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Was talking to a lady at the bus stop this morning.  The bus was late, which is pretty common on this route and she was moaning on and on about how terrible the bus company was and how they deliberately cancel buses and how they won't let OAPs on board before 9:30 even when there's only a few minutes to go and how the drivers never help people, etc.

No interest at all in letting facts interfere with her general conviction that the entire company is incompetent and probably crooked.

The bus company aren't perfect, far from it.  However, the general myth that a fortune is made from OAP passes is just that - a myth.  Legally, they aren't allowed to make a profit on them.  Which means they are just a whisker away from making a loss.  For instance, when passengers paying full fare can't get on buses because they're full of people on passes for which the company only gets paid a fraction of the normal fare.

Our particular bus route tends to run late.  That's because it takes a bus half an hour to get from Poole to Wimborne with very little margin for error.  People like services that run the same time every hour, so the company try to run it every half hour.  This means that any delay at all caused by traffic jams or an accident will throw the timetable out and the driver has little chance of catching up again.  There isn't an easy solution to this one.  The service is subsidised by the council as it doesn't make a profit, so adding extra buses isn't going to happen as they'd simply lose more money.

Taking buses and drivers from a busy route running every ten mins (because it's actually profitable) and moving them to a loss-making route out in the suburbs is never going to happen, no matter how much people moan.  My companion's response (of course) was to insist that the Poole-/Bournemouth route couldn't possibly be making a profit because the last time she personally went on it, the bus was nearly empty.

One  data point clearly outweighs the entire logic of a company doing something that they know they make money on...

Why is it that people seem to view it as wrong for bus and rail companies to make a profit?  (which isn't always the case anyway)
Why does everybody seem to think that the companies would make a massive profit if they only ran a service that went past the complainer's front door?

Why does everybody 'know' that when the bus is late, it is never due to traffic jams, accidents,  waiting for lots of pensioners to get on the bus or any other obvious cause, but always due to lazy drivers or incompetent management and that the solution is entirely obvious and so easy that the entire thing could be solved overnight?

Am I the only person to feel that the railways have been much better since they were privatised?  (although the increase in passenger numbers would suggest they are clearly getting things right)

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Judith Proctor

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