Public transport advocate left stranded after delivering talk on traffic in Devizes (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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Public transport advocate left stranded after delivering talk on traffic in Devizes
10:00am Thursday 7th March 2013 in News
A renowned expert in the environment who had just given a lecture on the benefits of public transport was left standing at a bus stop in Devizes after the bus he and his wife were waiting for failed to turn up.
Professor John Whitelegg had delivered a speech to a public meeting organised by Devizes Passengers, the local public transport lobby group, promoting alternatives to the car as the Devizes Area Transport Plan goes out to consultation.
The packed lecture at the Corn Exchange was a great success but problems arose when Prof Whitelegg and his wife prepared to return home the following day.
They waited at the bus stop in the Market Place to catch the X72 to Bath railway station to pick up their train to Lancaster – but the bus did not turn up.
Half an hour later, shivering in the cold and fearful of missing their connection, they were given a lift to Chippenham to get their journey back on track at Bristol Temple Meads.
The X72 bus from Bath had broken down that morning and the replacement vehicle had got caught up in traffic.
Although operator Faresaver reimbursed all his extra travel costs promptly, Prof Whitelegg was far from amused. He told Faresever: “We were left abandoned in a part of the world we do not know well.
“This is a very poor service and is simply not good enough. We would like to see a written commitment that you will not in future abandon bus passengers and you will put in place procedures to rescue them.”
Daniel Pickford, of Faresaver, replied: “It was not possible to send anyone out to Devizes to advise passengers as we couldn’t physically send enough people to Batheaston, Melksham, Devizes and Easterton. Any disruptions to service are notified to passengers through our website along with our social networking sites.”
Jasper Selwyn, of Devizes Passengers, said he had also experienced abandonment when returning from Bath.
He said: “The bus failed to show up. Again no information. Eventually we got a bus to Chippenham and then had to get a taxi to Devizes.
“I contacted Faresaver and was told there had been an accident near Devizes which held up the bus in both directions on its previous journey.
“There was no offer to reimburse us for the taxi.”