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31 Reviews
  • Unreliable & Slow, always late
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      21.08.2012 04:10

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      unhelpful staff, unhelpful policies, leaves customers vulnerable and dissapointed.

      I pay just under £20 a week for a network ticket that secures me "6 consecutive days" of travel between Cumbernauld and Glasgow, at least it says this on my ticket.

      normally I get a bus at between 8-9 am and another between 5-6. no problem there, other than the time keeping. However I found myself In glasgow late at night after helping a friend move flat "not to worry" I said to my friend, "I have my trusty bus pass which guarantees me safe passage home on any of the fine services run by First Glasgow" or something like that. anyway, I knew there was a night service N36 at 1:30 so headed to the bus stop at cathedral st. I was ten minutes early and it was a bit cold by the time the bus arrived I was deliriously happy to be boarding the big warm hunk of metal. I boarded the bus and proudly displayed my bus pass to the driver. he solemnly shook his head and pointed to a sign in his cab window, printed on an A4 sheet of paper in a delightful arial font and held fast by some tape read a sign "single fares only £2/3, no other fares accepted"

      having no other cash on me, my anguish was paramount. I attempted to reason with the driver and explain the concept of "6 consecutive days". futile. I was ordered off the bus by the driver.

      I called a taxi, it took me to a cash machine near my home and £16 later I was in my bed. fuming.
      at my next convenience I called customer service. I may as well have called batman for all the use these cartoon characters were "oh, we're sorry but it's policy. check our website for T&Cs"

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      15.08.2012 17:39

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      First as a company are a monopoly that relies on bullying its clients and Councils to provide a service they think we need instead of providing a service that is actually required. a 2 person return from Yate (area 3), means an £18-00 ticket and over an hour travelling time. A car journey, parking costs to Bristol 20 minutes and £8-00. First state they have to pay reasonable wages, pay for vehicle maintenance etc, leading to high costs.Drivers are rude, foreign, non english speaking and aggressive in their driving styles. Busses are purchased by the Councils due to bribery of removing the service. Perhaps G4S should consider bus services too! Couldn't get worse could it!

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      01.06.2012 22:46
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      Please contact driver re: this complaint

      I am a regular traveller on the No. 42 bus. I usually travel on the 06:58 from Anniesland Road to Charing cross. The last driver and the current one are a credit to First Bus, being curteous and well mannered and generally on time. however, on my homeward journey to-night the service was not up to standard. I was waiting at the stop in Bath Street, outside the Kings Theatre since 15:35. At 15:50 a 42 bus came. I put my hand out to indicate to the driver that I wished to board the vehicle. The driver took no notice of my intentions and drove straight past. I know that he saw me as he glanced at me in passing. I wish to lodge an official complaint re: this particular driver. Please acknowlege this complaint. I look forward to your reply. Mr. M. McLean, 27 Kinellar Drive, Glasgow. G14 0ET. e-mail lornamclean27@hotmail.com

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        01.05.2012 20:42
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        A nationwide bus company!

        Ah......an angry glare and the smell of stale urine in the morning. Who could ask for more? Good job I'm getting on a First bus and get both included in the cost! OK, to be fair, most of the buses don't actually smell like stale urine but that's possibly the only good thing going for them!

        First Bus, if you don't already know, is a nationwide travel company that also operates some rail services now, as well. They pretty much have a monopoly on the bus services in many areas of the UK, my area being one of them unfortunately. They are easily recognisable as they have a definite brand identity (the buses are white/cream with a stripe of colour running along the side).

        A bus is a bus, surely, though. If it gets you from A to B, then what else is there to complain about. Well, with First Bus there's quite a long list. I'll detail some of their finer points below:

