Bureaucracy, technology make for poorer services

I would like to ask what has happened to our buses, cutting back services, poor condition of buses and occasionally poor customer care from drivers.

I can remember when buses ran every 15 minutes on local runs and every hour to and from Carlisle and Edinburgh, under the old Scottish Bus Group banner.

Buses used to go all over the Borders, covering every small village and every council estate. You used to get a nice coach with comfortable seats to travel to Edinburgh and Carlisle with friendly drivers who knew everyone and were always willing to give a helping hand and have a good gossip. The council now feels it’s not worth subsidising bus companies.

I also dislike the new ticket machine they have for which elderly passengers and the like have to prove their status by placing their bus pass on a scanner to then have the appropriate ticket issued.

Is it not hard enough for some elderly and disabled people to plan their day without having to get confused with modern technology of scanning ticket machines?

What happened to trust and the fact that nobody fakes looking like a 70 or 80 year old with a bus pass. In days gone by it was to the driver’s discretion to maybe just say: “It’s alright dear, on you go.”

I think that bus operators need to look more at what sort of service they are providing in the rural Scottish Borders – after all, everyone bangs on that we should all be using more public transport rather than our cars. If the services are not there, how can we use them instead of our own transport?

I think that local bus companies would do well to go back to old- fashioned methods such as bringing back conductors and having regular inspectors who can control the running of the services and allow passengers to be treated how you would expect, with a nice smile and a good attitude.

Bringing back conductors would be good for companies in that they can be taking fares while the bus is moving, keeping to a good timetable. Also in their role, they could look after the customer a bit more than the current one-man operation. This would also help the unemployment figures by creating more jobs for local people and with little training, unlike the test drivers have to take.

I think it’s sad how things have changed. Change is good but sometimes things need to be left alone and maybe we should go back to old-fashioned methods that always worked, not reduce what is hardly there anymore.

Darren Wilson

Selkirk