Where’s the Bus? Late Again!

Posted: 29/11/2011 in General
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

This is going to be a mini rant about the current state of the bus service in two places I am most familiar with, Telford and Derby. Obviously I don’t know if this will strike and resemblances with anywhere in the country but I would hazard a guess that they do!

Trent BartonVillager V3

My other half-lives in a “village” just outside of Derby and from where she lives there is only one bus into the city. That is the Trent Barton Villager V3 bus, it runs every hour and it must be the most unreliable bus service I have ever come across. It’s not all that uncommon for the bus to turn up 5-10-15, hell sometimes even 25-30 minutes late, or sometimes not at all. In fact it’s a bigger shock if the bus actually turns up on time. Out of all the times I’ve used this bus service there is only once when I remember it being on time, and that was at a time slot when it’s ran by another company. If you follow my girlfriend on Twitter (@palmetto_rose) you will have seen tweets from here about how unreliable this bus service is.

Arriva in Telford

Now my issue with Arriva isn’t the fact that they are always late, Arriva buses in Telford on the whole are generally good at keeping time, my main issue is that they constantly raise prices. I wouldn’t mind if the bus service from where I live was as frequent as everywhere else (most places in Telford enjoy a 10-12 minutes gap between buses. For me I’m looking at between 20-30 minutes). It’s incredibly annoying!

How Can They Get Away With This?

So how can Trent Barton and Arriva get away with this? The answer in my opinion is quite simple. Lack of competition. There is no competitive bus company running the same routes. This means that bus companies can raise prices with no fear of being undercut and they don’t have to worry if the “odd” bus or three turns up later or doesn’t show up at all. There is no competition to take their custom away.

Think about it. Say you had someone who’s job it was to print an information book that no one else could print and there was no danger of being fired then that person wouldn’t work at their full potential. Where as if somebody else suddenly started doing the same job and was doing it better then the first person would have no choice. Either pick your game up, or you will be gone.

In Telford, at least over a decade ago, there were two bus services. One was Midland Red and the other was Timeline. I do firmly believe that having two different bus services helped to keep one another on their toes. Granted they ran different routes but it wouldn’t surprise me if the threat was always there in the back of their minds .. “Hey if we do poorly then maybe the other company will take all of the routes”. Nowadays there isn’t that fear.

All in all, whilst sometimes I am unhappy with my bus service in Telford, I have to feel extremely sorry for Nickie, who lives just outside Derby and has to wait an hour for a bus that is more often than not, late. It’s a service that shouldn’t be tolerated, and how Trent Barton get away with it on a regular basis is beyond me.

Thank you all for your time 🙂

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