National Express, Nice and Easy?  (read again
National Express, Nice and Easy?  (read again
Where in Waterlooville? (read again
Not only have National Express (NEx) replied, but they have obviosuly read (and considered) the whole series of fbb blogs. The reply was received very early on the morning of 24th December and is published here in full as an example of how to deal with stroppy, grumpy and dissatisfied customers. fbb has added a few comments by way of explanation.
Dear Fat Bus Bloke
Actually they wrote to an un-aliased fbb!
Your comments and concerns about our Portsmouth to London services have been brought to my attention.
First of all I'd like to apologise for any inconvenience caused to you, your wife and your friend Julia, when you travelled with us earlier this month.
I note your comments about the facilities at Portsmouth, Hindhead ...
... and London Victoria Coach Station and I'm sorry you found them inadequate. As I'm sure you will appreciate, National Express do not own or operate the vast majority of the stops we serve and we therefore have little to no jurisdiction over the provision of the facilities. However we will continue to work with the respective proprietors / authorities to bring about improvements that will benefit our respective customers.
I realise that having to wait outside in the cold for your late running coach was bad enough and I apologise that the temperature was not warm enough once you got on the coach. This clearly spoiled our efforts to provide you with a comfortable and enjoyable journey. We've asked our maintenance team ...
Well, Luckett's man with the spanner. They run the service under contract.
... to check the heating system and air conditioning and take any necessary remedial action to ensure there aren't any further issues.
We always do our best to ensure that our services run as close as possible to the scheduled time. However as I'm sure you will understand, with the vagaries of road travel, problems do sometimes arise, often outside of our control, which can lead to a delay. It was extremely unfortunate that both your journeys on 6th December were affected in this way.
I take on board your comments that the impact of the delay to your return journey could have been reduced, had a station staff member commenced the boarding process in the driver's absence. In an ideal world we would do exactly that, however with vast the number of services departing from Victoria at any one time, and the limited number of staff we have, this isn't always possible. I do agree that an apology and explanation for a delay is basic courtesy and this matter has been followed up with the people concerned.
We now have GPS trackers on all our coaches which, over the last few months, has helped us to build a bigger picture of how each of our services run on a day to day basis. With this new package of data, we are working with the operating depots to see how particular patterns or trends may be causing our services to run late, and what we can do to help with this.
Turning now to your comments about the information regarding our stops at Waterlooville; thank you for bringing this to our attention.
The bus stop flag that you photographed is one that is owned and maintained by the council and although, as above, we have no control over this, we have asked them if they will update it to avoid any future misunderstandings.
Our Planners have advised that there is correct National Express signage ...
Actually, this contradicts the previous paragraph; so something still to sort out there.
... and a current timetable at the stops we serve in Waterlooville, although I note your comments about our description of where to find these stops. We have since amended these descriptions to reflect the location more accurately.
I'm really sorry that this wasn't a good first experience for you and we'd very much like for you to give us another try. To try to make amends, I'll be pleased to provide a complimentary ticket for you, your wife and Julia to use on a future journey. Please let me know if this will be of interest for you and I'll be happy to arrange.
fbb and party are off to Guildford in the new year and, subject to timings being OK, will accept the NEx offer to try again. Thanks folks.
Thank you once again for taking the time to provide feedback. We welcome all thoughts and suggestions on how we can improve our network and/or individual services and we implement changes where we agree it will be of benefit.
Please therefore contact us directly if you have any further comments or concerns.
Although the reply took some time, the author thereof has obviously read fbb's blogs and taken noter of the concerns. The next trip will be of interest and a further visit to Waterlooville will confirm whether the stops have been "sorted".
But thanks, NEx for a thorough and agreeable reply.
Power to the Blog! And fbb just loves the pictures of the "traditional" Victoria Coach Station on the windows of the waiting area.
Ah, those were the days!
Next Bus Blog : Friday 28th December