Lothian Buses: The Wheels Grind Slowly, If At All

Tuesday, October 24, 2006 8:02 | Filed in Life, The Pickards

Note: the following text was sent to Lothian Buses, along with my email address yesterday morning, along with the comment that I was still unhappy at the way they had been handling my complaint, and that I would be adding this text to my website unless they got back in touch (they’ve got my email address, they’ve got a phone number) to let me know what they were actually doing about my complaint. As you can possibly tell, they’ve not got back in touch with me. That’s what I call showing a real committment to poor customer service.

Anyway, here goes:

As regular readers will be aware, I put in a complaint to Lothian Buses when our family went on what I termed the Lothian Bus Ride Of Doom, where my wife and children were thrown down the stairs because the driver pulled forwards while people were still coming down the stairs, and then didn’t bother to get out of his seat or seek to help anyone in any way.

I put this complaint in on the 7th October, and was told that they would treat the complaint seriously, and contact me within a couple of days. On the 16th October, having not heard back from them, I phoned them up to chase up the progress of my complaint.

On the 17th October, having still heard nothing, I made the decision to write about it on my site and emailed them to inform them. On the 18th October, I received an acknowledgement of my complaint, dated 13th October and postmarked the 16th, where they told me that:

Edinburgh Bus Tours, as operators of Edinburgh City Sightseeing, demands that our driving staff maintain the highest standard of driving and customer care.

Please be assured that this Company acts strongly against drivers who fail to carry out their responsibilities towards the health and safety of their passengers as this driver is well aware.

Lothian Buses

In other words, they didn’t tell me anything. They didn’t so much as acknowledge that the driver had done anything wrong, let alone apologise for it, despite the fact that I’d gone with an independent witness to make a complaint — an independent witness who had provided Lothian Buses with their contact details. Nor did they apologise for taking so long to get back to me.

Oh, and despite getting my name correct on the address, they’d managed to get it wrong in the text of the letter itself, addressing me as “Mr Pichard”.

So, what has happened since?

Well, I received a letter yesterday morning that I had to sign for (it actually came on Friday 20th but I was unable to pick it up from the sorting office before then because the sorting office shut before I got there on Saturday morning) where they thank me for the emails I sent them on Wednesday 18th October (although I sent them on the 17th).

Ooops. I tell a lie. Despite giving them an email address of this domain: which you’ll notice has “Pickard” in it, and the fact that they’ve got my surname correct in their address fields, they again referred to me as “Mr Pichard”. So maybe it wasn’t for me after all. Or maybe they just aren’t prepared to do me the courtesy of spelling my name correctly.

Well can I take this opportunity to suggest that if they can’t be bothered to refer to me by my correct name — despite the fact I pointed them at my website, gave them the correct details at the time, and they’ve obviously got the correct details because they include them in the address — then I don’t really see why anyone should feel the need to make sure they get their name right, either.

But I wouldt expect they wouldn’t like it if they were constantly referred to as “Loathsome Buses”, so I would very much appreciate it if they would take the trouble to get people’s names correct in future — particularly those people who they’ve already upset sufficiently to put in a complaint and then to complain about the way they’ve been handling that complaint.

It’s now sixteen days after the initial incident and complaint, during which time I’ve phoned Lothian buses, and I’ve emailed Lothian buses to chase it up, and all they’ve managed to respond with is a letter of acknowledgement (well, okay, the same letter of acknowledgement twice) and a cover letter, on each of which they’ve managed to get my name wrong.

I’ve received no apology for the incident (”I was sorry to hear that your wife and son sustained an injury” is not an apology — they’re simply saying “it’s a shame the bad thing happened” rather than “we are sorry for causing the bad thing”); I’ve received no information as to the nature of any investigation into the incident that they are carrying out , and I’ve received no information relating to any disciplinary action against the driver (or their reasons for not taking any).

I also understand that they don’t necessarily just want to take my word for it, but the fact that there was an independent witness to the incident who felt sufficiently strongly about it to come along to the offices and complain with us, really ought to be telling Lothian Buses something.

I’ll repeat what I what:

  • I want an apology for the initial incident
  • I want to know what disciplinary action was taken against the driver
  • I want an apology for the way that they have (or rather haven’t) handled my complaint
  • I want to know what action they are going to take to ensure complaints are handled better in future

To be honest, I’d also like to know why they would expect anyone to use their service again, when this is the way they treat anyone with a genuine complaint.

This is surely an appalling lack of customer service and I will be doing everything I can to ensure that questions are asked of Lothian Buses at the highest possible levels about not only the initial complaint but the way that they have handled it. I have already been in touch with Edinburgh Council and I’ll also be raising it with the Scottish Tourist Board and the media.

If they can’t be bothered to look into it when I ask, let’s see if it will make any difference if it’s someone else doing the asking. If you want to ask Lothian Buses about it, you could try using their contact form. But be warned, it’s a table-based site, and it doesn’t validate.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

5 Comments to Lothian Buses: The Wheels Grind Slowly, If At All

  1. Kim says:

    September 28th, 2007 at 12:18 pm

    Hey, I was trying to find the address and a contact name of the complaint office at Lothian Busses when your blog came up on the hit list!

    I am in the process of writing a complaint letter as my (hourly) bus never showed up yesterday, resulting in me waiting for half an hour in the rain, giving up and walking the 10 minutes to catch a different bus service and then having to take two buses to my destination!

    I was also walking down the stairs of a bus in town a few months ago when the driver slammed on his brakes. I slipped on the rain water on the stairs and would have gone flying if I had not managed to grab hold of the banister. Still hurt though!

    Even though you complaint was a year ago I hope it was successful in the end!

  2. Anonymous says:

    November 4th, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    nice site

  3. frann says:

    November 10th, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    Have you thought about involving your local councillor/mp/msp/the local press? I generally find that recalcitrance like this calls for sterner measures. Perhaps you could make a Youtube video about it - I know that your site is online, but there’s nothing like a HUGE site such as Youtube to get those miscreants thinking twice.

  4. brian cannon says:

    May 22nd, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    shut up you fanny seriously mate who cares just hold on tight when on a bus, after hard beaking is not the drivers fault and accelerating is the norm. you were at fault not me or my colleagues so my answer is fuck off

  5. JackP says:

    May 22nd, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    Brian, firstly, I’ve removed the URL you provided as it seemed a little dubious. This had initially led to your comment being classified as spam.

    I don’t know if you actually read the post, but I was under the assumption that when the bus is stopped, and some passengers are disembarking, and others are making their way downstairs, that it is not common practice for drivers to suddenly accelerate.

    If you do actually think this, then I don’t think you should be a bus driver either. It would also appear that the other people who acted as witnesses felt that we were in the right.

    As indeed did Lothian Buses. Sorry if you don’t like it, but I was in the right, and was found to be in the right.

    And, as I’ve said before, if the driver had actually got of his arse to help, or had said sorry, I wouldn’t have had a problem. It was his attitude pissed me off. It reminds me of yours, actually…

    I must also admit to also being a little bemused that people still feel the need to comment on an article that relates to events almost three years ago…

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