        --First of all they seem to have the most horrible drivers. I'm sure that the drivers are just as depressed about working for First Bus as we are having to ride on a First Bus and their attitude to customers reflects this. My dad is a bus driver (not for First Bus!) and so I always make a point of smiling at bus drivers and saying 'thank you' when I get off the bus and I can count on the one hand how many times a First Bus driver will smile or acknowledge me in return. When using non-First Bus buses this is rarely the case. Usually the drivers will always be polite and will reply with a 'bye' or something when you say thanks as you leave the bus.
        --The buses are rarely on time or as frequently as they promise them. Today I waited 40 minutes for a bus that is meant to run every 10 minutes!
        --They are not the cleanest of buses. Some are worse than others, to be fair, and they tend to get more gross as the day goes on as I'm sure the buses don't have time to be cleaned during the day. Chewing gum squished into seats or onto the back is common as are empty cans or bottles rolling around the floor. If you're really lucky you'll get to step in someone else's spit as you walk on or off the bus.
        --Prices are extortionate! I know the cost of fuel is rising but the prices are extortionate. Not so long ago there were 4 competing bus companies in the area and the cost of a return to Glasgow was £1.90 on one of the competing companies. Now that First bus has a monopoly here the cost has sharply risen to over £5.
        --Their complaints procedure is rotten. A few years ago I was on a First Bus with a friend. We were actually travelling into Glasgow to do a sponsored sleep outside to raise money for a homeless charity so we had our sleeping bags with us. Some little troublemakers came on the bus and wouldn't leave us alone. It was only ourselves and the troublemakers and they were far from quiet so I'm sure the driver would have noticed them. They were throwing things at us, flashing us and all sorts and then started trying to set fire to our sleeping bags. The driver ignored all of this but when they called him a name, he proceeded to get out of his cab and chase them down the street. I wasn't going to complain but when I told my dad (as I say, he's a bus driver), he said that if that had been him driving and he'd seen girls being tormented like that he'd have shouted at the boys as a man intervening might be all that it takes for them to leave. He phoned First Bus to complain and they basically told him to shut up. OK, fair enough, the driver maybe didn't want to get involved but surely the driver should have some control over who is on his bus and surely the least First Bus could have done was be polite to someone who is making a complaint about an incident that could have resulted in injury or worse that happened on their buses.

        For those of you who have never had the pleasure of using a First Bus, I particularly recommend getting one late at night when the drunks climb aboard, screaming and shouting at the top of their voices. OK, fair enough, that isn't really the fault of the company, I suppose but still makes for an unpleasant experience for the rest of us. I often travel on local trains and on trains conductors ask people who are being overly unruly to shut up or get off so I don't see why bus drivers can't do the same thing.

        The other particular little trick First Bus likes is to wait until you get on and then start moving, usually very quickly and usually swerving at a sharp angle. This is particularly charming when you are elderly or in charge of a person with mobility issues. I used to work as a carer and one day I boarded a First bus with a client who used a wheelchair but was able to walk a few steps. It was easier for her and myself to walk onto the bus with another worker folding up her chair and carrying it on, so this is what we did. It was very clear that she was, however, a wheelchair user and struggled to walk. Still, the driver drove off before she had sat down (and we were by no means taking a long time to do this as usually me and the client would go on first while the other worker would sort out the tickets behind us, so the driver would have only needed to have waited an extra ten seconds or so for her to sit down). Another time, with another client, we were getting off a bus and the driver told us to hurry up, although in slightly more flowery language. Again, the client clearly had mobility issues. A wonderful disabilities policy in place here!

        First Bus really enrages me. They are an awful company who often come into an area, monopolise it and then reduce the services available and increase the prices as soon as they've killed off the competition. They care very little about their customers and offer a terrible service. If you have a choice between getting a First Bus or using boot leather, do the walking!

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          25.09.2011 12:53
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          well I've to rely on someone when I don't drive!

          First is a major bus company within the Uk. First Glasgow is part of the First Group. My review concentrates on the service provided to Greater Glasgow but moreso Lanarkshire.

          ~Services~

          As I live in Lanarkshire, First Glasgow is the main bus company who operate here. This part of the company also service areas such as Glasgow City Centre and the surrounding areas such as Renfrewshire. First Glasgow run throughout the day with many services on a restricted timetable after 7pm. There are local, express, night time and special attraction services. First Glasgow also run services to London and have a wedding fleet for hire.

          Some of the buses run local ie within the certain areas of Glasgow or Lanarkshire. In my loca area of Lanarkshire, there are buses offering connections with Glasgow, Eastkilbride, Wishaw, Hamilton etc. The bus services are of course numbered with the local area buses being 201, 240, 241, 242, 243 etc up to 267. There is an express bus from Newmains to Glasgow which makes use of the motorway.

          The bus services are regular midweek often operating on a 10min interval basis. Night time and Sundays limit services to every 30mins - 1hour and a few of the local buses (241, 245 etc) do not run after 7pm. Local depots include Overtown and Blantyre whilst it is common for drivers to change shifts at Motherwell on certain routes.

