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!"

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