Review of "First Bradford"
First bus' new slogan "Transforming Travel" is rather apt it would seem.Being a resident of Bradford for the greater part of my life, and currently one of those horrible student types, I have taken many, many journeys across the vast mess that is Bradford. There's one route which I take frequently however, which is the 610/612 service which runs from Shipley centre to Bradford town centre via the Five Lane End's roundabout. It conveniently goes past my house - although the stop does take just under 5 minutes to walk to - and continues on its way into Bradford centre; I however, get off at my school which is roughly 1.5 miles from my house.
Now, when I was just a nipper and first stated to take this regular journey to and from school, it used to cost me the grand total of 28p. That was in 2000. Now 5 years on, the exact same journey costs me 60p. And that's not due to any technicalities; it's still half fare and still the same route. Transforming more than just travel then, also transforming your wallet rather drastically. And this is where it all gets somewhat annoying. If you sit down and try and work out where that extra 32p has gone (as I once did during a particularly boring English lesson) then you'll come to a glum conclusion. It's gone straight into the back pocket of whoever owns First buses, and no doubt, the shareholders also.Alright, they've bought a few new buses, but more than often I find myself sat on the very same buses I used to take 5 years ago, I came home today on something which probably ran on paint stripper and appeared to have been fashioned and designed from granite.
It's not going on fuel either, as they run them on tax-free diesel which costs pennies. It's not gone on drivers wages - taking inflation into account, they are paid almost exactly the same as those drivers around for the millennium.And one things for definite, it sure as hell isn't going on extra driver training. I sometimes wonder if they are shelling out to make drivers actually worse. Take a first bus these days and you'd be hard pushed to disagree. Now i'm not tarring the entire workforce with the same brush. You get some very nice drivers, those who will actually maybe smile, or at least speak to you when you pa your fare, and i'm not joking either, the vast majority of them barely give you a grunt let alone look at you. Going back to the example of my journey home today on the Fred Flintstone-derived vehicle, the driver matched his bus perfectly, issuing a vague grunt along with your ticket. He certainly didn't drive the thing in accordance with its age or size though. At one point I actually felt quite unsafe and became rather wanton of a seatbelt.
So the service is poor, the buses even poorer, and you have to sell your mother and children to pay for the ride home.
Now I know it's not an easy job when you're confronted with some of the delightful inhabitants of Bradford, and have to drive the same monotonous route all day long, but a little bit of customer service would be nice. First are taking strides to ensure the act of making a journey on public transport is a painless one. New buses are finally becoming commonplace, and some even have swanky new cameras and televisions to try and curb the ASBO behaviour which sometimes takes place on them.
So transforming travel they may well be, but at the moment it's certainly not for the better.Thanks for reading
Product Information : First Bradford
Manufacturer's product description
Listed on Ciao since: 13/10/2005