Wednesday 26 October 2011

A Rant about Rossendale Buses

I'm so tired of this problem, and I have been so nice about it, but the time has come to rant! When Joseph was almost 1 we moved to the Woodhill area of Bury. I knew that the 476 bus services this area, twice an hour, as I used to catch it to go to the hospital. The bus connected this part of Bury direct to the hospital. Everything was going swimmingly, and I was very happy with this service. The first sign of trouble happened when they stopped the 476 running through Bury to the hospital, claiming that it was impossible to keep to the timetable with changes to traffic contraflow in Bury.

I should have known at that point that there was trouble ahead.

A couple of months ago I was going to a friend's house on the bus and saw there was a notice on the bulkhead. Horror! The 476 was being removed altogether! I was horrified. There was no notification or consultation it was gone! The service was being replaced by the 477. This is a tiny bus compared to the bigger buses, and it runs through Ramsbottom, then Summerseat. I knew from experience that this bus is often full.

The bus company are claiming the route isn't profitable and was losing "a load" of money. I strongly suspect that when it was running to the hospital it was profitable, and now, it isn't. 

I complained. I contacted Rossendale, the told me to complain to Transport for Greater Manchester  (TfGM). Who told me that it was Rossendale's problem. A number of other passengers complained as well. But nothing. Our bus service was gone and there was not a damn thing we could do about it, and no one seems to care.

This morning I went out to catch the bus at 10am. I knew it was a long shot, as Wednesday is market day, but we had to go out today, and its a 30 minute walk into Bury. I wanted to run in, do our shopping and be back on the 11 o'clock bus. The bus pulled up, there were no other prams so I mistakenly thought I was in luck.

No. I was not permitted on the bus, not the driver's fault, there were people sat in the pram section who steadfastly refused to move. The driver apologised profusely and told me to ring and make a complaint. He drove off to cries of "where bus go?" from Joseph.

So I made a complaint, the lady I spoke to was lovely and sympathetic and told that a manager would ring me back.

Two hours later the manager called. I was horrified. He was aggressive from the moment he rang, basically told me it was my problem, and that I should get a taxi! He told me the bus was completely fit for purpose and that if I wanted to subsidise an additional route I could do. He was incredibly rude and really nasty. It takes a bit to reduce me to tears, but he managed it. He shouted and shouted, and would not allow me to speak. Surely his bus failed in its duty to pick me up, I should be angry and aggressive, not him. It pisses me off that I pay good money for transport. If I was disabled or elderly I would pay nothing. A five minute journey costs me £1.80. A day ticket is £4.00. Not inconsiderable I don't think. And surely as a customer my opinion should be listened to.

I then rang the senior manager, who has not apologised for the first manager, which is disappointing, and at least showed a bit more empathy. Basically he told me that they have asked TfGM to fund additional services as they can't afford it. So, obviously the first manager was wrong as senior management do admit the current services is not, in fact, fit for purpose.

But basically we are stuck. This tiny bus runs once an hour. There are a number of elderly people who catch it who have to stand, and woe betide if you dare to get a pram on it.

It isn't good enough, and I'm as mad as hell, not only that they have removed this service with no consultation, but that when challenged, they shout and yell at passengers. I pay good money to catch a bus and I have had enough.

But just where do you go when all the so called "public transport" is privatised and these firms can do what they wish and to hell with the passengers?

Is it any point me fighting this further or should I just go quietly?


  1. Fight it! Rossendale bus service is shocking. It cost me £1.80p to get from Waterfoot to Rawtenstall every morning, yet when I was working in Manchester the X43 only cost £3.50 from Rawtenstall into the City Centre - no logic.

    You'll find a lot of support via this facebook page too: Hope that helps - Dennis

  2. Thank you Dennis, its ridiculous, have joined and posted.

  3. Pitty Transdev Burnley and Pendle dont run in your area.