Letter: Bus strike, no one will know the difference
This letter sent to the Star was written by S Collins, Shiregreen
It’s Friday, June 14, and I’ve just been shopping at Firth Park. There are two First buses on Shiregreen that go to Firth Park, the 75 and 76 services, there was a lady at the 76 stop who had been there over 15 minutes in the rain. I went out for the next 75, but I missed it because it sailed passed me while I was still walking towards the bus stop, it was early. I walked it to Firth Park, it took me nearly 20 minutes.
I duly did some quick shopping and went to the bus stop for a 76 bus to take me home. The electronic bus screen showed a 76 due in five minutes at 10.55am, at 10.54am it changed the 76 to cancelled. There was a further wait for eight minutes before a 75 bus arrived, which I got on but which is a longer journey to my home than on the 76. There wasn’t a listing on the screen showing which buses were next due to arrive. Half way home on the 75, and what passed us coming in the opposite direction, two 76’s. The 76s should be about 12 minutes apart, but clearly they were not. Meanwhile, what happened to the 76 that was cancelled? Did it disappear down a hole? It’s nothing new on this service, believe me.
Now the ironic thing is that while shopping I bought a copy of The Star, which had front page headlines for the second day running about a proposed bus strike because the staff want more money. There are signs on the sides of some buses for recruiting more drivers. The signs indicate a salary of £21K. Presumably, there might be overtime too, for those who want it. £21K is not a huge salary these days, but it’s only just under the £24K average wage in the UK, so there are a heck of a lot of people earning far less than the £21K being offered to drivers, and who can’t afford to go on strike. The proposed bus strike will hit normal working people needing to go to work, to medical appointments, and other business needs. I’m sure most people wouldn’t complain about the drivers wanting more money, but with things at the moment there’s a lot of people on a lot less money than them. I understand the drivers wish for more money, but First really need to sort their services out and then perhaps more people will take to the buses and First will get more income. For example, I was recently stood on Arundel Gate and there were drivers waiting for buses to arrive to change over drivers. One of those clapped out bone shaker buses, with seats as comfortable as concrete, arrived on my 76 route. It’s a regular on this route. One of the drivers was due to take over this bus, and the rest of the drivers were taking the “micky” out of him for having to drive that bus. That says something when the staff recognises how bad that bus is.
As for the strike, the way the service runs on this route some days, no one will know the difference.