"Shambolic" bus service is slammed by drivers and passengers
By Jolene Hill
Passengers have been left high and dry by a "shambolic" bus service, passengers and drivers claim.
The 466 service, which runs through Old Coulsdon on its way from Addington Village to Caterham-on-the- Hill via East and South Croydon, has come under fire since Arriva took over the route from Metrobus two weeks ago.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Passengers say problems have started since Arriva took over the running of the service from Metrobus, on Saturday August 30.
The company has held its hands up and said electrical defects on its brand new fleet of buses have caused the problems, which even led to four buses being taken off the route on Tuesday.
Elizebeth Brooks, from Old Coulsdon, said problems started last Friday when an elderly lady could not get on the bus because it was packed with school children.
And she added that a disabled woman had to wait 50 minutes for a bus that went to Addington Village, as it was supposed to, instead of terminating at East Croydon.
On Tuesday, the Middle Close resident said there were more problems for passengers when the Caterham bus terminated at Old Coulsdon.
As passengers trooped off in the village, near The Tudor Rose pub, to await the 466 that would take them to Caterham, rain began to pour down.
Ms Brooks said insult was added to injury because, as the 10 passengers huddled under the "inadequate bus shelter" getting soaked, an out-of-service 466 drove past.
And after a 15-minute wait until the next 466 finally turned up, the bus was followed immediately by a second and then, just a few stops later, by a third bus.
Ms Brooks said: "It is a shambles. We only have one bus route – the 466. It is as unreliable now as it was when Arriva ran it before [about five years ago].
"We are fed up already with the state of the service and the contempt Arriva and its bus drivers show the passengers.
"There is no politeness, no waiting for disabled or elderly people to get to the bus stop, and no lowering of the buses to help them get on or off."
Chris Wright, Coulsdon East councillor and Old Coulsdon resident, said he had received complaints about the bus turning round at the village instead of continuing on to Caterham-on-the-Hill.
He added: "This is causing some distress because people use the bus to go to Tesco and places like that."
But passengers have been making their feelings known, according to one Caterham-based driver, who has worked on the buses for the past eight years.
He said: "Drivers have been getting loads of verbal abuse from angry customers all the way along the route.
"It has never been as bad as this before. They are fed up with constant long waits and, of course, we get it in the neck.
"Passengers tell us we're useless and it's our fault, when all we are trying to do is provide a service in very difficult circumstances.
"But I can understand their frustration."
"Since it came in, the new service has been no more than a shambolic disaster."
Dave Jones, Arriva London's Commercial Support Manager, said: "The electrical faults meant the doors of some buses could not be opened or closed.
"This caused problems for the automatic gear change mechanism.
"We hoped to get the service off to a good start.
"This is disappointing and unacceptable, and we will go back to the bus manufacturers about this.
"We apologise to customers who have been caused any delays.
"Hopefully this is a short-term blip."