I, LIKE many other people, like to think we are doing something to save the planet. Nothing big you understand – but every little helps.
Having moved my work location from Sheffield to Leeds a couple of years ago and living at Glass Houghton, I took the opportunity to use public transport in the shape of Arriva bus service to green up my act and park up the gas guzzler.
The Arriva hype on the website talks about its fleet of eco-friendly and comfortable buses and millions of green miles travelled.
The reality is far from eco-friendly, with the 410 service from Pontefract to Leeds, with its fleet of 15-year-old plus units that are far from comfortable and break down on a regular basis.
I understand David Shadbolt, the marketing manager at Arriva, is launching a campaign for potential customers in the north west to ditch their cars and switch to its service. I wonder how many would take him up on the offer based on its abysmal record on the services in this area? It seems there are winners and losers here with the Castleford depot fleet being the loser. Wakefield’s 110 service seems to have a leather-lined luxury fleet which runs every ten minutes at peak times, the 410 manages a couple of old bangers every hour.
The drivers seem resigned to the constant criticism, but try to keep a regular service going and the customers happy, but they must be getting fed up of the poor standard of the fleet.
Complain to Arriva, I hear you say! Been there done that. You may get a couple of free trip vouchers and confirmation that the bus did break down (I actually know that – I was on it) but as for an idea what they intend to do about the situation there is no mention.
I wondered if David Shadbolt would like to spend a month travelling around Castleford on his company’s buses and comment on their green credentials then?
As for me – the car is looking tempting in the driveway after finishing work at 5pm in Leeds and arriving home at 7.20pm in Glass Houghton (via Castleford and with a one mile walk), compliments of – you guessed it – Arriva!
A spokeswoman from Arriva said: “At Arriva Yorkshire we strive to provide the best possible service for our passengers so we were disappointed to hear of Mr Binnersley’s experiences with the 410 service.
“We would like to reassure Mr Binnersley that at Arriva Yorkshire investment into our fleet is extremely important to us and by January 2012 over half of our older vehicles will have been replaced. “In 2009 we invested £1.6m in new vehicles at Arriva’s Castleford depot and by the end of 2012 we will be investing a further £1.7m.
“We would urge Mr Binnersley to contact us directly on 0844 8004411 in order for us to answer any further questions he may have.”