“How can a convoy be profitable?”

First buses.
First buses.
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This letter written to the Star was sent in by Vin Malone, Gleadless Valley, S14

Having just read the article on our amateur bus service, it’s true buses are often late and also missing but I don't believe it’s down to the drivers.

I have the misfortune to live on the 56 Herdings to Wybourn bus route. My wife and I went to catch the 09:28 that stops close to the Wyvern pub. In the queue were just five passengers. I was the last of three to get on; the two before me were Burmese or Tibetan men and they could hardly speak English, so the driver was up against it trying to understand just what fare they wanted. It took four minutes for him to solve the problem and it wasn’t his fault. Now multiply this problem up to five times on any route and that leaves the bus at least 15 to 20 minutes late. Now, when these late buses reach their terminus some of them are instructed by radio to put the “not in service’’ on the indicator and run to the other end of the route to try and catch up. I still can’t work out just why buses end up in a convoy of up to three, with just a handful of passengers scattered on all of them.How can a convoy be profitable? First, or SYPT, should re-open centres to enable passengers to buy the travel tickets, or to top up their smart cards, as the issuing of these does contribute to the lateness of services. Roadworks and traffic build up is also a factor and putting up fares just won't help. Why do buses come down Pinstone Street, then down Furnival Street, then round the island at the bottom only to return back up Furnival Street to continue the journey at the back of Debenhams? Why not just turn right at the end of Pinstone Street? Can you imagine the saving on the cost of fuel by doing this; it will save thousands of pounds. But then again, I only see it first hand unlike the First hierarchy who have never travelled on a bus.