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
Far From First Rate!
First Group Buses
Member Name: GuruOnAMountain
First Group Buses
Advantages: It gets you places....eventually!
Disadvantages: Terrible service, terrible attitude of staff and over-priced!
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!
Summary: A nationwide bus company!