Monday, September 19, 2011

A heartfelt plea to First Bus

If you really must insist on 'exact change only', is it too much to ask in this day and age that you put a comprehensible list of fares on your website so we can actually have the exact change ready before we step on the bus?

Could you possibly advertise your fare changes a bit more prominently and for a bit longer, so that I don't get caught out every single time I come back from holiday?

Could you possibly make your fares a bit more logically consistent, so that a single fare after 9 or 10pm (or whenever the cut-off point is - another mystery) doesn't somehow end up costing more than a return normally would?

Thankyou for your inattention.


  1. Could you please copy this note to National Express, the Birmingham based company that runs Dundee's buses.

    Id only add that if the idea is to encourage bus use, wouldn't it just be dandy if the whole process was a little less like being water-boarded?

  2. I hate First Bus. I went to get a (very expensive) season ticket yesterday. However, I was prevented from doing so because the First Travel Centre in Aberdeen is the only place in the world that can't take your picture with a webcam, meaning you have to come prepared with a passport photo.

    How ridiculous is that? I wrote them an email, which I fully expect to be either a) ignored completely or b) replied to very sarcastically, like the replies I get from First ScotRail.

  3. In fact, here's the email...

    Dear First Bus

    I find it bizarre that you still require passport photos for new season tickets. I went to your travel centre today to buy a new season ticket, expecting to have my photo taken using a webcam. Over the past 10 years, I have had photocards for two universities, five gyms, the offshore industry's Vantage system and three work ID cards. Each of these has taken my photo using a webcam, meaning there was no faffing about with passport photos, and no need for me to know beforehand that I had to turn up with one already. But alas, when I went into your travel centre, I found that you still use 20th century technology, and thus I was not able to get a season ticket as I had not gone to the bother of finding a passport photo booth somewhere, to get four photos for about £4, only one of which I'll use.

    I thought perhaps I would manage to buy one online, by just submitting a photo. After all, this was how I was able to buy a cinema pass last year. But again, your site appears to lag significantly behind the rest of the world.

    It wouldn't be so bad if you had a photo booth in your travel centre, meaning anyone unfortunate enough to turn up without a passport photo would not have a wasted trip.

    I suppose I'll drive all the way over to Sainsburys just to get my photo taken there. Actually, maybe I should just take my car to work instead of the bus, and bypass your outdated system entirely. What do you think?

    Yours Sincerely

    Doug Daniel

  4. Reply will read something like this:

    Dear Doug Daniel,

    Thanks you for your letter/email.

    First takes great care to ensure that customer satisfaction is at the top of our priority list going forward.

    The issue(s) that you raised have been taken on board and dealt with by senior manager(s).

    Be assured of our very best attention at all time. Your bottom on our seats is important to us.

    To that end you may like to know that there is a photographic machine at the bus station in Dundee. We run a regular service to Dundee, details of which can be seen on our leaflets, available at most bus stations.

    signed Mr Diddly Squat

    Senior Customer (Self)-satisfaction Manager

  5. That'd be an improvement on the last couple of replies I've had from them, Tris. I remember complaining to FirstScotRail about how far in advance I was increasingly having to buy my train tickets between Glasgow and Aberdeen in order to get the standard advance fare, and I was cheekily told there were plenty of tickets available when he checked. He was, of course, referring to times that were completely unsuitable, which is why he could still get tickets for trains that week.