          ~Buses~

          First Glasgow offer a wide fleet of buses including single and double decker style buses as well as the occasional coach. Recognisable by their white, pink and blue design, the buses have central heating, various seating options, are no smoking and offer windows which open. Many of the buses operate a low floor for wheelchairs and prams (in specific areas) and have a ramp in some cases. Metro newspapers are offered mid week for light reading.

          Each bus has a screen to the front showing the bus number and destination (or in some cases sorry I'm not in service). Boarding the bus, you find the driver behind a glass screen and a rather chunky machine for slotting your coins in to! There is also a machine for those with bus passes to place their pass on and this produces your ticket. Notices about service changes and advertisements are dotted around each bus.

          ~Prices~

          Local prices vary compared to the city of Glasgow. First Glasgow often change their prices..well up their prices really! The best value options if you use the services regularly, are weekly or monthly bus tickets which can be purchased on board the bus. Other tickets which require your photo can be purchased at the travel centres in various towns.

          There cheapest fare is for short distances starting at 90p and then jumps to £1.55 before going on to £1.80 (dependant on area). Returns are available from £3.00. First Day tickets offer unlimited travel within certain areas from £3.00 - £5.00. First Week tickets can be purchased for 1week, 4weeks or 10weeks and are priced from £10-£136 depedant on which area you wish to travel within. Child fares are set at 75p single or £1.00 unlimited. Students also receive a discount and concessions go free. Night services often incur a surcharge.

          ~My Thoughts~

          As I said, First Glasgow is the main service in my area and I really do not have a choice to use it or not. If I need a bus, First it is. I travel a lot on buses either to do my shopping, visit my parents or go to the dentist or other appointments. More services used to be available but have gradually been run off the road due to popularity of First Glasgow.

          There is no denying First offer plenty of services. I can go quite far afield from my doorstep by purchasing just one ticket. The buses are a decent size but do get busy during peak times ie rush hour, school finishing, bingo coming out! The buses are usually quite clean though some windows could do with a good scrub. I always wonder why the buses are freezing cold mid winter - this is down to them using their heating allowance during the summer!

          ~Getting Places With First~

          Whilst there are many timetables at bus stops locally, I never rely on them as the buses very rarely run on time. Despite the 240 service being every 10minutes, I have often waited 30mins for 3 to turn up at the one time. Trying to get a bus at night time isn't easy. My sister stays in the outskirts of Motherwell and they don't run to her at night time which seems silly. We are lucky to have 3 buses per hour at night time going down our way though 2 of them turn up at the same time from different directions..if you miss one you miss them both!

          Whilst I can get in to Glasgow from my doorstep (near enough), the bus takes 50mins as it has to go through various schemes before reaching the city centre. This isn't a comfortably ride and one which I no longer appreciate. Despite being a little more expensive, I prefer jumping on the train and being there in 25minutes. When my son was in a pram, I would never rely on a bus on a Sunday. Many a time we would wait ages for a high stepped bus to arrive. Not ideal to have to fold a pram down and get a baby on a bus! The pram and wheelchair spaces are limited to 2 per bus though some drivers only allow one whilst others seem to allow three on!

          The drivers are a hit and miss (literally). Despite having an uncle who works for them, I am often annoyed by the rudeness of some. Many run so late they try and run past the bus stops and then huff and puff if they need to stop. The amount of times I have been nearly sent flying down a bus by a grumpy driver is unreal. Is it so much to ask for a smile? Customer service is long gone with First! It often feels like you are inconveniencing some of them when wanting off the bus to go home. I have had many an argument with them over their complete lack of respect for their customers.

          ~Short Hop or Long Hop?~

          First Glasgow can easily get away with charging so much for certain journeys but some seem to make prices up as they go a long. With the prices changing every few months, it can be difficult to keep up and you end up having too little money ready to slot in the machine. The latest fare system is flawed. If I need to go to the town centre (approx 5 stops away) I pay 90p single. If I need to go to Asda (6 stops away) it costs £1.55. 65p for one extra stop?? Yet it costs £1.55 to go the doctors which is 9 stops away.

          If I will be on and off buses, I usually buy a First Day ticker for Lanarkshire. It is £3.50 which isn't too bad and gets me as far as Eastkilbride. If I will be going out several times during a week, I sometimes buy the First Week Lanarkshire for £13.00. This allows me unlimited travel for 7days around my area and can be decent value for money. I do feel the weekly tickets are ideal if you work and have to travel daily as it takes the hassle out of keeping change by for the bus.

