Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Waiting for a bus

I stood on St Margaret's bus station in Leicester the other day waiting for an Arriva bus. The indicator said the bus was due at 1605. A queue formed. Nothing happened. Then the indicator changed. 1615. We waited. Nothing happened. The bus rank remained empty. Then the indicator changed. 1625. People in the queue were asking each other why the delay.
A question occurred to me. Have I wasted the last thirty five years? When I was lecturing I used to tell my students about this situation.
Transport is all about enabling people or goods to arrive at a place they would rather be or can be of greater utility. It is the arrival that people want from transport. But the promise of all transport companies must be hat the arrival is accomplished safely. The people or the goods have to arrive uninjured or in one piece. This all must be to a laid down timetable.
That is the promise that a transport company makes. To deliver a person of some goods to the destination at the time advertised and safely.
The biggest frustration for most people is for the transport company not to carry out their side of the bargain in not sticking to the timetable or not looking after the goods. Most people accept that transport cannot work like clockwork. There are elements which cannot be taken into consideration. What these people want is to be informed of why the delay or the holdup. To leave people stranded in a bus station without taking the trouble to give them some information about the causes of the delay and how the company is trying to solve the problem goes against all the principles of good transport.
I was saying this thirty five years ago but still the lessons have not been learnt.
A black mark for Arriva Buses!
For a fuller explanation see:
Chapter One of my book Managing Transport Operations published byKogan Page.