My local bus company – Stagecoach – runs a monopoly public transport bus service in Basingstoke and they’ve recently decided that they’re going to cancel their services in large areas of Basingstoke because they’re not – allegedly -profitable. I was sufficiently outraged that I wrote a complaint letter.
As a customer service department of a bus company whose service is often referred to with the alliterative phrase, “Pretty piss poor”, you must get a lot of complaints, and scant praise. I would to take this opportunity, therefore, to offer some praise. I use the Number 7 bus service in Basingstoke between the bus station and Cranbourne Lane. To say that this service has been patchy and unreliable at best would be something of an understatement, so I’d like to thank the management team at Basingstoke for offering a novel solution to solve this unreliable service with your “New and Improved bus service” notice, by scrapping it entirely. Providing me with no bus service rather than a patchy one will certainly be a massive inconvenience to me, but I’m sure it will at least cut down on the number of complaints you receive; and the management team is to be commended for putting the needs of the customer complaints department – sorry, customer services – ahead of those people who normally pay for their service.
Of course, it would be churlish of me to offer praise without putting forward some constructive criticism. First of all I must wonder whether the management team are aware that people who don’t have a bus service, generally cease to give bus companies money. Secondly, and I know this is going to be a minor point to management team that, in all likelihood, don’t rely on the good running of the bus company, people who don’t have a bus service don’t, as a general rule, have a bus service. I understand that large number of people not having a bus service when a bus company has been given a monopoly to run the public transport system within a town may be a minor point, but to those of us seriously affected by this change, it’s a bit of a sore point.
It has been argued this morning around the soon-to-be-defunct bus stop on Cranbourne Lane, that the Basingstoke management team couldn’t run a piss up in a brewery. I think this is unfair. I think the Basingstoke management team have – in all likelihood – run a singularly successful piss up in a brewery and came up with this new and improved bus service whilst three sheets to wind after the second case of Tennents super-strength and Jager bombs did the rounds.
On a final point, and I hasten to mention that I am not normally a stickler for correct spelling, punctuation or grammar in general, but like many people I have noticed a tendency for marketing agencies and management teams to use the English language in new and interesting ways (some may say, “strangled to within an inch of it’s life”, but I digress). Stakeholder, for example, originally meant “a person who holds the stake in a bet”, and thus originally had the implication of “someone with no direct interest in the outcome of an event”, which over time became to mean instead, “people with an interest in the outcome of an event”. However whilst, “New” in “New and improved timetable” is accurate in that new changes have been made, and whilst “improved” could be argued to be accurate in that I won’t be able to complain about your service anymore, I must protest that the use of the term “timetable” is wholly misleading when a non-existent bus service does not have a timetable.
PS: I do understand that the number 7 will be replaced with an hourly number 12 service. Whilst this is technically “a bus service”, since it doesn’t start until 7:26 in the morning, and I take the 7:30 LINK bus onwards to Newbury, unless Stagecoach have invented a new form of bus that treats the laws of physics with the same disdain the management team of Stagecoach in Basingstoke apparently treat their customers, it’s not going to be of much use to me.
I am waiting for a response. I am not, however, holding my breath.