          ~Knocking Out The Competition~

          I have to add this in to show how competitive this company actually are. I was on a First bus one day, coming from my sisters home. Another service called Whitelaws operate here on a half hourly basis. The drivers literally competed each other to see who could get to the town centre first and pick up as many passengers on the way. I have never seen so much glee in one mans face as I did that day when our driver took over! I feel sorry for the other companies as they really cannot compete as none of them operate at night or on weekends!

          ~Conclusion~

          With regards to customer services, I have had to contact them a few times about missing buses, rude staff and the lack of buggy buses in certain areas. The staff at my local First centre were decent enough though complaints usually need to go through head office. All the timetables and route information can be found on www.firstgroup.com.

          You only need to peek in Buchannan Bus Station to see how big First Glasgow actually are. The prices may not be cheap and the drivers may be immature and grumpy (not all of them though) but there is no denying they are popular, regular and connect those inn Great Glasgow and the surrounding areas. It is a service which I sort of need to put up with come rain or shine. Just don't expect courtesy!

          Thanks for reading :)

          PS A quick bit to add - I haven't experience every service within Glasgow so it would be difficult for me to comment on them all. As far as city centre services go, they appear to be more reliable due to the fairly organised and time tabled nature of Buchannan Bus Station and run all around Glasgow and further afield.

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            12.09.2010 17:14
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            I still miss Midland Red, but it could have been a lot worse, really

            Ah yes, buses - the poor relation of the great national transport family. Often rather neglected when talk turns to public transport, but actually important to far more people on a daily basis than are trains, trams, boats or whatever. It doesn't help that national media coverage is so poor; I'm consistently astounded by the number of pieces which focus on London, possibly because of sheer journalistic laziness: it's a city which is *massively* unrepresentative, not least because it was the one place exempted from the (largely disastrous) deregulation of the bus industry in 1986. All we've really done, now that so much consolidation has taken place in the sector, is gone from a nationalised near-monopoly to a set of regionalised private near-monopolies.

            Of the major bus groups, First is the one I have the most experience with, seeing that they have become the dominant player both in my home area of Worcestershire and in a city I know very well, Bristol. In Worcestershire they took over Midland Red West, and over the course of several years progressively diminished the prominence of the proud old Midland Red brand (why do they *do* this? You don't see "Volkswagen" in huge letters on Bentleys) until now the only sign that it was ever there is the legal name of the operation, "First Midland Red Buses". That means we get the usual, and extremely dull, First livery of mostly white with a couple of bizarre pink-and-purple stripes at the bottom.

            Service standards on First are generally okay, if rarely anything special. In both areas I'm familiar with, there are a few long-standing grumps which don't seem to be addressed, generally to do with the age-old "nothing for ages, then three come along at once" problem. This is not quite so bad in Bristol because being a large city it has quite an intensive service on the major routes, but in Worcestershire it can mean the difference between waiting ten minutes and hanging around for three quarters of an hour. There is no easy way of finding out what's happening unless you are at an actual bus station (some Bristol bus stops have electronic displays, but they're not very accurate) and the driver of a no. 1 rarely has any idea why the 1A didn't turn up 20 minutes ago...

            The bus fleets themselves aren't too bad, although there are problems. Some of the Worcestershire buses are now more than 15 years old, dating from pre-First days (you can tell by their "MRW" number plates!) but these are generally quite comfortable - old-fashioned bench seats really are better! The very newest ones aren't bad either, though we don't see many of those on the Kidderminster routes. The buses that cause the problems are those from around five to ten years ago, when the people in charge of specifying them seemingly lost the plot entirely and ordered buses with seats so hard you go numb within ten minutes, almost no knee room for anyone over four foot three, and horizontal bars near the bottom of the windows that only work if passengers remember not to possess shoulders!

            The situation is broadly similar in Bristol, although here the problems are slightly different, as there are a lot of double-deckers in the city, a form of bus almost absent from Worcestershire these days. Again, though, lack of space is a big problem on the "nearly-new" buses, with First seemingly having followed Travel West Midlands' disastrous example of about a decade ago of getting double-deckers with so little leg room that someone like me (five foot 11) literally could not wedge myself in without sitting diagonally! Happily, the very latest Bristolian buses are really remarkably comfortable, and although like just about all buses they suffer badly in the summer when the large glass area makes them oven-like, the rest of the time they're more than acceptable.

