Opinion: ‘A bus station should be where you buy bus tickets,’ why First were wrong to cease ticket sales at Norwich bus station

Norwich Bus Station.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY
Norwich Bus Station. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Tuesday, January 14, 2014
11:05 AM

Reader John Michie, from Norwich, gives his view on the ceasing of ticket sales for First at Norwich Bus Station.

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I first raised this on FirstNorwich Twitter feed where I was told “it was not our choice”. However, this contradicts the information published by the council which states: “First Bus has decided not to offer their tickets for sale”. I ‘m complaining for the following reasons:

1. A bus station should be where you buy bus tickets.

2. It is not ideal to carry large sums of money to a bus stop to purchase a monthly or yearly ticket for the following reasons. Security - especially for vulnerable members of society, Practicality - especially if early in the morning or in a rural spot, Maintaining Punctuality - customers on the bus will have to wait whilst tickets are purchased. What would happen if five passengers purchased a monthly ticket at the same stop and they had funds that needed to be changed?

3. It seems petty that First will not sell tickets at the bus station because Konnect Bus run the office.

4. This will harm First’s custom as it is not putting the customer “first”. It does not make it easy or easier for the customer to purchase your services.

5. The main source for seeing First’s deals on tickets is online. It will be highly inconvenient to ask a bus driver about which deal is best for you. I work with people who are partially sighted and therefore finding details on a website is virtually impossible. This is only one segment of society that would be hindered by this move. To then ask the customer to go to Rouen House for information is highly impractical.

6. This places more stress on First’s drivers. It also eats into their breaks which could pose a significant safety threat to passengers and pedestrians.

I feel this has been a decision by someone at First who does not understand the concept of “public transport”. This has probably been a decision made by someone paid a large salary who only drives their car.

I fear I will only receive a generalised response to my complaint. This complaint will be ignored as I feel many are when it is one customer speaking up against a company.

But I ask that First strongly reconsiders this policy, as it is only harming its customer base.

A spokesman for First East England said: “We appreciate the importance of a variety of ticket sale outlets for our passengers.

It is correct that our tickets are no longer for sale in Norwich Bus Station following the new management takeover, however there are still several options for our customers.

“Season tickets can be purchased directly from our website (www.firstgroup.com), or over the phone with a Customer Service Agent between 0730 - 1730 Monday to Friday (08456 020 121).

“Single, Return, 10 Trip, Day and some Monthly tickets are also available to purchase directly from the driver on bus.

Passengers are also welcome to visit our City Centre office on the Lower Ground Floor of Rouen House on Rouen Road, between 1100 - 1400 Monday to Friday.

“Our senior management team are also working behind the scenes to ensure a permanent city centre location Travel Shop, more information will be available about this as soon as possible.”

If you would like to get a Norwich issue off your chest email edpletters@archant.co.uk

16 comments

  • Anyway, this is all complete b***ocks. People who want to buy a yearly ticket can and will do so online. Anything else can be bought on the bus. Why go out of your way to go to a ticket office? Waste of time. Not enough people used it to make it worthwhile so First pulled out. For the 5% of people who still think it's the 90's or dont understand the internet (V, Daisy etc) you can go to the office at certain times and exchange your silver for tickets. Times are changing, get with the program.

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    User Removed

    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

  • Daisy ...still struggling with teh notion that this is an issue worth getting your knickers twisted over. If people want a face-to-face purchasing experience, do what the vast, vast majority of bus users do - get on the bus and ask the driver for a ticket.

    Report this comment

    Lucioperca

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

  • Slow news day? Things so bad at Archant that they need to give column inches to any old Victor Meldrew?

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    User Removed

    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

  • From what I've heard (I'm a bus driver), this has more to do with Konect being awkward about selling other companies tickets than First. Konect also refuse to sell National Express tickets too so your anger should be directed more towards them. Their presence in Norwich Bus Station is purely to keep an eye on their over worked and underpaid drivers with whoever's manning the desk instructed to snitch on their colleagues and report back to the boss whenever a Konect driver is running a minute early or late, wearing a hat etc. Thats the sort of company they are. Perhaps Konect would like to explain in the press themselves why despite taking over the front desk of a Norfolk County Council funded bus station that all local tax payers have paid for, they refuse to sell the full range of tickets and only provide the one's for their routes? On the other hand, I guess it's much simpler just to stay silent and let the local press blame the usual suspect...... But what do I know?

