Description

Chris L

I am a bus driver for NXWM, operating the 37 route between Birmingham and Solihull. Along this route we have competition from Blue Diamond, part of the Rotala Group. We often have issues with their drivers demonstrating poor skills on the road, however this morning a Blue Diamond driver acted in a manner which was beyond overlooking.

After pulling away from a bus stop in front of my bus he proceeded at a dangerously slow pace; not more than 10mph. As I followed, I noticed a van trying for the overtake due to this slow pace. I alerted the other driver to this using the horn. He responded by slamming his brakes on and stopping dead in the road. To make things worse, he had only just picked up an elderly passenger. This in itself I found disgraceful.

Further to this, the Blue Diamond driver proceeded to Solihull Station never accelerating beyond 25mph despite ample opportunity to do so safely.

Upon arriving in Solihull Station, the Blue Diamond driver approached me and not only spouted an immense amount of verbal abuse at me, but then threatened to assault me.

I have sent in a formal complaint regarding this matter, detailing times and locations, and am awaiting a response.

Problem History

  • 1 Chris L reported the issue on FixMyTransport. close 22:31 28 Jul 2012
  • 2 Chris L wrote to Blue Diamond close 22:31 28 Jul 2012

    Here is the letter that Chris L wrote.

    Threatening Behaviour

    I am a bus driver for NXWM, operating the 37 route between Birmingham and Solihull. Along this route we have competition from Blue Diamond, part of the Rotala Group. We often have issues with their drivers demonstrating poor skills on the road, however this morning a Blue Diamond driver acted in a manner which was beyond overlooking.

    After pulling away from a bus stop in front of my bus he proceeded at a dangerously slow pace; not more than 10mph. As I followed, I noticed a van trying for the overtake due to this slow pace. I alerted the other driver to this using the horn. He responded by slamming his brakes on and stopping dead in the road. To make things worse, he had only just picked up an elderly passenger. This in itself I found disgraceful.

    Further to this, the Blue Diamond driver proceeded to Solihull Station never accelerating beyond 25mph despite amply opportunity to do so safely.

    Upon arriving in Solihull Station, the Blue Diamond driver approached me and not only spouted an immense amount of verbal abuse at me, but then threatened to assault me.

    I have sent in a formal complaint regarding this matter, detailing times and locations, and am awaiting a response.

  • 3 Stuart Johnson commented close 11:41 29 Jul 2012

    As a regular passenger on NXWM's 37 service myself, I cannot help but agree with you on the antics of some of the Blue Diamond drivers. As it seems they cannot fairly compete on this route, it seems that many drivers just like to 'play games' with and hinder the more popular NXWM buses.

    I will be interested to see Blue Diamond's response to this.

    anorak
  • 4 Stuart Johnson commented close 20:12 30 Jul 2012

    Chris, I took the liberty of posting a link to this on Blue Diamond's Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=430539763656007&id=278344778873900¬if_t=share_comment

    Seems they are aware of this and are investigating, lets see if we get a satisfactory response soon!

    anorak
  • 5 Chris L commented close 21:02 30 Jul 2012

    Stuart, you are a legend! Fingers crossed for a swift resolution to this. Thanks.

  • 6 Chris L commented close 13:19 05 Aug 2012

    I have still heard no response from Blue Diamond regarding this matter, not even a courtesy email to say it is being investigated! Nice to know they're happy to tell anyone else what's going on....says a lot about what they think customer service means.

    I have sent a reminder to Blue Diamond and added their lack of correspondence to my complaint and promised further action if nothing is done.

  • 7 Chris L commented close 23:06 06 Aug 2012

    Response from Blue Diamond issuing a reference number and a promise to keep me informed for future developments regarding the matter.

  • 8 Myf Nixon commented close 09:18 07 Aug 2012

    FixMyTransport Admin here - we've had a comment via Twitter that this problem "needs the Traffic Commisioner to be informed" http://t.co/GOcGbKsn.

    I'll leave it to your judgement whether you'd like to follow that advice. Good luck!

    anorak
    admin
  • 9 Dave H commented close 10:28 07 Aug 2012

    The Traffic Commissioners are well aware of 'bus wars' tactics, - driving slowly is not a common one - but generally this occurs where small operators are fighting for marginal business, not usually larger groups who are more aware of the impact on corporate image and the good repute required to keep an Operators Licence. Hopefully this is a driver issue and not a corporate one. I'd guess as a vocational licence holder you'll be well aware of where to find TAO and TC for West Midlands.

    It is good to hear that you have at last had an acknowledgement of your complaint though.

    Generally the tactics include registering a service a minute or two ahead of the original operator and blocking bus stops. Often the service is a very close match for the target operator and can be running only for the times that a potential passenger pool can be tapped in to (ie services run 7 am to 7 pm or even shorter hours) At one stage here we had 5 service 38 buses from 5 operators running essentially the same route. TC's have a hard job with very scarce resources, so cloud-sourced monitoring can help them here.

    Other details which can be unearthed include fraud using pensioner passes, and PTE travelcards, where the pass is checked in and the journey claimed for the rest of the route, rather than the actual (shorter) journey made. FMT might separately like to highlight a call for pensioners and the public generally to actually check the ticket they get for the journey. I've even had a child ticket issued when I've paid the adult fare (a way that bad drivers skim off their illicit 'bonus')

  • 10 Chris L commented close 22:08 07 Aug 2012

    Thanks guys.

    I believe this is just the driver having an issue with me; Blue Diamond do not tend to employ the tactics outlined in Dave's comment anymore. The drivers however do demonstrate some poor driving skills; not checking mirrors or signalling at bus stops is the most common.

    In this case the driver may well have been distracted (counting a fare or talking to a passenger) and so did not accelerate, then behaved in the manner he did purely because I'd used the horn.

  • 11 Philippa Holder responded to Chris L close 14:09 29 Aug 2012
    Dear Mr Leigh,

    Thank you for contacting Blue Diamond; we were concerned to hear of the incident you outlined and apologise for the delay in our response.

    Your complaint was logged with the operating depot and all appropriate in-house action has been taken. As I am sure you can appreciate we are unable to divulge any confidential information regarding our investigation, however we can assure you that we expect our drivers to maintain the highest standards of driving proficiency and to behave courteously and professionally towards their passengers and fellow drivers at all times. A copy of your complaint and all relevant details has therefore been retained in Head Office for our future reference, as incidents such as you described are clearly unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

    We will continue to monitor our drivers to ensure that we are providing the levels of professionalism which we expect, taking further action as deemed necessary from any findings.

    Blue Diamond thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention and apologise for any inconvenience or upset which you may have experienced. Should you have any future concerns please do not hesitate to contact us again.

    Yours sincerely,

    Philippa Holder
    Customer Services

    Rotala PLC
    Philippa Holder
    Customer Services Advisor
    email: [email address]
    www: www.flightshallmark.com
    tel: 0121 322 2222
    fax: 0121 322 2718

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    Here is some information from FixMyTransport about the location of
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    Location name: Number 37 bus route

    Area: Between Birmingham and Solihull

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  • 12 Chris L commented close 19:49 30 Aug 2012

    I am satisfied and grateful for the response from Blue Diamond and have every faith that the matter is resolved to the best of the company's ability.

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  • started 28 July 2012
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