            There are a couple of points on which I will happily praise First. The first (no pun intended!) is that they haven't followed many other operators in completely banning eating and drinking on board, instead simply asking passengers not to eat takeaway-style food, or drink hot or alcoholic drinks. I suffer from coughs and dry throats, and on a hot summer's day find a 90-minute bus trip with nothing to drink extremely uncomfortable. To be fair, I have never been told off for having a gulp or two from a bottle of water, but I'm always conscious that I'm not quite sticking to the rules. First this summer put up a poster actually *advising* passengers to drink plenty of water in order to stay cool, and I think that is the better way to go, despite the litter considerations. (On that score, the press adverts that try to equate leaving a clean, current issue of Metro folded on your seat to leaving piles of empty crisp packets there are quite, quite absurd - especially as it's the transport companies that put the papers there in the first place!)

            The other praiseworthy thing is that, certainly in the places I use them, First buses give change. And yes, that includes on busy routes in central Bristol, which rather gives the lie to certain other companies' plaintive cries that they can't possibly do the same, for speed and security reasons. Of course they could if they *wanted* to, but I suspect that they just want to make a bit of extra money from passengers who don't have the right coins! Not that I use cash for my own travel very much now anyway: the recentish "First 10 Journey" ticket, which as its name suggests is valid for 10 single journeys anywhere in a specified area, is exactly what I need and has certainly saved me a considerable sum of money since I started buying it. It's available in advance from PayPoint outlets, which I find convenient.

            That takes me on to the fares themselves, and here my opinion is rather more mixed. Bristol is the problem: it is, I believe, the largest city in England without a Passenger Transport Executive, and this means that there is no equivalent to (for example) the West Midlands' Daytripper, allowing travel on almost all local public transport for a lowish price. The fares in Bristol seem to me to be consistently a little higher than they really ought to be; for example, an off-peak adult day rover costs £4.00, as opposed to £3.50 for the equivalent in the West Midlands, which covers a significantly larger area. Fares in Worcestershire seem mostly to be considerably more reasonable, and in fact in some cases are lower than they were a decade ago!

            In general, the attitude of First bus drivers is quite good, perhaps because the need to give change means they are required to interact a little more with passengers than in places where they act as little more than driving machines. The usual toughened glass panels around their cabs are present and correct, but they're often left open, at least in the daytime, and this certainly creates a less intimidating atmosphere. Although it is quite rare for this to be needed, they do when necessary intervene with passengers who are causing a nuisance, for example asking them to use headphones rather than speakers to listen to music. My one real complaint is that one or two of them spend so much time smoking! Not in their cabs these days, of course, rather getting out briefly at stops, but you can certainly tell from the waft of air when they get back on...

            At least in Worcestershire, there has been a small campaign this summer with First putting up posters explaining how to use buses: how to ring the bell, make sure you hold on tight, etc. I'd like to think that this was because more people were starting to use public transport, but I am decidedly sceptical about that. It's a somewhat imperfect campaign: for example, one poster tells passengers who've rung the bell to remain seated until their bus actually stops, which a) nobody ever does, b) risks the driver thinking it was just an inquisitive child playing about and so not stopping in the first place, and c) is rather a problem if it's standing room only! (To be fair, this is something I encounter less these days than I used to when thoroughly inadequate minibus-sized vehicles were quite regularly used on many local journeys.)

            So overall, I think that First provides a reasonable service. I don't feel any connection with the brand in the way I used to with Midland Red (another thing the corporate types don't seem to care about), and they are a long way from being the perfect bus company. However, I have very rarely become utterly furious with their ineptitude the way I did a few years ago with one of their railway relations, First Great Western. Their bus division seems to me to be an absolutely middle-of-the-road undertaking (not literally, one hopes!) and if pushed I would probably say it was better than having Stagecoach doing the honours. I'm bracing myself for the possibility of the Bus Service Operators Grant being cut by the government, which will have a severe effect on a lot of people with no practical alternative to the bus, but for now First provide a fair service. Not wonderful; not dreadful; but okay.

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              10.07.2010 19:35

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              absolutlely without doubt the most diabolical bus service i have ever had the misfortune to have to use they dont stop when you put your hand out they miss out not just one bus but four buses so i was waiting for an hour,not for the first time,many tmes this has happend.FIRST TRANSFORMING TRAVEL ha what a joke!!

