Tayside and Central Scotland

Midland Bluebird fined £15,000 over Falkirk service

A bus company has been fined £15,000 after an "eruption" of complaints from passengers.

The Traffic Commissioner for Scotland, Joan Aitken, imposed the penalty on Midland Bluebird after an inquiry in Falkirk.

The hearing was told services in the area were often late, and buses either failed to stop to collect passengers or had not turned up at all.

Midland Bluebird is part of the First Group.

During the inquiry, the Traffic Commissioner examined 13 complaints made to her office and heard evidence from directors of the business, which operates a total of 155 registered services.

In her written decision, she concluded that passengers' complaints were not being taken seriously, and that not all of the company's bus drivers were respectful.

But she also acknowledged the operator had provided evidence of good customer service.

Summing up her findings, Ms Aitken said: "The consequences of a bus not turning up can be dire for the passenger.

"These complaints illustrate just how important and how much the public relies on [a bus company] to deliver buses to them when they need them and when they have a legitimate expectation of them turning up because of the timetable."

Concluding that she had seen evidence from Midland Bluebird and the First Group that they were serious about serving the local area and improving their services, Ms Aitken ruled that the operator's reputation remained intact.

But she added: "I am not satisfied that they have shown reasonable excuse behind the eruption of public concern in the Falkirk area. It can't all be blamed on road works.

"The network required to be reviewed and better information gained as to the on road experience. Everyone needed to re-focus on serving the passenger."

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