a clapped out minibus just over 2 years ago who must have been waiting for a bus purely in hope that something might turn up despite all the odds! Surely it's time now for Stagecoach to embrace social media? As a certain fictional market trader would say "You know it makes sense!"

Friday, 14 December 2012

Stagecoach vs Internet

Regarding my post a month ago where services 120/130 and 244 were to be updated, well, they haven't. Apparently a shortage of vehicles and drivers is to blame according to one driver. Stagecoach updated their online timetable for the 244 a month ago in preperation for the change, and have since changed it back, neither were announced on the website.

Also, there's still no information on their website regarding Christmas operations (unlike any other operator with any sort of website in South Wales).

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Websites and service updates

First Cymru have recently announced some service alterations on their website

These are due to start on January 6th.

Stagecoach, as previously announced, are altering a few of their services to take place from December 1st. This is their service update page:

Note the amendment to service 120/130 is an old update, not the one to be implemented next month. So far, there's nothing to tell the public that a few services are due to change. Recently they added a 1600 service 172 from Aberdare but didn't mention a thing on their website. The current 244 timetable is showing as the one that will commence from Dec yet nothing alerting any users of the route to the fact that it is due to change. One beauty on that screenshot above is the introduction of the rail road ticket from Maerdy to Cardiff, which was added to their website the day after they introduced the ticket!

Credit to First Cymru, Cardiff Bus and Newport  Bus for always being on the ball with letting passengers know about updates to their services through their website. I can't say the same with regard Stagecoach, unfortunately.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Stagecoach service changes

From Dec 1, services 120 and 130 are to be increased from half-hourly to every 20 minutes, meaning 3 buses an hour to Caerphilly from Pontypridd and the Rhondda and an every 10 minute service between Pontypridd and the Rhondda Fach.

Also, from that date, service 244 will be changed slightly. It will leave Pontypridd at 42 past the hour and Bridgend at 10 past. It will no longer serve the Royal Glamorgan hospital.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Another about fares

Here's a simple comparison of a few random bus journeys that I have discovered the fares for. Included are operator, journey, cost of single fare, distance as driven, and cost per mile. 

First Bridgend McArthurGlen £2.25 1.8 £1.25
First Bridgend Ynysawdre £2.75 3.1 £0.89
Stagecoach Aberdare Maerdy £3.40 5.2 £0.65
First Bridgend Kenfig Hill £3.45 7.2 £0.48
Stagecoach Tonyrefail Bridgend £5.00 11.5 £0.43
Edwards Pontypridd Talbot Green £3.55 9 £0.39
Stagecoach Aberdare Bridgend £7.00 24.9 £0.28
Stagecoach Mountain Ash Pontypridd £2.10 7.8 £0.27
Stagecoach Merthyr Tydfil Cardiff £4.90 25.1 £0.20
Newport Bus Newport Cardiff £2.00 16.3 £0.12

First Cymru don't come out of this all that well. Their single fares appear to cost more for the distance served than other operators. In the 2011 Welsh Bus Passenger Survey their fares were considered to be the least value for money. A single from Bridgend town centre to the nearby shopping outlet costs £2.25 for a journey of less than 2 miles, which is pretty ridiculous if you ask me. Maybe it's no surprise that a number of services have seen reductions in frequency from Bridgend, given that passengers are expected to come up with such high fares. Recently, First Cymru have said they aim to reduce the average of their fleet to 8 years old, which by my reckoning would involve replacing around 20% of their oldest buses with brand new. Lots of work to do there then.

An interesting stat is that it costs over £2 more to get from Aberdare to Bridgend (the single is actually £7.10 but a £7 explorer does the job) than it does to get from Merthyr to Cardiff, despite it being a slightly shorter journey. Competition is clearly the key here. Take a single from Mountain Ash to Pontypridd. There are half hourly trains available at £2.40. Then take a single from Aberdare to Maerdy which costs over 2½ times per mile the cost of the Mountain Ash - Ponty ticket. Is there any competition? No, of course not. Similarly, there's no competition between Tonyrefail and Bridgend, hence the high cost of that ticket. If Stagecoach applied their miles per £ rate for the Mountain Ash - Pontypridd ticket, a single would cost £5.10. Would anyone bother? I doubt it. More worrying is that if the same route was priced at First's Bridgend - McArthurGlen ticket, a single between Mount and Ponty would be a whopping £9.75!!

