THE world has moved on in many ways since I was a child.
On bank holidays, most shops are now open along with the majority of service industry outlets and tourist attractions. Unfortunately, bus times have not moved on – many operators, Stagecoach included, still operate a (very limited) Sunday timetable.
Travelling between Worthing and Portsmouth on Good Friday, the service 700 bus was packed to capacity almost all the way, with standing room only for most of the journey (although the individual passengers came and went).
Worse, rather than the usual customers a number were carrying baggage and prams adding to the congestion. Although I didn’t personally see anyone refused access to the bus (which would have been a real nuisance on an hourly service), I did hear a lot of grumbles from unhappy passengers.
Now, a lot of people travelling were those who do not generally travel on buses regularly. Many of the remainder were those who need to for work purposes. Disillusioning these customers is a bad move since they are the ones who will find alternative means of travel- and are then unlikely to return.
For many years, progressive companies such as Southern Vectis on the Isle of Wight have operated a weekday service on bank holidays (last year they not only operated a normal service on Boxing Day, but also a limited service on Christmas Day) which has proved enormously popular with the large numbers of passengers carried.
Stagecoach really need to review their service times on bank holidays. I will defend them to the hilt when they cancel underused, loss-making evening services, but I cannot defend services which turn away badly-needed customers.