Compensation for Public Transport Problems

An account of how I gained deserved compensation from Stagecoach for unacceptable delays to their X8 service between King’s Lynn and Fakenham

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INTRODUCTION

This post is mainly taklen up with an email exchange between myself and various people at Stagecoach, who since they took over Norfolk Green have run bus services ion my local area. Last week, after five successive journeys that were late, sometimes by very large margins I decided it was time to contact Stagecoach about the X8 route between King’s Lynn and Fakenham, which I use to get to and from work, at a cost of an hour’s wages per working day.

THE EMAIL EXCHANGE

This starts with my opening email, sent on Friday morning, 24 hours after the last of the five delayed journeys in question…

THOMAS’ OPENING GAMBIT

This is the text of my initial email, with the subject being “poor servcice on X8 between King’s Lynn and Fakenham”:

To whom it may concern

I use this service to travel to and from work, and it has been plagued by punctuality problems for some time. This week the situation has finally become so 
unacceptable that I have decided I have to write to you. My working days this week were Tuesday, Wednesday and yesterday, and in chronological order the 
experiences I had were:

Tuesday AM: bus was over 20 minutes late at King’s Lynn (it is supposed to leave at 8:45, and both 8:55 to Spalding and 9:05 to March which were running to time 
came and went before it).

Tuesday PM: bus was over half an hour late.

Wednesday AM: bus was 15 minutes late at King’s Lynn.

Wednesday PM: bus was over 10 minutes late

Thursday AM: bus was just under 10 minutes late at King’s Lynn (The 8:55 to Spalding was already standing in bay C, so this bus used bay B).

Thursday pm: Mirabile dictu this bus was actually on time.

Five buses out of six being not just late but significantly late cannot be considered acceptable by anyone. I also point out that as someone who is very conscientious 
about arriving in good time (especially given that this service runs hourly) I spent considerably more time waiting for this buses than documented above (5+ minutes for 
each journey). As a final point, this bus service is expensive enough that each journey swallows an hours wages. I would like to suggest that what has happened this 
week is sufficiently unacceptable to warrant financial compensation. My suggestion is that given an expenditure on my part of £20.70 compensation of £15 would be 
appropriate. If you agree, you could send a cheque to:

Thomas Sutcliffe
117E High Street
King’s Lynn
Norfolk
PE30 1DD

As a final point, I have various press contacts with whom I could share this story, a well supported blog and an even better supported twitter account. Just how hostile 
to you my final write up of this story is depends on the speed and nature of your response to this communication.

Yours sincerely

Thomas Sutcliffe

THE FIRST RESPONSE

That afternoon I received this initial response:

Message Received: Dec 11 2015, 03:14 PM
From: “Amy Fields” 
To: “Thomas Sutcliffe” 
Cc: 
Subject: Re: Poor service on X8 between King;s Lynn and Fakenham

Good Afternoon Mr Sutcliffe 

I am sorry to hear the circumstances that have brought you to contact us. 
We will be looking further into the matter and I will be passing this over 
to the Assistant Operations Manager her attention who will be in contact 
in due course regarding this matter,

Would you be able to advise me if in the morning it is always the 8.45am 
bus you catch in the morning and would you be able to let me know what 
time you catch the bus home so that we can look at the correct journey.

Please accept my sincerest apologies for the delays you have been 
experiencing.

Kind Regards
Amy
Stagecoach in Norfolk
Hamlin Way
King’s Lynn
Norfolk
PE30 4NG

Tel: 01553 776980
Email: amy.fields@stagecoachbus.com

Registered Office : Stagecoach (East) Ltd, Daw Bank, Stockport, Cheshire, 
SK3 ODU. Registered in England & Wales No. 1673542

http://www.stagecoachbus.com/codeofpractice.aspx
http://www.stagecoachbus.com/conditionsofcarriage.aspx

I duly fired back this response of my own:

Dear Amy

Yes – the 8:45Am is my regular morning bus, and the one that applies to all the journeys mentioned in the initial email. My regular bus home, and again the one that applies to all the journeys mentioned in my first email is the 17:38. I look forward to learning the final results of your investigations. 

Thomas Sutcliffe

RESPONSE AND RESOLUTION

Finally, this afternoon (given that I sent my initial email on a Friday morning I considered Monday afternoon to be not unduly tardy), I received this message…

Message Received: Dec 14 2015, 04:06 PM
From: “Lisa Addison” 

To: thomas@thomassutcliffe.freeserve.co.uk
Cc: 
Subject: X8 Service

Dear Thomas,
I am writing in response to your email dated 11th December 2015 regarding 
service x8
Thank you for bringing this to my attention and I apologise for any 
inconvenience caused
I have investigated your comments regarding the Kings Lynn and Fakenham 
departures due to depart at 08:55 and 1738 hours respectively. On 
investigation and after tracking the services via our Greenroad system, 
which is GPS based, I can confirm that unfortunately the journeys stated 
were indeed operating excessively later than scheduled. One of the reasons 
for this is due to traffic related issues in both arriving into Kings Lynn 
in the mornings but also the service departing from Norwich in the 
afternoon. The second is that the vehicle that operates both the AM and PM 
journeys operates a school service prior to the X8. This more than not 
incurs lateness primarily down to departing the school grounds and then in 
turn operating light to the relevant starting points thereafter i.e Kings 
Lynn and Norwich respectively.
I appreciate that the above is not acceptable therefore and as a matter of 
course I have copied our commercial manager into this response in order 
that this ongoing reliability issue can be addressed. 
As a token of goodwill and part compensation I will post, via a postal 
order, the sum of £15 for inconvenience caused.
May I take this opportunity to apologise for the inconvenience caused and 
you can be assured that further investigations will be forthcoming into 
the reliability of the X8 service.
Yours sincerely
Lisa
Lisa Addison
Assistant Operations Manager
Stagecoach In Norfolk
The Bus Station
Vancouver Centre
Kings Lynn
PE30 1DS
—————————————————————–
Tel :- +44(0)1553776980
Email :- lisa.addison@stagecoachbus.com
Web :- www.stagecoachbus.com

I concluded the exchange by sending this brief acknowledgement…

Dear Lisa

Many thanks for getting in contact with me regarding the problems I have highlighted and for agreeing to compensate me as per my request. 

Thomas Sutcliffe

CONCLUSION

An acceptable resolution has been arrived at. I woulkd point that although I expressed myslef quite forcefully in the opening email there was no bad language on either side, and I cast no aspersions on the ability of anyone at Stagecoach to do their jobs. I do hope you have all enjoyed this post even though it includes no pictures.

 

Author: Thomas

I am branch secretary of NAS West Norfolk and #actuallyautistic (diagnosed 10 years ago at the comparatively advanced age of 31). I am a keen photographer, so that most of my own posts contain photos. I am a keen cricket fan and often write about that subject. I also focus a lot on politics and on nature.

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