Newest Review: ... current one are a credit to First Bus, being curteous and well mannered and generally on time. however, on my homeward journey to-night ... more
First Group Buses
Member Name: CTVicky
First Group Buses
Advantages: Some decent drivers
Disadvantages: Extortionate fares, ridiculous change policy, totally unreliable
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.
Summary: Makes you want to save up for a car
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