Reluctant exercising of consumer choice
So I said something very like:
Dear Stagecoach Oxford
Yesterday afternoon I boarded one of your #1 buses from Oxford city centre to Cowley Road, as I do regularly. 'Tesco, please!' I said to the driver, as I do regularly. He said 'two pounds'. I thought he'd misheard me, or maybe thought I wanted the big Tesco right at the end of Cowley Road (not that the bus goes there), so I said, no, the second stop on Cowley Road, the one before Manzil Way. He said 'two pounds'. I said 'it's not two pounds, it's £1.30'. Which it is. He waved me away and said 'get the other bus then'.
I stood there for a while, and he sold tickets to the people behind me, who asked for St Clements. He charged them 80p. I said 'I just want the stop after that'. He said 'two pounds, or get the other bus'. I argued a bit longer, asking how much to Manzil Way, because that costs £1.30, and I want the stop before it, but he wasn't going to sell me a ticket for less than two pounds. And I wasn't paying two pounds.
I figured I would stand my ground, as I had a lot of stuff with me and I thought eventually someone else would get on and ask for the stop I wanted and I could just say 'same as them!', but there was a huge queue behind me getting impatient, and he'd clearly decided he wasn't backing down. So in the end I said forget it and got off. I then ran for the Oxford Bus Company's #5, and asked for Tesco. The driver said '£1.30, love'. I nearly cried.
I found your driver's behaviour to be upsetting, unpleasant and rude. And I don't know why he didn't want me on his bus, unless there was some complicated face saving thing going on. If he was, as I believe, wrong about the fare, I would like him to know that's how I felt, and I would like you to know that he did it. I wouldn't want anyone else to have that experience, it was horrible. If on the other hand your fare from Oxford to Tesco *has* gone up to two pounds, *I'd* like to know, so I can make sure to avoid your buses in future.
The Oxford Bus Company's bus delivered me to Tesco sooner than your bus, possibly because of the queue that built up behind me while your driver was intent on overcharging me. So when I got off, I took a photo of it (attached), the registration number is visible as OV51KAJ, and you should be able to work out who the driver was.
Haven't heard anything yet. Bus drivers were never this unpleasant in small town Lancashire.
Labels: modern life is rubbish