    Report this comment

    Scania

    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

  • Daisy the times are changing, just like they did in the 60's. You have to change to survive. Face to face service is dying out, and costs a lot more to run. Chill out before you have an aneurysm!

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    User Removed

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

  • I think it is very wrong I have to buy my ticket online to travel on National Express , but some people do not have internet

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    Johncena

    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

  • Well said Proof that the best option is independent company with knowledge of all the operated bus & coach route s and abel to sell the best ticket option foe customer s journey

    Report this comment

    k day

    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

  • Point number 4, sorry but it totally makes it easier to purchase tickets now! As you don’t have to walk to the bus station any more… What a load of whiney hyperbole.

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    Josh Helling

    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

  • The whole range of bus tickets should be sold at the bus station . The Council have made a hash of it as usual .

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    dragonfly

    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

  • I fully appreciate it is down to money but the council have missed a trick. visitors to city who use Park and Ride come to bus station and I guess use the loo as these are closed at P&R sites. Why not make it a tourist information centre have all tickets sold even excursions. I had heard that Go Ahead offered First a place on the desk and it was refused. One day we might know the true picture.

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    jennifer jane

    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

  • @Scania well Konnect and Anglian are just sock puppets for Go Ahead now anyway, so it should be them explaining surely? It's a shame as they had the nicer buses and the friendly drivers, instead of old clapped out junk and 90% miserable rude drivers (credit to the other 10% who are lovely). I know you guys have a lot of nasty imbecile customers too so can kind of understand why.

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    User Removed

    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

  • Mooseyt3-just what do you think I am working away at when taking a minute or two to comment on the EDP website? Steam radio? What I understand better than some of the lookatmeIcanloadanappandplayanxboxgame generation is the social implications of removing face to face purchasing opportunities-how it affects the poor, the elderly who have not come to terms with IT or been able to afford a broadband service on their pension, the transient and even the disabled such as the deaf who are massively disadvantaged when organisations such as the AA will conduct some business online but then require telephone confirmation of certain changes. Running a public transport business should carry an element of responsibility to all potential customers, not a stuff you we don't care if you can't buy a ticket.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

  • Here's a novel idea ...go to a bus stop, wait for a bus, when the bus stops get on the bus, ask how much to get to your destination, give the driver the money and hey presto a ticket appears. Its not rocket science people !!!!

    Report this comment

    Lucioperca

    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

  • From what I've heard (I'm a bus driver), this has more to do with Konect being awkward about selling other companies tickets than First. Konect also refuse to sell National Express tickets too so your anger should be directed more towards them. Their presence in Norwich Bus Station is purely to keep an eye on their over worked and underpaid drivers with whoever's manning the desk instructed to snitch on their colleagues and report back to the boss whenever a Konect driver is running a minute early or late, wearing a hat etc. Thats the sort of company they are. Perhaps Konect would like to explain in the press themselves why despite taking over the front desk of a Norfolk County Council funded bus station that all local tax payers have paid for, they refuse to sell the full range of tickets and only provide the one's for their routes? On the other hand, I guess it's much simpler just to stay silent and let the local press blame the usual suspect...... But what do I know?

    Report this comment

    Scania

    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

  • This is totally the fault of Norwich City Council They designed the unfit for purpose bus station, they built a place with ladies loos with only two cubicles-cubicles too small for mum and toddler to get in at once,where to stand inside the door and wait is to risk a fractured skull -meant to service the needs of coach and bus passengers. No loos for miles when the waiting room is shut and a coach pulls in at ten pm and no one thought to put an autoloo outside. The stops are totally wrong for coaches loading and unloading luggage-no safe space to do it. And then the tickets-NCC could have stipulated that tickets should be available for all services using the bus station. Because here's a funny thing-those using public transport often do so because they can't afford cars, and maybe some can't afford broadband connections or smart phones .And maybe they are not suit wearing-car riding potbellied councillors nor pot noodle eating IT obsessed thirty somethings with the brains of adolescent boys and actually need the convenience of being able to buy a ticket in person. Public service-bah.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

  • @Scania well Konnect and Anglian are just sock puppets for Go Ahead now anyway, so it should be them explaining surely? It's a shame as they had the nicer buses and the friendly drivers, instead of old clapped out junk and 90% miserable rude drivers (credit to the other 10% who are lovely). I know you guys have a lot of nasty imbecile customers too so can kind of understand why.

    Report this comment

    User Removed

    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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