Advantages Buses run, some drivers plesent, local service is OK
Disadvantages Frequently late, some drivers rude, unreliable
This review covers two aspects of stagecoach service in South Wales.Firstly the local service in Merthyr Tydfil. I use this service occasionally for short trips from my house to Merthyr town centre and back using services 80 or 81.
As a rule I find these services to be prompt and quick, although it is a short distance to cover. The drivers are usually plesent and thatnks to a recent upgrade in the buses, the vehicles are usually in good condition and are spacious.However, the primary reason I use stagecoach is my daily commute to/from work in Cardiff, a distance of around 23 miles each way. The service for this route is the X4 which runs every 15 mins between the two locations between 6:55 and 6:05 each day. Then hourly after that.
Typically for the journey in to work I catch the 6:55 at it's third stop, Hoover Main gate, by this time there are already few seats left (as the bus has previously came from further up the valley before merthyr) but typically it is on time.However the homeward journey is a far reach from that. The bus I catch is due to leave Cardiff at 16:35. This bus is always late, sometimes by as much as half an hour. Often after this wait two buses (or more) will arrive together.
Although I appreciate the traffic does affect the arrival of the buses, I do not feel the company or drivers help the situation. Despite the main delay being in Pontypridd no attempt is done to rectify this! Particularly on the homeward journey the traffic system causes is substantial, and if managed incorrectly can take upwards of 40 minutes to pass through.If traffic is the main issue, surely the most logical course of action would be to review the companies timetable. If the current one is unmanageable, it is misleading to customers and needs to be made more realistic.
The quality of the journey as well as the duration varies wildly depending on the driver. As an example on one recent occasion the bus I caught was caught and overtaken by two separate buses running the same service. Mainly caused by the drivers complete inability to cope with traffic or react to situations.The attitude of the drivers if they're queried on such reasonable questions such as why they are running late can also be questionable. Many answer fairly, but others seem to take it as a dig at them personally and get defensive and/or rude.
The driving style they undertake can also leave allot to be desired, sharp braking is the norm as opposed to in an emergency. I have witnessed some extreme cases of tailgating and been on buses that have clipped so many curbs, and the occasional car that I would not try to remember each occasion.While the buses can be crowded, generally they are clean. However, they can also be prone to braking down as, as a contradiction to the new buses on the local service. The majority of X4 buses are 10+ years old, some as old as M reg.
Each month I spend at least £78.90 on travel on this service, I honestly feel the quality of service being provided does not warrant such an extreme amount. This also covers a period of 7 days where there is only a service for 6, another situation which does not seem fair.Overall, the local service saves the review from 1 star, however unless you have few options, i would not recommend using this service.
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