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              02.07.2010 18:47

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              First buses are terrible, in Bristol they have the second most expensive fares in the UK. It is cheaper to catch a taxi than a bus and quicker and more pleasant. FilthyIrregularRudeSlowToo expensiveI have had enough of First, and will not stand it any longer, from now on when I am forced to get on a bus I will only pay what I think the service is worth! I am fed up of being spoken to with such disrespect, driven past and sworn at, overcharged and intimidated. I cannot feel any sympathy with the bus drivers when they obviously get a massive kick out of being rude c**ts at every opportunity. If I treated the customers in my job like they do I would be sacked on the spot. I'm also sick of never getting a response to my complaints ever!!!

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              09.03.2010 18:10
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              Average Bus Company!

              Today I travelled on a first bus into Manchester town centre.

              The bus showed up on time and I was greeted by a miserable driver. He just looked at me with a blank stare and waited for me to request my ticket. I got a £4 all day bus saver ticket which means I could use the same ticket all day. I had to get this ticket as if I had got a single or a return ticket then it would have cost more than £4 which I found extremely strange. The driver took my money, issued by ticket and didn't speak a single word to me.

              When I went down the bus there were only spaces towards the back of the bus so I went to sit down. There was old newspaper on the aisle and the seat next to me was dirty from where someone had clearly been putting their feet on it.

              The bus seemed to be running slightly early so the driver decided to wait at a couple of the stops for over five minutes, we then left those stops late and due to traffic right in the town centre it means we arrive at 9.10 and we were supposed to arrive at 8.48 which meant I was late for my appointment, but then again that's probably my own fault for getting a bus that was only due to arrive just before 9!

              My return journey was a lot better, the bus was on time again and I found a seat straight away as I was one of the first on it at the station. It seemed like a cleaner bus which was strange as it had been running all day and the one I got this morning would have surely been cleaned at the end of the night? There was a few things on the floor but this was acceptable as it was clearly from people who had been on the bus all day and I understand that the drivers don't have time to go around cleaning the bus. The driver was also friendly and I noticed him having a joke with some of the other passengers, maybe the one I had this morning was just tired or having a bad day?

              My previous experiences on first buses have always been good and I will continue to use them. My main problem with them is the frequency that they run to my area is poor, yet they have a bus to Bolton something stupid like every 6 minutes and there is often three or four buses all going there! Another problem is the prices, but as petrol costs are going up I can understand this.

              I say I will continue to use them, but there isn't really an alternative bus I could use so I can't compare them to other buses. Still I think I can say it is fair to say the service I receive from them is average.

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              15.01.2010 12:13

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              First Buses are terrible!

              Where do I start!? Some of the bus timetables are invalid in the Bristol area, one time the bus driver was ill prepared with change and gave me a ticket for the next day that he said would discount me for the change he was supposed to give me. The next day when I got on to the bus the driver rudely said ''we don't take those''. I explained the situation the day before as he refused to accept the discounted ticket I didn't have any more money to pay for the journey. I was forced to walk to college and in adition I then lost my EMA money I should have been intitled to for being late!

              Also I find the bus drivers rude, unable to co-operate, the buses are often dirty, and there is no way that they can justify their monoply prices. £5.60 is the cheapest deal I get get with First Buses from Portishead to Bristol and back again with a student discount.

              This should be sorted out. Bring another bus company to compete!

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              02.12.2009 21:09
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              Only travel by bus if you have to!!

              So, my Husband got a new job and therefore I lost my lift to work, his new work was in completely the opposite direction to where I work. So, until we had the funds to buy a little run around for me I had to get the bus.

              On the face of it the bus service from my house isn't too bad on paper - buses at 0708, 0718, 0734, 0739 in a morning and 1559, 1614, 1624, 1644 etc in the afternoon. Also the bus takes exactly the route I would drive and doesn't go round loads of housing estates, so again a positive for the bus. I think this is where the positives end!

              I had to get the bus to work for 2 weeks, in those 2 weeks no bus was on time - the excuse given by the bus company was that they had just changed the route and route numbers, passengers were confused so drivers were having to explain which buses to get at the stops and this was causing delays to the service. Why didn't they put better signage at the bus stops?!

              I went out every morning to get the 0718 bus, if it was there by 7.25 I was lucky! One morning it didn't turn up at all and I had to get the 7.34 bus - it's a good job I work flexi-time otherwise I'd have been stuck!

              The buses in the evening weren't so bad for timing as I caught it from the bus station so at the start of the journey, However I never reached my destination at the time it stated on the timetable! Bad traffic apparently?! If it's everyday why don't they alter the timetables?!

              Bus Drivers - well, there are some lovely drivers out there and no doubt it is the minority that give them a bad name! Generally most of the drivers were okay and had manners and were pleasant and on the whole drove sensibly.

