Saturday, 13 September 2008

Customer Service - FAIL!

A bus driver admitted hurling an astonishing tirade of four-letter words at an OAP passenger - but denied calling him old.

Passenger John Bustin asked driver Juan Jose Zepeda if his bus went from Victoria Place, Bright-lingsea, to Colchester.

The pensioner was stunned when dad-of-four Zepeda replied, “Are you f****** blind?”, a court heard.

Mr Bustin asked him to repeat what he had said, but the driver then swore again, said Lucy Miller, prosecuting.

Zepeda stood up clenching his fists in anger, the court heard.
I think the bus company should rethink its customer service training...

But the punchline is in the last part of the report:
Zepeda still drives the route for the same bus company...
Huh..?

So, you can direct a tirade of abuse at a customer (witnessed by passengers), go to court for it and be found guilty and fined, and keep your job? But if you back the wrong politcal party, even though there's no actual evidence that you've ever treated any customer poorly, you can be sacked?

12 comments:

willwilliamsdh said...

Hi

"Zepeda, 37, later told police his victim started the row by telling him to change the “f****** sign” on the bus."
"He had been driving buses for 14 years and was of previous good character."

1. It's sad the way certain people use what the law still regards as an obsecne word as a matter ofr routine, and in public. A man aged 65 or more would have been brought up at a time when such words were not used when ladies were present, I am sure.

2. Although what the driver admitted he had done is unacceptable, on the facts, it was a one-off, over 14 years.

3. By staying in the job, he is facing a small degree of humiliation every time his regular passengers see him.

4. I'd like to think that the decison to keep him on was not done in the face of resistance from passengers and colleagues who have long known he is a wrong 'un.

5. At least he is still able to pay his own way and not live off benefits.

6. Oh, and for good measure, the use of the term OAP doesn't pass muster in many 'PC-aware' places, these days.

Thanks for pointing it out to us

Regards
Will

DJ said...

He's just using the obscenities the British just won't use.

marvin said...

Good points willwilliamsdh. Terrible behaviour from the driver, but like you say if he's been doing it for 14 years and it's a one off... I'm not sure the wisdom of him doing the same route, though.

Ross said...

The customer was lucky not to be prosecuted for victimising a tourette's sufferer.

JuliaM said...

"A man aged 65 or more would have been brought up at a time when such words were not used when ladies were present, I am sure."

Almost certainly.

"Oh, and for good measure, the use of the term OAP doesn't pass muster in many 'PC-aware' places, these days."

Heh! I expect the MSM gets a free pass there...

"I'm not sure the wisdom of him doing the same route, though."

Indeed. You'd think they'd shift him just to avoid any recurrance...

Anonymous said...

Do you just cut and paste from the daily mail to provide entries for this blog? Or do you come up with original thought that I have missed somewhere?

JuliaM said...

"Do you just cut and paste from the daily mail to provide entries for this blog?"

No, sometimes I cut and paste from 'The Guardian'. But I make certain I wash my hands very carefully afterwards.

"Or do you come up with original thought that I have missed somewhere?"

Hard to say - you must miss so much... ;)

woman on a raft said...

One Gazette respondent says - but might be wrong - that this involves a Cedric's coach rather than a First Bus. First Bus operate the peak hour routes (74/78) while Cedric's do the off-peak (74X/78X). In July 2007 First Bus decided it couldn't operate the route on a charity basis. Essex county council agreed to increase the subsidy to keep the route, and to accept some changes to the timetable.

Cedric's of Colchester
http://www.cedriccoaches.com/
operates only two routes as public transport tender:
"This operator has one service between Brighlingsea and Colchester numbered 74X/78X, operated with Leyland Olympians/Bristol VRTs."

It is a small stable of good quality tourist coaches, so the simplest reason for leaving Mr Z on the route is that there isn't a driver to swap with. They either let him drive, or they lose the contract and nobody gets to Colchester until they sort out somebody else. First Bus - if it was one of their services - will have had more drivers, but most UK bus companies find it difficult to recruit, so they don't necessarily have someone available.

Having checked the multimap for Brightlingsea, Mr Z commands a certain amount of sympathy. From Brightlingsea there are only two destinations, really - Colchester (turn left) and Clacton (turn right).

The bus appears to be the 78X until it gets to Wivenhoe, which can be regarded as a suburb of Colchester - only be tactful, don’t say it within earshot of a Wivenhoe councillor. At that point Mr Z changes the number to 74X. You need a proper anorak to tell you why it has two route numbers. N.B. I am not a proper anorak, no siree, it’s my friend.

I can't see any listed routes for Brightlingsea to Clacton, so if you see a bus in Brightlingsea, it is going to Colchester unless it loses the will to live and makes it no further than Wivenhoe. A distinct possibility.

Presumably after driving the route for a while and the bus always going to Colchester via Wivenhoe, and the umpteenth passenger asking yet again if it was going to Colchester, as if there was a possibility of him saying 'No, Sir, this one is for Venice, hope you've got your passport because I'm going up to the A120 and heading for Harwich, then I'm going cross-country to the fleshpots of Europe", Mr Z just snapped.

Being a bus driver is a good deal harder than people imagine. The PSV licence is not easy to get and the health of drivers is checked regularly. It's not easy to qualify after the age of 50 unless they've kept themselves in good nick, although the companies are very happy indeed to receive applications from all groups, especially anybody who is going to turn up reliably and is willing do do the more difficult shifts. The basic dynamic of the market is that people want the fares kept low, so the companies are searching for an illusive combination of a skills, a highly responsible attitude, and willingness to sell labour for modest wages in the private sector.

There is also an indefinable quality of status; one of the reason you will see more Poles driving buses now is that particularly in Germany and Poland there is a historical status attached to the job. In Britain it has a lower social status than it deserves, but the Poles don't know this - yet.

I put this down to the ghost of "On the Buses" wherein it is clear that despite the ostensible skirt-chasing of bus driver Stan (Reg Varney), our hero is in fact a deeply-repressed homosexual in an affectionate but fruitless pas de deux with his Mum (Doris Hare). The real object of his affection is the straight, and therefore unattainable, Jack (Bob Grant). If either Reg had come out: "Ding Ding if you're glad to be gay", or the role had been played by Sean Connery, it would be far easier to recruit drivers today.

Rob said...

"The basic dynamic of the market is that people want the fares kept low, so the companies are searching for an elusive combination of skills, a highly responsible attitude, and willingness to sell labour for modest wages in the private sector."

Whereas on public sector buses the driver would call you 'Sir' and a harpist would soothe your journey with blissful music.

Actually, no. You'd have all the problems you have today, except it would cost twice as much (whether in fares and/or taxation) and the company would be even more contemptuous of the public than they are now.

woman on a raft said...

Rob - I never put forward the case for public sector buses - nor would I. The idea sucks. Did you think I had or was about to? I simply explained some of the reasons why it isn't raining bus drivers in the Essex Archipelago, and thus why Mr Z is likely to be kept on the route.

None the less it is an interesting problem because the demand for buses is often (if not usually) on a social basis rather than an economic one. People traveling from Brightlingsea to Colchester neither have enough numbers nor pay enough fare to make this an economically viable service. Essex County Council decided to increase the subsidy to keep services running - notably the evening and Sunday services -
"to reduce congestion, minimise environmental impacts and help older people to live at home."

JuliaM said...

"I am not a proper anorak, no siree, it’s my friend."

;)

"In Britain it has a lower social status than it deserves, but the Poles don't know this - yet."

I expect some of them have found out the hard way by now...

Rick said...

I've been working with the public for over 20 years. Trust me, you would swear too.