‘Absolute joke’: Warwick students give their views on Stagecoach
A recent poll by The Boar revealed that Warwick Students are extremely dissatisfied with the Stagecoach bus service from Leamington Spa to Warwick Campus.
In total, 88% of respondents stated they had a negative view of Stagecoach buses, while only 10% had a positive experience of the service.
Lateness, irregularity, overcrowding, extra-long travel times, and bad customer service were all commonly mentioned as causes of frustration with Stagecoach buses.
61% of students recorded that the bus was late very frequently (more than half of the time they took the bus), while a further 29% stated that the bus was late frequently (around half the time they took the bus.) Altogether, 90% of respondents said that buses were more likely to arrive late than on time.
Lengthy waiting times were a further grievance: 71% said that when the bus was late, it was late by an average of more than 10 minutes, while 5 respondents stated specifically that they experienced average waits of over 30 minutes when buses failed to arrive as scheduled.
Despite experiencing underwhelming service, many students living in Leamington Spa have no option but to travel to campus by Stagecoach buses. Of the 77 students who stated they had no other way of reliably getting to lectures, seminars and classes, 65% said buses were late very frequently, 81% said they were waiting for at least 10 minutes when the bus was late, and a massive 90% had a negative opinion of the Stagecoach service.
The poll also asked respondents to comment on their disappointment with Stagecoach buses.
“The buses are unreliable, not convenient and it’s very difficult when it is the only available form of transport (other than a taxi/Uber) to university. Paying £300+ [the cost of a yearly bus pass] to be late for lectures/seminars when you leave with plenty of time is unfair and a waste of time and money.”
“Unreliable, not enough buses at peak times, i.e. on the hour. Definitely doesn’t come every 7-8 minutes. Overly crowded every morning due to lack of buses actually turning up.”
“They advertise the buses as getting to the bus stop every 7-8 minutes when at the campus bus stop it’s more like every 14 minutes. This creates such a backlog of people (on top of the fact that 4pm-6pm is prime time for people wanting to get back home), it’s such a nightmare getting on. If you don’t bully your way on you could be standing there for over an hour. Absolute joke.”
“At peak hours there can be 100+ people huddled around the uni station. Not a reasonable thing to expect of paying customers.”
“The buses are always late, the experience waiting for a bus is absolute chaos, highly unpleasant, and even after waiting for at times 20-30 mins for a late bus, it’s not even guaranteed you’ll get on.”
“Always late, never trustworthy. I also had my bus pass stolen and rang on multiple occasions and Stagecoach said they would send me a new one but a new one never came.”
“The bus has taken a route recently due to roadworks which takes an hour to get from Leamington to campus. Not enough buses run which means at least one bus is always full when you try to go home. The bus is often full to the brim which makes for a very uncomfortable journey.”
“I have to leave 90 minutes before my lecture starts to get in on time in case the buses take longer than planned, and the recent roadworks don’t help. On days where I’ve been lucky enough to be driven in that journey is about a quarter of that length.”
“There is no desire to make the commute to campus and attend in-person seminars and lectures when I’m wasting two hours a day to get there and back (and that’s on a good day). If you’re going to charge ridiculous prices for students to attend and utilise 9K worth of education, the buses should be frequent, reliable and I shouldn’t fear that I’m going to be crushed just to get a seat on the bus.”
“If there was any other way to get to campus consistently (even if it took double the time), I’d take it.”
Following the results of the poll, The Boar reached out to StageCoach for a response.
“[On the frequent lateness of buses] ‘You may be aware there has been a UK-wide bus driver shortage which is impacting many bus companies across the country. Our services in Warwickshire and especially Leamington have not been immune from the disruption this has caused.
“We have seen a strong uptake in driver vacancies. However, it can take around 3 months to fully train someone to drive a bus. In the short term, we are using agency staff to boost our driver numbers.
“[On long-travel times and unpredictable service] Currently a bigger influence on service issues has not been driver related but the volume and severity of roadworks in the area. We are doing our best to mitigate the problems and re-routing buses to less impacted areas. Where buses are cancelled, we share the proportion of trips across the network to try and avoid any one service being overly impacted. Where possible, we continue to provide additional buses at key times to ensure capacity.”