Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A letter to everyone's favourite bus company

I thought you might enjoy the very understated rant that I've just written. I've gone for "quietly shocked" rather than the "disgusted of Tunbridge Wells" approach, in the hope of an informative response. I'll let you know what happens!

Dear Sir/Madam,

Last Saturday night (24th March) at a quarter past midnight, I attempted to catch the Travel Coventry bus that was due to arrive at The City Arms in Earlsdon at 00:14. Earlier that day, I had checked on the Centro website to find out when the last bus to Leamington Spa was due to operate, and had seen that this service was advertised on the timetable with absolutely no indication that it would not be running as normal. I waited, along with four other people, at the stop at Hearsall Common from midnight until 00:40, when it became obvious that the bus was not going to arrive. I had no money to hail a taxi, I clearly could not walk the ten miles home and was therefore left stranded, a lone female alone in the dark in the early hours of the morning.

When I finally arrived home on Sunday I double checked the online timetable and scanned it carefully to look for any mention of the fact that this service would not be running, but could find nothing at all to indicate that it would not be operating as normal. I am unfamiliar with University term times, but a friend informed me that the bus might not have arrived because it was a holiday week; however this was not mentioned anywhere on the website. There was not even a symbol in the key at the bottom of the page that stood for “term times only”, and the date on the page clearly showed that the timetable was intended to apply to that particular week in which I had attempted to travel.

I am sure I do not need to use words like “appalled” and “disgusted” to convey the seriousness of this situation. I was extremely fortunate to have been able to call on a friend in Earlsdon who did not mind letting me stay with her. Many other young women in my situation would not have had the opportunity to find somewhere to stay so late at night. I am absolutely shocked that the last advertised service of the evening did not operate, and am still struggling to understand how your company could leave its customers with no means of getting home at such a late hour.

I am not seeking compensation for myself, even though this incident caused me a good deal of upset and inconvenience. I would however appreciate a full explanation of why this situation occurred and an assurance that it will not be allowed to happen again. I also look forward to being informed of the steps that will be taken to ensure that the online timetables are correct in future. Centro are currently advertising their services on television, claiming that traveling around the West Midlands is now so much easier than it was before. I would like to be confident in future that the information they provide concerning your services will actually be correct.

I look forward to a swift response to my concerns.


Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells said...

Find out who issues the licience - normally its the local council. You may want to inform your local councillor too :-)


A friend in Earlsdon said...

Very good letter Sarah!

I don't think I've seen you that upset for a long time! Glad that I was just round the corner, but you're right in saying that not all young women in that situation are as fortunate. It's just not good enough.

Kel said...

Go you! I think they must have a separate file for the amount of letters they get from me! he he, but there's no excuse, they get enough money from me! The same thing happened to me last year and I was stuck on campus. I sent them my taxi receipt and a letter much like yours and they sent me a cheque! Can't wait to read their reply! xx