Welcome to The Purple Punch! A place to let off some steam and put the world to rights with a purple punch!
The Purple Punch was awarded to the Nurse who dealt very badly with me at my last appointment last week. This week Tracey from Hook & Dragons has written a Purple Punch to Stagecoach buses who clearly need better organisation skills! Enough of my rambling here’s what Tracey has to say on the matter..
The Purple Punch This Week
Hello everyone. First I must thank Ember for coming up with the Purple Punch, a brilliant idea.
I would like to award a Purple Punch to Stagecoach busses. As some of you may be aware I live in the Forest of Dean. It is a beautiful place to live, but is a rural location, so if people need to access anything (shops, services, entertainment) they need to travel.
That isn’t a problem if people have their own transport, but if they rely on busses they’re basically fucked.
Stagecoach is the main bus company in the Forest, providing busses that connect the three main towns in the forest. They run services during the day at roughly every hour.
Those of you who live in large towns and cities will probably be appalled at this. Surely no one could rely on public transport to get to work and such if they are so infrequent!
Well actually we probably could. But that is not the main problem with Stagecoach in the Forest. The thing that causes me no end of stress is never knowing if the bloody thing is going to turn up on time or at all. Stagecoach busses are notoriously unreliable. I travel to work on a bus one day a week. My job actually requires me to use the bus as I support adults with learning disabilities to access services in the community, one of which is public transport.
Most forest busses run a bit late. 5, 10 minutes isn’t too much of a problem. Often however they will be 15 mins or more late. This is where my anxiety starts to rise. Knowing there is a real risk of the bus being late means I have to catch an earlier bus when getting somewhere on time is important. Thus increasing the amount of time I have to spend out the house.
On workdays the bus being 15 mins or so late can cause stress because although being a little bit late isn’t an issue with my boss, I begin to worry about the very real possibility that the bus will not turn up at all!!
Traditionally busses sent to the forest are the oldest most knackered busses on the road. The screaming noises they make when travelling up hill are horrendous, so unsurprisingly they break down regularly. happens every couple of months. There are no fancy bus shelters in the forest with displays on for when the next bus is coming, so the only way I know if a bus has broken down is if I phone Stagecoach to ask. That’s not possible in much of the forest due to the bad phone signal.
So basically if I want to catch a bus in the forest you stand at a bus stop and wait. If I’m lucky the bus will turn up on time(ish). If I’m unlucky and the bus I want to catch has broken down I will have to wait for the next one after that to come along (if that one is working).
Now you might think that once I’m actually on the bus the stress might abate, but no. As I said the busses regularly breakdown. Being on a bus that has broken down is no fun. If I’m lucky I can sit in the bus until a replacement comes to pick me up. Inevitably the replacement will already have passengers on it so I will have to stand for the rest of the journey. Not a problem when I’m on my own, but when supporting people with learning disabilities it can be.
The most common cause of breakdowns on stagecoach busses appear to be engines overheating. If I’m unlucky enough to be on a bus with an engine that has overheated it may well catch fire. I’m not joking!. In my 20 odd years living in the forest I have been on 3 busses that have had fires on them due to overheating engines. Not massive fires, but certainly enough smoke to cause serious worry.
So that is why I would like to give Stagecoach busses a purple punch. In a rural area like the forest public transport is vital. It needs to be reliable. We deserve to have the same standard of busses as you supply to the big cities, not the shoddy unreliable ones. If you can’t improve the frequency of busses you can at least ensure what we do get are reliable.
Thank you for sharing your Stagecoach buses issue with The Purple Punch Tracey, I would find this infuriating too. How do you go anywhere!?