              However...I did witness one girl being left at the bus stop - the driver had shut the doors at the bus station, the girl came running up and knocked on the door and the driver refused to let her on, saying according to the time the bus had departed, .it was still stood on the stand!! There was no need for it!

              Some drivers seem to think they're Jenson Button and forget they're driving a double decker bus!! One tried to overtake a van on hill, needless to say he didn't manage it but he had built up so much speed he nearly didn't stop at a bus stop and everyone on the top deck nearly went flying trough the window!!

              Price...well this is one of the main reasons I got a car! £18 for a weekly bus pass or I can park in a car park 5 minutes from work for £7.50 for the week - even with petrol on top for an 8mile run and the convenience of being able to go where I want after work, it's about the same! Where is the incentive to go on a bus?!

              All the buses I used were very old buses - I live outside the city centre so we don't get the nice shiny buses they do - they were a disgrace, seats coming off, marks all over them, heating either on full blast or not at all.

              Now I'm not a snob and I don't mind using public transport but they really need to sort it out, I know they can't help the sort of people that travel on the bus, but maybe the time has come where they have a conductor or steward type person on them, you get one group of teenagers and they intimidate everyone on the bus, you get
              someone who has a grudge against paying the prices of a bus and starts tearing there ticket up and throwing it at everyone on the bus, you get the old guy that really should be in a care home shouting obscenities at all the woman on the bus because they should be at home cooking and cleaning and not out and about having fun! Some
              of it has to be seen to be believed!

              So, my experience of travelling by bus for 2 weeks wasn't really a very pleasant one, if I have to I don't mind travelling by bus, I certainly don't mind using public transport, the tram and the train set better examples for the buses to follow, but given the choice I would choose my car every time.

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                16.10.2009 15:40
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                First only get 2 stars for regular buses and large amount of routes

                I work an hours bus journey from where I live and simply refuse to pay the prices that First Scotrail charge for the journey so for over 2 years I had no other option than to use First Bus and thank goodness all is over with my need for anything from them.

                Like I say my bus journey is an hour long (each way) on a daily basis through the week (thankfully I don't work weekends). Each morning I would jump on an old and dirty bus with a driver who could not care less about the fact he saw you each and every day of the working week.
                The company charges for a weekly pass for Greater Glasgow £14.50 which I always thought was excellent value as they charge £3.50 for an all day pass but boy was I ever wrong. Recently McColls buses started to operate on the same route and whilst the buses are of the same age they are always clean, the drivers are good and remember you and for a weeks pass it is £7 or £2 for an all day ticket for the same travel.
                The bus drivers for First are very grumpy and never offer you any kind of help or warmth with myself having experienced a driver who spoke to himself throughout a journey and seemed drunk, a driver stall whilst turning onto a dual carriageway and nearly crashing into the central reserve and even a driver complain at me for using change in the form of 5 and 10 pences which is due to the company not offering change (McColls thankfully offer change).
                I have always hated using First as the bus drivers make the journey feel unsafe thanks to their ridiculous speeds yet they feel it is ok to sit and wait at a bus stop for 10 minutes to run to their timetable.
                I have never liked First as a company and thankfully now don't have to deal with them.

                Positives:

                - Regular buses
                - Numerous routes

                Negatives:

                - Poor drivers
                - Unclean and uncomfy buses
                - Expensive
                - No change offered
                - Lack of customer care

                I have not had many good experiences of First and now don't use them so can stop having all of the negative experiences.

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                29.08.2009 19:10
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                Makes you want to save up for a car

                I'll be reviewing the First Bus service in Bristol.

                I lived in Bristol for 22 years and when I moved to London a year ago, my goodness, were my eyes opened or what!

                First don't operate in London, and that becomes apparent pretty quickly.

                In Yate, about 11 miles from Bristol City Centre, the buses run approximately every half an hour on a weekday. On Sundays you're lucky to get one.

                In Bristol, different drivers price journeys differently. One day a journey cost me £1.80, and the next day, the driver attempted to charge me £2.30 for the same journey. I explained that I'd paid less the day before, and he replied, saying that it was my problem. £1.80 was all I had, so I ended up walking the three miles home.

