Tuesday 18th August : Plymouth
The Plymouth paper points out:-
.. on The Hoe faced waiting times of more than an hour before they were able to board a bus to car parks at either Coypool in Plympton or The George in Southway.
Where were First's senior managers?
The pavements were rammed with confused travellers and buses started arriving at seemingly random stops.
No surprise there, surely?
We’ve done our best to find other staff but have struggled.
A minibus load of the lads from Bristol? A batch from Weymouth? How hard did you try?
Not good enough we know but we’re trying to be honest. Those who did volunteer were just that ‘volunteers’ – most were not getting paid to drive or supervise.
Lastly with the weather being so good last night it also meant that there were a lot more people attending last night than we would have expected.
We are very grateful to Citybus who helped clear the big queues at the end of the evening (and they have, naturally, sent us their invoice!). So once again we apologise for how long it took to get you home last night.
There is no excuse for bad management. At one point First referred to supervisors and stewards "usually provided by Plymouth City Council". Sounds a bit like buck-passing, doesn't it? fbb remembers a big rail replacement job relatively early in the tenure of Stagecoach at South West Trains. Who was there, managing? None other than Uncle Brian Souter himself, the mega boss in person! Plymouth was not that big, so Fearnley could stay at home beslippered and comfy, but the lack of people in Plymouth with the authority to sort things out was inexcusable.
Despite this inability to arrange pea soup at the brewery, the anger was only expessed by a very small minority; most Plymothiams and visitors had a super-smashing evening and accepted the chaos with standard British "sang froid" and stereotypical stiff upper lip. Many even thanked First on-line for doing a good job under difficult circumstances.
How will Stagecoach cope in 2016?
Tomorrow we ask the same questions of SouthWest Trains, erm, a Stagecoach company. Where was the management?
But First are marking their departure from Plymouth with a splendid event for the "hairies".
fbb wonders whether they will have enough drivers?