Bus boss denies Kirdford problems

THE MANAGING director denied there were regular problems with his bus service when he received a complaint from a Kirdford resident.

Wendy Puttock wrote to Chris Chatfield, of Compass Travel, she was ‘absolutely fed up’ with the number 75 from Kirdford arriving so late she missed her connecting bus from Billingshurst to Horsham.

“I leave my house at 6.45am to catch the 7.07 bus and get to work at 8.30,” she said.

“If I miss the connection, I don’t get in until after 9am. A two hour commute to travel 15 miles with an extra one hour unnecessary wait at Billingshurst usually in freezing/wet weather.

“Yesterday the 7.07am bus arrived at Kirdford at 7.50am. My connecting bus from Billingshurst leaves at 7.45am so I had to wait an extra hour to catch the next bus.

“I asked the driver why he was so late and he said he had tried three buses before finding one that actually worked.

“On a Wednesday I get the later bus from Kirdford - the 8.07 - again this morning it was late getting to Kirdford and although I asked the driver to phone the office to phone the driver of the 100 bus from Billingshurst to wait for me, we saw the tail-lights of the 100 disappearing in the distance - again another hour wait at Billingshhurst.

“I phoned Compass office and the supervisor - Tim Clarke - said ‘on this occasion they wouldn’t be providing a taxi’ which basically meant that I had to wait an additional hour at Billingshurst through no fault of my own.

“I did ask the person I spoke to to get the supervisor to ring me and phoned the office a further three times but the supervisor didn’t have the decency to return my call.

“The last bus home in the evening is often late as well - it should get into Horsham bus station at 5.45pm but is often late - sometimes I don’t get home until 7pm.”

Wendy told Compass: “The level of customer service at Compass is zero! You are quite happy to take my bus fare but don’t deliver the bus service that is detailed in the timetable.

“There have been numerous occasions where I and my fellow passengers have been left waiting at the bus stop that I haven’t even reported before. Several passengers came up to me today when I was phoning the office using the driver’s mobile to say they had had enough too.

“I am absolutely fed up with the situation. No wonder most people don’t bother to catch a bus these days. I live in a rural location and need to get to work on time and you need to be providing a reliable service.

“You should be sorting out the night before the buses you are going to use in the morning and making sure they are in good working order and fuelled up ready to go on time. I am sure if you kept turning up late for work yourselves your bosses would start getting annoyed.”

Mr Chatfield said the company was investigating a ‘particular problem’ the day in question and would get back to her. “I am very surprised at your comment that this bus, and the return evening service, is regularly late and that we failed to return your calls,” he said.

“We do pride ourselves on the reliability of our buses and our customer service and I certainly do not accept your general view about the standard of our services. In actual fact I receive many letters from very satisfied customers, including on route 75, and very few complaints.

“All our buses are now ‘tracked’ (with 99 per cent running to time) and I am not aware of any regular problems on this route.

“We have a specific electronic record of all the past timings on this service and will be investigating this further.”