It has come to Concrete’s attention that UEA staff and students continue to be dissatisfied with the service they are receiving from First Bus, the company who operates the 22, 25 and 26 (formerly known as the 25a) buses which run from campus.
On 1st September 2014, First Bus announced that: “there are major improvements to service 25 which will now run via Unthank Road every 10 minutes from Monday to Friday”. However, this is not the level of service which has been experienced by UEA students and staff, with many taking to Twitter to air their grievances. Nicholas Walsh, a lecturer in Developmental Psychology at UEA tweeted in reference to the service between 08:00 – 09:00: “Dreadful bus service from @FirstNorwich for UEA staff and students. Huge delays for people getting in.” Others complain over lateness, buses generally not showing up, or being full when they arrive at their bus stop. In some cases, commuters complain that they had contacted customer service and received no reply, even after the promised 14 working days.
However, it seems as if the blue line, which incorporates the number 25 and 26 services is not the only line with problems, as students who live in Bowthorpe also express concern. Courtney Pochin, a third year Film and English Studies student said: “I get the 21/22 from my house and always end up waiting ridiculous amounts of time for it to arrive and find that some of the drivers are a lot ruder than those on the 25. Also they’ve been moving the first bus stops in the city centre around a lot lately, I don’t have a clue where to get my bus from anymore!” Rob Drury, a third year Film and Television Studies Student, added that: “It’s great that so much work goes into the 25/26 route but it’s not the only route that needs to be made better!”
There are also more general concerns that don’t relate to specific services, as Madeleine Hickish, a third year English Literature student commented: “I’d like to know why ‘young person’ stops at 20, when most students reach at least 21 before they leave uni”.
When approached for comment, First Bus said: ì”The changes which were implemented on September 21 have seen resources moved from the X25 service to services 25 and 26, which has created more capacity.
“We are aware of occasional journeys where capacity has been an issue and we are closely monitoring this. It naturally settles down as student demand for services spreads across the morning peak. We make every effort to provide the best possible services and only operate double-decker vehicles on this high frequency route.
“Unfortunately we have experienced lateness on some journeys due to heavy traffic and congestion caused by road works in the city centre. These major infrastructure improvements are due to be completed in early November and this will, in turn, improve the reliability of the service.
“We welcome all feedback about our services and thank those passengers who have already been in touch. Our customer services charter states that we will respond to queries within 14 working days”.
Anybody concerned about the service received from First Bus are encouraged to contact the UEA’s Travel and Transport team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01603 592353.