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A taxi driver saved the day!
Member Name: SusanLesley
Date: 17/07/01, updated on 17/07/01 (268 review reads)
Advantages: Taxi ride home, Natinal Express did pay for everything
I have decided to tell you all a story of our trip to The Lake District, or rather our stressful return journey at least. It is intended to show you that it is worth standing up for what you are entitled to and that it pays to complain.
Let me set the scene for you. My parents, my sister Helen and I had been to Ambleside for a holiday so that Helen could get some information about Beatrix Potter and some drawings for her ‘A’ level art thesis. We had travelled there using National Express coaches with no problems.
When the time came to return home we presented ourselves at the coach stop in plenty of time for our return journey. Us Davis’ are like that – better to be half an hour early than five minutes late!
We waited and waited but no National Express coach came. Eventually I rang the office to ask what the delay was only to be told that it had already gone and that we should have flagged it down as it went past. I asked how that could be, as we hadn’t seen any National Express coaches go past us at all. She told me that it wasn’t actually a National Express coach it was one from another company on loan!
I’m sure that you can work out my next question can’t you? I asked her how I was supposed to know which coach to flag down, as every second or third vehicle in The Lake District is a coach! I pointed out that as it was a pre booked journey surely the driver should have had a running order and been expecting to see us at the roadside waiting.
She didn’t have an answer for this so I asked her what she was going to do about getting us home. She told us to go to Windermere Railway Station and that National Express would pay our train fare home.
We caught the bus to Windermere Station and enquired about the trains to Walsall. The members of staff there were very helpful and efficient and gave us all the details including the fact that we would have to change train
s twice during the journey. Mom and dad were resigned to this, but I was not happy. Dad had a dodgy hip at the time and we had specifically booked with National Express so we could travel directly from Walsall to Ambleside and back again, which would mean that there was no need for any excessive manhandling of luggage. The train would also have got us home much later than the coach which we had originally booked and Helen and I had tickets to go out that evening.
The gentleman at the station suggested we had a taxi home (I bet you were wondering where the taxi came in weren’t you?) I laughed as I thought he was joking. I didn’t think a taxi driver would be prepared to drive that sort of distance, but he said he’d go and ask for us. The taxi driver said he would be happy to take us if he could ring the National Express office and clear with them that he would be paid by them on production of his account.
Mom and dad said we’d be OK on the train but I didn’t see why we should struggle when the problem was not of our making, so I decided to ring the office again. I explained the situation to the lady there and she said that it was OK to use the taxi and to get the bill sent to her for payment.
The taxi driver then rang the office to check everything was in order and we were on our way.
We arrived home in time to go out as planned, as we were dropped at the door of our house instead of in the centre of Walsall, which was nice.
BUT I hadn’t finished yet! I was so angry at the inconvenience that we had suffered, especially as it was extremely hot on the day that we were waiting around and trying to get home. I told dad that I would write to National Express to claim back the money spent on the bus fare from Ambleside to Windermere, the cost of all the peak rate long distance telephone calls, and the money which dad had given to both the taxi driver and the gentleman at the station to show our
gratitude for all their help.
Dad thought that I wouldn’t stand a chance of getting anything and he offered to split anything I did get 50:50. It took me three letters to National Express but I eventually got a cheque to cover all of our expenses, including the tips, plus some extra for our inconvenience!