Advantages provide a crucial public service
Disadvantages they're only after the profits
|Quality of Rooms|
|Frequency of bus / buses|
|Value for money|
Ah yes, Arriva, the sun-kissed Caribbean island, palm trees swaying in a gentle, refreshing breeze as holidaymakers relax in their deckchairs sipping cocktails. Sorry Ciao, Arriva is a bus company, not a tropical island. So change the picture!Anyway, many public-transport users (or should I say "victims"?) will be familiar with Arriva, which seems to operate bus services all over the place nowadays. Here in Leicester, Arriva took over the old Midland Fox service that connects the city with the village I live in.
As I don't drive, if I can't get a lift I either have to cycle or rely on the bus. We have a half-hourly service, which isn't that bad compared to some places. And with the government pledged to increasing the use of public transport, and Arriva's own website (www.arriva.co.uk) boasting the slogan "Committed to providing a better service", things can only get better, right?Wrong.
There are just so many things wrong with Arriva, it's difficult to know where to start. The costs are prohibitive, a journey into Leicester takes no more than 20 minutes, yet a single costs £1.70. If I buy a return I can get a return to Nottingham on the train for the same amount.On the same subject, fares seem to be increased all the time. If the government puts up fuel duty, fares go up. If the government reduces fuel duty, fares go up. You know you are in trouble when the bus pulls in with a big "REVISED FARES" at the front - it never says "HUGELY INCREASED FARES" for some reason.
The Arriva drivers in Leicester also seem to include a fair number of people who are either completely insane or...no, they must be completely insane. On a journey back home last week the driver nearly crashed into a van, then reversed 100 yards back down a main A-road, and then drove for about 10 seconds whilst reaching for something at his feet. It was slightly worrying, to put it mildly.Socialising is also quite difficult seeing as the last bus back from the city is 6.15pm. As a general rule, most of the good nights out I can remember (or have vague recollections of) ended quite a bit later than 6.15pm. But I musn't grumble. Plus there's no service on Sundays. Another hilarious occurrence is when you are waiting for the last bus and it never turns up. Oh, my aching sides!
The one good thing Arriva do in my area is provide services that runs between Peterborough and Leicester every 2 hours. Not only does this link the two cities, but also the many small villages and places like Uppingham that lie inbetween. Because the village I live in has no doctor's surgery this service is also vital for elderly and people with no cars to reach the surgery without having to fork out £10 for a taxi. It also enables me to look for jobs west of where I live, and even give me the possibilty of commuting to Peterborough.So hurrah!
Except...Arriva (that is "Committed to providing a better service" Arriva) are now axing this bus route because it's not used enough. Whenever I've been on the service the bus has been full, but I'm sure that's beside the point.Maybe "Committed to providing a non-existent service" would be a better slogan.
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