Bus firm responds to customer criticism

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THE bus company, which runs the X95 service through Eskdale, has responded to criticism that commuters are worse off since it took over the route earlier this year.

The Irizar i6 coach has been trailled on the X95 through Eskdale
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The Irizar i6 coach has been trailled on the X95 through Eskdale

West Coast Motors is trialling a new high-specification coach between Carlisle and Galashiels. The low-emission vehicle offers free WiFi and USB stations.

A regular bus user to Carlisle said the buses had offered free WiFi for years but Eskdale did not have 3G or 4G, the service did not benefit passengers until the very north tip of Carlisle or the very south of Hawick.

It also meant there was likely to be issues with ticket apps which relied on some sort of signal unless the person used it before they left the house.

When Borders Buses took over the service, costs to daily commuters went up 33 per cent from £90 for four weeks to £120.

The resident said: "Despite comments about cheaper monthly fares such as “we’re looking into it” and “please be patient”, no change has yet been made to bring this cost back down.

"Shiny buses with USB ports all over them is all well and good but I’d rather have cheaper tickets and just remember to charge my phone at home."

Sharon Morrison, West Coast Motors' commercial manager, said there were parts of the route not accessible to 3G and 4G but, unfortunately, that was the technology available. It was no reason not to offer it to passengers.

She said: "People can use it before they leave the house where they can view real-time information on when the bus will arrive at their stop.

"I travelled on the X95 from Edinburgh to Galashiels and the WiFi worked well. Most of the route is WiFi friendly but there are elements out of our control."

She also said they did not offer monthly tickets but a new ticketing structure was being put in place.

"We inherited hundreds to types of tickets from First Bus and we're simplifying them. We've spent a few months looking at the type of tickets being bought and what will suit people's travel needs.

"When we launch the app at the end of the month, there will be tickets for frequent users. Passengers will also be able to use it to both track the bus and pay for tickets."

She added: "We really need to deliver a modern bus service if we are to be successful. At the start of next year we hope to put new vehicles onto the route."

Wednesday, October 4, 2017 at 11:59AM
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