There are clearly many discrepancies in ticket prices and it would appear that operators are happy to charge what they like on routes where they have no competition. Maybe it's those routes that funds the cheaper routes where there is competition.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

One about the Network Rider

In case you didn't know, South East Wales has it's own multi-operator ticket. It's called the Network Rider (or Network Dayrider with Cardiff Bus). Sadly, the mere fact that it doesn't have a universal name gives an indication as to its acceptance and availability.
In West Yorkshire, there is a MetroDay ticket, costing some £2.50 less than the South Wales equivalent. Not only is it cheaper, but it is universally accepted by all operators in the region (the asterisk merely says tickets for use on special event services). Weekly metrocards are available and, again unlike the Network Rider, monthly, quarterly and annual versions can be bought too.

Back to the Network Rider. Day tickets are accepted and issued by Edwards and Newport Bus, but not weekly tickets. Neither tickets are issued or accepted by First Cymru, Harris Coaches and Thomas of Rhondda. In other words, it's a bit of a hotchpotch of a ticket. Being a part of the scheme is entirely optional, which might explain this. 

In my opinion, it's time that the ticket was made compulsory for all operators in South Wales - those who refuse are not allowed to operate. They can sort out revenue distribution amongst themselves. It's also time that such tickets were available as monthly, quarterly etc. Sadly, the Welsh Assembly, SEWTA et al don't seem to have a joined up way of thinking about how to provide public transport effectively enough.
They should closely monitor the likes of the wymetro and see how others do it more effectively and cheaply.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

How much longer for the Greyhound?

Today it was announced that First are pulling the plug on yet another Greyhound route, meaning the only one that will be left running will be the Swansea-Cardiff service. It's another withdrawal in First's bus operation, one that may not be all that surprising given First's history.

So what for the Greyhound in South Wales? Apparently it's set to continue for one solitary route. Are First missing a trick with this, though? I think they are.

Go back a couple of years and the current Greyhound service was run as the Shuttle 100 service. On rebranding, the number of services was cut slightly and halved on Sundays. The original 100 service was reasonably well used and, from the few times I've used the service over the last few years, I can't say I've noticed much difference in patronage due to the rebranding. There are a handful of cheap tickets available on line but I find that those who book online are in the significant minority.

The big question for me is why is it run as a coach service? The journey is under 45 miles long. Shorter than Stagecoach's services from Cardiff to Abergavenny, Brecon, Newtown and Hereford. Why First decide then to operate it as a coach service and detach itself from its bus operation to a large extent is a bit of a mystery. True, passengers in Swansea can buy a peak return ticket for the Greyhound on a local bus and get their local travel free, but the same doesn't apply to passengers in Bridgend. Neither areas offer free local bus travel for the cost of an off peak return. Weekly and longer season tickets are available for the Greyhound, but at £6 extra a week or £20 a month, the Greyhound makes regular travel more expensive. In fact, from Bridgend, it's more expensive than using the train.

What would I do? I'd operate it as a bus service, using quality vehicles (ie not like most of First Cymru's aged fleet). Buses would be low floor and of a similar standard to the ones they use on the X2 or preferably the ones Stagecoach use on their X4. It wouldn't be a "special route" - First day and weekly tickets could be used on it. Free bus pass holders wouldn't be charged. That would open the route up to a whole new market. Bridgend in particular suffers with a lack of direct services to Cardiff compared with the likes of Pontypridd and Merthyr, yet people in Bridgend are expected to pay an additional premium for such a service, which I find ridiculous. Such a move I reckon would make it compete with the train and would make the service a viable option for many, where it isn't at present. First won't admit as such, of course....

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

One about scheduling and punctuality

Punctuality is important. Passengers prefer buses turning up when they are timetabled. The Traffic Commissioner takes a dim view of poor punctuality and can fine and restrict operations because of poor punctuality. However, it sometimes appears that bus operators regard punctuality as something they are forced to keep to avoid fines etc.

How do operators measure punctuality? One major operator in South Wales has inspectors at bus stations at random times recording the time its services leave. How accurate a picture does this present? Not very, if truth be told. Take, for example, a service that arrives at a bus station 12 minutes late. It then has 10 minutes layover (the time between its scheduled arrival and next departure), picks up a couple of passengers, then leaves 3 minutes late. Buses are classed as being on time if they are up to a minute early or up to 5 minutes late, so this bus would be classed as being on time, even though it was late arriving with the potential for passengers to have missed a connection as a result. Fiddling with stats? Of course.

The problem is, though, that more buses on a route = more expenditure for the operator. PVR (Peak Vehicle Requirement) is a common phrase in the industry which gives the highest number of vehicles a route needs to operate at its busiest time.

