A local business owner has told Love Salisbury that an unreliable bus service is negatively impacting her independent business.
Nina Moores owns Beaujangles Beauty – a beauty salon based in Salisbury city centre on Brown Street. She uses the PR7 bus service, which is part of the city’s Park and Ride route, to get into town to meet her clients.
Nina said, “I have been getting the bus into town for about two years now and it has always been quite an unreliable service but recently it has been absolutely shocking. There are services that are just totally missed. Some days it’s not just one, it can be up to three services that are missed back to back.
“It’s an absolute pain. I aim to get into town an hour before my appointments start to give me enough time to set up and obviously be there on time to start for my clients. But not even an hour seems to be enough.”
Nina says that because of bus services being missed, she has had to cancel some of her clients and move appointments to later in the day.
“Luckily some of my clients are understanding but some of them have had to move their appointments, unfortunately, to accommodate me being late because of the busses which isn’t acceptable,” added Nina.
Nina says she feels that she is “at the stage where the bus pass is a total waste of money because I am not benefiting from the service that I have paid for and I am paying for parking on top of that.
“It’s been on quite a few occasions now where I have been waiting at a bus stop to get into town and a bus service will be missed. I am under tight time constraints, I can’t wait over 40 minutes for a bus, so I have to ditch the bus stop, run back to the house, get in the car and drive to town and pay for parking on top the bus pass that I have already paid for.”
Nina tells Love Salisbury that her main concern is the lack of communication to customers as to which services are running and which aren’t.
“If those bus services weren’t shown online then I wouldn’t have expected the bus to come. Nothing online is updated and there is nowhere online that gives you updates to say the services aren’t running.
“I have a big problem with the communication and updating of systems, obviously, the missing of the services is my main frustration or concern but if they updated their systems and communicated with their customers that would be so much better for everybody.”
Nina says she has tried to communicate her struggles with Salisbury Reds, but she is either met with “the same excuses” or a lack of response.
“The same excuses of COVID, traffic and a shortage of bus drivers are made but nothing seems to be put in place to resolve those issues. Why show services online that aren’t coming or won’t come?”
In response to Nina’s concerns, Alex Chutter, General Manager for Salisbury Reds said, “I am sorry to learn of the concerns reported by Ms Moores. As she suggests, the reliability issues we have faced in more recent months have been the direct result of traffic congestion and staffing issues due to Covid and recruitment challenges.
“We have done everything possible to minimise disruption for our customers – including temporary timetables with reduced frequency on some services. The PR7 currently runs every 30 minutes and, with the exception of the odd day, has been relatively stable over the past few weeks.
“With this in mind, I would be very interested to learn more of Ms Moores’ specific concerns, and would be happy to meet with her to understand exactly when these issues occurred.
“Once again, I apologise to our customers for any delays to our services whilst we continue to face these unprecedented challenges, and I would like to thank them for their ongoing patience and understanding.”