Midland Bluebird fined over late and cancelled Falkirk buses
Joan Aitken had received 13 complaints that the operator, owned by Aberdeen-based FirstGroup, ran late services, buses failed to stop to collect passengers or not turned up at all.
Ms Aitken ruled that passengers’ complaints were not being taken seriously and not all of the company’s bus drivers were respectful.
But she also acknowledged the operator had provided evidence of good customer service.
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.”
She said of the firm: “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.”
A spokesman for First Scotland East said: “Last year’s public inquiry was an opportunity for us to explain in detail the circumstances behind a few complaints we’ve had from customers in the Falkirk area.
“We talked at length about the impact roadworks have had on our services, but despite that, and other factors beyond our control, we were able to run a largely reliable and punctual service.
“Indeed, since the inquiry we’ve made a number of improvements.
“We note the Traffic Commissioner’s decision and we are currently considering our position.”