Backward step of new bus timetable

My son travels to Alnwick to go to school on the old 518, now the X18.

The X18 is scheduled to arrive in Alnwick later than the old 518, and should arrive in Alnwick at 8.40am.

He starts school at 8.50am. In theory, there should be enough time to get from the bus station to the Duchess’ School.

However, since it seems that Arriva buses are invariably late and have a long history of being unreliable, he has been late for school, or just made it in the nick of time, every day this week.

It is somewhat ironic that Arriva claims there will be faster journeys on many routes; just being on time would make a refreshing change.

The old 518 and new X18 are reportedly busy in the mornings, presumably with people going to work and children going to school.

It is somewhat baffling that Arriva think it is an improvement to customer service to make them arrive later and risk missing start times for work or school.

I also think it’s high-time that Arriva made their services more reliable.

This evening, the busy double-decker service was replaced by a single-decker, with no explanation or apology offered.

Passengers were packed onto the bus, including one passenger in a wheelchair.

My son, along with other pupils in Alnwick, used to have a fairly short wait at the end of the day for the 518 to travel home.

The new X18 now leaves 20 minutes later than the old bus, so children have to wait an extra 20 minutes in a cold, dirty bus station, just as winter is approaching. Thanks, Arriva.

While I accept that clearly the bus company can’t plan its services around the needs of my son, I can’t see how Arriva thought that it would be helpful to any of the passengers on that busy morning bus to get into Alnwick approximately 15 minutes later.

I do think that there should be some sort of ethos of customer service from Arriva.

At present, they don’t even seem to be pretending.

It would be interesting to hear views of other passengers.

Name and address supplied

Now put your customers first

The early morning services from Alnwick to Newcastle, which have always called at stops along Wagonway Road, St James’s Estate and Willowburn Avenue, have been re-routed along the South Road, according to the new timetable starting on September 16.

This change will mean a longer walk to the bus stop for many of these services, as there is no local ‘town service’ connection at this time.

Making it more difficult to catch the bus is hardly going to increase custom and some passengers may well find an alternative bus to use.

Arriva are putting timetable symmetry before customer convenience and will, as a consequence, damage their local reputation.

Martin Smith,