                When we had that heavy snowfall earlier this year, First buses shut down for the day. I was doing a day's work in Bristol but had to get a First bus to the bus station, then the coach to London. The roads were gritted first thing in the morning, and barely a few snowflakes fell throughout the whole day. First cancelled all buses that day, despite the beautifully clear roads, so I had to slide the two miles down the hill to the bus station, because the paths were covered with ice and snow. The paths hadn't been gritted, they were about five inches deep in snow. When I got to the bus station, it was buzzing with National Express drivers and coaches. I got to London early on my National Express coach.

                There's also the delightful fact that First put their fares up every year. Twelve years ago an adult single to go two miles in Yate was fifty pence. Now it's £1.25. At least they tell us first; they have posters on their buses headed "We are changing our fares". Note it's changing, not increasing.

                Yes, even with the recent plunge in fuel prices, fares have still gone up.

                If you are going to Yate from Bristol Bus Station, beware. The buses are always at least ten minutes late leaving the station, and that's if they arrive at all. On more than one occasion I've been at Bristol Bus Station at 7PM when I was supposed to be getting a 5:30PM bus.

                The real jewel in the crown though, is when you don't have the correct change. It's not always possible for us passengers to have £4.45 on us; we may only have five pound notes or ten pound notes on us. If that ever happens to you, you'd better start praying. First bus REFUSE to give out change on their buses. Yes, that's right. They do NOT dispense any change on their buses. What you get is a change ticket that can only be exchanged for your money at Bristol Bus Station. So even if you only want to go somewhere in Yate, you still have to pay the £7 to go to Bristol Bus Station to change it up.

                First have systematically eaten up most of the small, independent bus companies around Bristol. They are a greedy, psychopathic corporation who only care about the money they can make off us vehicle-less suckers.

                Their service is disgusting and I think they should be taken over by the Government.

                The only good thing about them is that they have some genuine, kind drivers who will use their discretion to treat their passengers fairly. Only some though.

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                  24.08.2009 14:26
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                  Needs more competition

                  **BRIEF INTRO

                  First Group are one of the biggest bus operators in the country and control a monopoly of the market in the city I live in. It could be First, or last, choice but either way you have 'no choice' whatsoever if you need to catch a bus. This is my review of whether they meet expectations: -

                  **GOOD FEATURES

                  The city I live in has many villages, and First pretty much cover them all, as you would expect, and on paper offer regular services, some up to every 10 minutes. The buses are generally clean inside and they appear up with technology with a screen that tells you where you are and what is the next stop. This is on the Future travel buses (bendy bus) which also has customer service hosts to take your money so that the driver can continue driving - making it a quicker service. These all point towards a decent service but...

                  **BAD POINTS

                  Why do bus drivers/hosts never have any change???!!? You feel guilty if you hold a £10 note as you know they will be difficult because they dont have any change. Banks dispense £10 notes so why should we in this day and age have to go to a shop and get change? Being a molopoly makes the company, in my opinion, very arrogant and complacent. Buses can be late with no apology and sometimes rudeness but they know full well that you cant get another bus!

                  Another bad point is the price. £3.70 for a day pass is extortionate, and even £3 for a single is excessive. They try to claim that price rises (regular occurance) is due to hikes in petrol, or adding a lick of paint to the bus but this is a money making exercise if ever you have seen one. I went travelling in Oz few years back and travelled by bus/coach in most places and even a small journey would be 3 times the distance of first group yet 1/4 of the price. Service with a smile was always paramount to the journey.

                  **OVERALL

                  Dont get me wrong, there are some good bus drivers out there who do a great good in customer service and you dont mind so much passing over your hard earned cash but these are few and far between and I think First represents an over confident company. The country and media are forever getting people to car share, bus to work to save the environment perhaps First could help with a better service which includes more competitive price range to be in line with society!

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                    20.08.2009 22:13

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                    They need to be more consumer focused and listen to what their customers want.

                    I live in a remote area, there's 1 bus to town every hour which is always packed full of people. The buses are always running late and sometimes don't turn up at all.

                    I have to get to college for 9 o clock every morning and the bus is my only option. The bus times are not very well placed around the general working day. I can either catch a bus at 8.35 and arrive late to college, or I have to catch a bus at 7.35 to arrive at college an hour early. Recently changes have been made to this bus service, these changes take it through a major roundabout, during rush hour times, while everyone is trying to get to work/college/school.

                    The prices of bus tickets seems to rise constantly, it will cost me around £5 a day to get to college and back, bearing in mind this is a 10 minute car journey I think its ridiculous!

                    The decisions first makes as a company seem to be entirely focused on money rather than providing a good service for its customers.

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