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


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

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?

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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

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