Take a service that goes from A to B in 50 minutes, has 10 minutes layover, then takes 50 minutes to get back to A, then has another 10 minutes layover. It takes 2 hours from leaving A to leaving A again. Suppose that service operates every 15 minutes, it would need 8 buses to operate it (4 per hour for 2 hours). Then shave 5 minutes driving time each way from the route and 5 minutes from the overall layover, and instead of a bus needing 2 hours, it then only needs 1 hour 45 minutes. At every 15 minutes, that means needing only 7 buses to operate it, saving a vehicle and fuel, and the expense of a driver - in other words, lower operating costs. This in turn can make help keep fares lower (I'd like to think so in any case). The comprimise may be that some services have such tight schedules to save money that they have trouble remaining punctual and are constantly rushing around to try and keep time.

On the other side of the coin, buses that spend time waiting at stops due to early running, or at stations are not productive. Buses on the road picking up fares are productive. Passengers tend not to like waiting on vehicles that are making up time (when drivers bother that is).

Clearly scheduling is a difficult thing to get right. Giving too much time to a route equals more cost to the operator, resulting in higher fares and less profits, whereas too little time may keep fares down but results in much passenger frustration. For me, the balance should swing towards passenger satisfaction and increased punctuality, but I dare say bus operators look at the other side of the swingometer and profit is the most important thing. Thankfully, the likes of the traffic commissioner, even Wales' newly appointed bus monitors, can punish operators who run services that are not punctual enough.

Fining operators who have punctuality problems hardly addresses the issue, though. Who ultimately pays for the fines? Passengers.......

Sunday, 7 October 2012

One About Fares - Availability of Information

Fares. One of the most talked and complained about aspects of bus travel. Like anything that requires money to be handed over, there'll always be an opinion as to whether something represents good value or not. There are many aspects regarding fares, so I'll make a number of posts on this and look at different angles as I see them.

For this one, I've chosen to look at the availability of fare information. Both Cardiff and Newport bus operate exact fare policies and have a very simple pricing structure. As an example, this demonstrates Cardiff Bus' all day ticket options:

Neither operator gives change on board, but fare information is easily available at most stops and can be seen on the outside of most of their vehicles. The result is that the vast majority of passengers know how much their journey will cost and will have the correct money to pay their fare, resulting in quicker loading times (than drivers having to give change).
The other operators in South Wales sell single and return tickets from A to B, plus a variety of all-day, weekly, monthly and longer tickets which generally allow unlimited travel on their services, dependant on ticket type and area of validity. Information for these all-day, weekly etc tickets are readily available from operators' websites, Stagecoach in particular have an excellent 'Tickets To Go' booklet, which is sometimes available on board and can be downloaded from their website, and lists all of their daily and weekly fares, together with local area maps.

However, neither of them offer any information about the costs of their single and return tickets. This is disappointing in a number of ways. Supermarket prices are available on their websites if you log into their home delivery sections. Train fares are readily available. In fact, I think I can look up the cost of most things online, bar single and return bus ticket prices (this will be looked into further in a later post).

A chance visit to Stagecoach's Oxford website makes for interesting viewing - a pdf with fare charts for all of their routes, so passengers can find out exactly what their fare will cost (as seen below).

Surely this should be the norm for all operators, and all single and return fare information should be easily obtained?

Saturday, 22 September 2012

The one about sausage and chips

Two ladies get on a bus, one with a wrapped polystyrene tray of food. A short while after getting on, she takes the paper off the tray and consumes the sausage and chips. Leaving no mess behind, eventually the two ladies get off the bus.

On arrival at the next bus station, an elderly woman approaches the driver to complain about the smell from the food, saying how it upset her as she's not a particularly good traveller, and asked what the company policy was on eating food on the bus. The driver informed her that they don't allow hot food to be eaten on board and would have dealt with the situation had he been aware of it.

This wasn't enough for the woman, though. She continued to complain. However, the passenger eating the sausage and chips was sitting on his side of the vehicle and was out of view. She was sitting half way along the bus and the driver couldn't smell the food. Nobody complained to the driver at the time. He would have been completely unaware of this. Despite the driver pointing this out, the lady was adamant that something should have been done.

How is a mystery. I'm not aware of clairvoyancy skills being part of Stagecoach's recruitment procedure. Still, the elderly lady wittered on at length and is planning to write a letter of complaint. If she felt that strongly, why not approach the driver at the time, or even the lady in question? The mind boggles....