It’s three in the morning – Merchantgate; I’m cold, I’m tired, I’m drunk, but most importantly – I’m hungry.
The bus comes around the corner. With me I take my six chicken nuggets from McDonald’s, ready to eat in bed at home. The bus driver demands that the nuggets be dis-posed of, I comply; sacrificing the nuggets for entrance on the bus.
Despite being accused of hiding the nuggets in my pants, which I hadn’t, I entered the bus and sat down.
While I am sitting there – lamenting my loss – I see a young woman enter, she has been drinking and can’t quite understand which bus ticket to buy, or where her money is. The bus driver, rather than helping her, imitates a high-pitched voice and refers to her as a “little girl”. I was appalled.
I can just about get over the chicken nuggets, but not so easily bad service and public misogyny.
This is what has underlined my distaste towards First Bus. However, this is only one item on a list of quarrels I have with First Bus.
I have been late to meetings, three gym inductions, and nearly missed a train home because of the dishonest bus timetables and general tardiness of the services.
Additionally, not only have I overseen the experience regarding the young woman above, but I have also seen drivers drive off and ignore passengers trying to enter the bus, which could have drastically affected their day.
But, what do I know? I’m only a fresher. Yes, I have only been at York University for a month. But surely this just emphasises how bad First Bus’ service is. I have only been here a month, yet have already seen questionable behaviour from a driver and have received a mostly-unreliable service.
Now, I can fully appreciate that driving a bus full of drunken and loud university students at three in the morning isn’t the most enjoyable thing in the world (I know I personally couldn’t do it) therefore, I do respect the drivers and the company for running the night service, especially as this helps students get home safe, whilst removing the need to use expensive taxis.
I believe greater effort, how-ever, should be made to ensure passengers are, at all times, treated with respect and that buses are, of course, on time – which in my opinion does not seem too much to ask. I feel the night buses in particular should take steps towards ensuring a sense of wellbeing towards vulnerable students; these are buses specifically catering to those on nights out. Whilst no bus driver should ever have to tolerate utterly inebriated or blatantly anti-social students; slightly drunk, rowdy and/or hungry passengers are arguably to be expected on buses transporting clubgoers to and from town in the early hours of the morning.
I believe this context surrounding night buses should be encapsulated into the approach taken by drivers towards their passengers.
A little understanding and sympathy for the poor soul who’s lost their friends and found a burger would be, I believe, greatly appreciated by the student body, and I do believe that this would also minimise the disrespect that some students have towards the drivers. Mutual respect, in my opinion, is the way to make our bus service both more comfortable and reliable.
As someone who has worked in retail for two years now, I under-stand how annoying customers are, and despite the awful comments I have had made to me, I have never belittled or shouted at a customer. It can’t be too hard for some bus drivers to do the same. At the end of the day we are paying for these buses – is a smile too much to ask?Just to finish off I think I have to mention my second largest pet hate with this service: the bus time-tables.
I think anyone who has ever used the bus service has probably gone through this same problem; you’re sat at the stop, the timetable says the bus is coming in three minutes, which would be great, if that wasn’t a heap of utter lies.
The bus is “coming in three minutes” for something like nine minutes, and then after this the time inevitably changes at least four times, from a reasonable three-minute wait, to most likely something around twelve.
I understand that buses are going to be late, and that traffic and other hold-ups are sometimes unavoidable. However, if the bus is going to be late, I would rather be notified of the hold-up than be continuously lied to. That way I can plan my journey better and provide a more accurate estimation of my arrival time. Come on First Bus,