Tuesday, 5 September 2017

An Open Letter About Appalling Bus Services In Kent

Dear Stagecoach

I know that we have a kinda love -hate relationship, but today it is a real hate one! I know that to you as a company, I live in a part of town that isn't used very much by paying customers and that the council has cut the funding to keep the service going. So we had services cut and I dealt with it. It means that in the coldest of winter months, my daughter has to walk into town with my youngest daughter when I get home from working in Folkestone, then she hands her over to me and we have to walk home again (did I mention that sometimes it's the harshest of weather for a little one). My daughter then gets a bus to her house. This is awful, but I kinda get the whole funding problem and I feel a bit neglected by you guys.
So then you have this super idea of shaking up the whole East Kent bus services, apparently it was to make services easier for people (this is where I am getting angry). Does it FUCK! Now instead of it taking an hour and a half to get home from folkestone, on a 5.30pm finish - I can't even get home at all! How is this supposed to make things easier for people? Making it easier to line your pockets more likely! Cutting valuable services to save some money, no doubt. So the last bus leaves Dover to Deal at 17.50pm and that is it for the night. Logistically it is impossible for me to finish at 5.30pm and get a bus from Folkestone to Dover in time for 17.50pm. I am sure that I am not the only person that travels from Deal to go to work in another town. The 18.20pm bus that i was getting always had at least 7 people on it, so how will those 7 people get home?

Then to top all the bus change crap off, I got the bus from folkestone to deal yesterday afternoon. Firstly you do not allow enough times for the buses to do the route! I was using your bus tracker as I was on the bus (feeling like a loser for counting the time between the stops) and the bus stop times do not take into consideration the traffic on Mill Hill/ Mill road, where cars double park and the bus struggles to get down the hill. So the bus will forever run late. Then yesterday as we pulled into South street, I got off the bus and saw my new service number 84 leave the bus stop EARLY!!!!!! I have a once hourly bus service and it went, early. I went to the top of South street where there is a bus stop and tried to flag the bus down. I shouted that he left early and held my phone up, pointing at the time. The bus driver seemed to find this extremely funny and laughed as he waved his hands. Yes he took his hands of the steering wheel! He then put his foot down and carried on driving. Fuming doesnt even start to describe how pissed off I was at his whole attitude. Its hard enough getting to grips with the new services and the busses don't even run to time and the attitude of one of the drivers absolutely stinks.

So I phoned up your customer service number and I was close to tears as she said to me to put it in an email. I know she is probably told to tell everyone to do that, but how is writing an email going to actually get me home? I had heavy shopping and needed to get home to my child. Do you know how upsetting it is to be held back from gettting to your child? There is no worse feeling in the world. Add to that the anxiety that I suffer from and you can imagine how upset I was.

I pay enough for the 'luxury' *add sarcasm here* of a bus service and when I do use it, it never runs to time. Mine isn't the only complaint that I have seen on social media, so I ask you 'Are you listening to the customers?'

Its not just the customers that are getting a bum deal from these new services, its your staff too. When you employ a lot of people, you really need to treat them with respect that they deserve. The bus drivers and customer service assistants are the people on the front line and they are the ones that take the grief from the customers. Yet they didn't even get given their rotas until a week before the new services were due to start. This is not a way to treat your loyal and hard working staff. Sure, you were probably tweaking the rotas still but, you must have had some idea of what they were going to do! Suddenly as well as getting to grips with new rotas, they were thrown in at the deep end with new routes and bus services too.

I really think something has gone wrong with Stagecoach lately and as a very disappointed member of the public, I will not be using the bus to get to Folkestone anymore because the service has been taken away from me! It would really be nice if something could be sorted out for later buses to Deal.

From a Pissed off ex-customer

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