Saturday 8 August 2009

A negative bus journey and the kindness of strangers.(Cornwall by public transport V).

A sorry journey

Our last day was a trip to the lovely beach at Perranporth and the journey there was an example of the worst service that we had experienced in our whole holiday.

It began with attempting to buy our ticket on the No 403 Summercourt Travel bus from Truro, Victoria Square, at 10:45h on Friday 7th August. The return fare was £5.60 for 2. When I tried to pay with a £10 note I received the curt reply “no Change, only exact fare.” No further explanation, no apologies for inconvenience.

So we scrimped our remaining change together – and fortunately made the fare and boarded.
One stop on, another passenger with no change received the same curt, unsympathetic treatment. Since he had no change – he had to miss the bus, to his vented frustration and the driver's rude verbal riposte. A later passenger also nearly had to get off – were it not for the kindness of a stranger (see below).

At another stop a lady and her daughter boarded and asked about the service – The drivers comment - which had also been given to other alighting passengers - was “we don't travel very often” . So the lady and her daughter got off again to wait for the next bus. Note that “not very often” was actually an hourly service until early evening around 5pm.

Three potential customers were lost on that journey and others alienated.

Now, to be fair, we all have off days and this might have been an exceptionally bad one for the driver. However, the whole travel experience left such a bad taste in our mouths, that we resolved to make the return journey with the Greyhound 587 in the afternoon, despite needing to buy another ticket.

So what have been done differently? An apology and an explanation – plus an indication of alternatives; a more accurate explanation of the journey times, these small things would have made a big difference in the customers perception. The traveller might need the bus, but the bus also needs the passengers.

The kindness of strangers

Two youths, strangers to each other, boarded the bus. The first, a young woman, again did not have the right change when getting on and was in danger of having to get off. The following youth seeing her predicament, generously and unselfconsciously bought her a ticket - unconditionally (i.e. without trying a follow on chat up!). This was followed by her initially reluctant but then gracious acceptance.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.