St Neots residents who commute into Cambridge were complaining this week after their previous complaints were resolved.
Bus company Ragecoach adjusted their legendary Mighty X5 service a fortnight ago after users complained that it stopped too often, especially on the Bedford-bound portion of the route. “It’s a joke really,” commented bus pass holder Lily Van Smith, 64, a couple of months ago. “The bus stops at the Spar shop, a few people get off, then it stops again at the corner of Manor Farm Road, and then a few yards later opposite the garage. These lazy fat bastards really could get off at the first stop and spend two minutes walking down,” she ranted, before alighting at Sandfields Road, a good hundred metres further down the road.
Indeed, the excessive number of bus stops is a legacy of times past. “In the eighties,” explains local historian John Black, “there was only the Oxford to Cambridge or Northampton to Cambridge via Bedford bus, and they had alternate stops. If you wanted to go from Eaton Socon to the train station you had to get one of these long-distance coaches. Back then you could still smoke at the back of the bus and a return to Bedford was only three shillings, AND we used to leave the back door at home unlocked…”
Abandoning that loose end, the Citizen visited the Market Square early this morning to talk to some real-life bus users. Sainsburys employee Sarah Red-Bull, 18, catches the X5 into Cambridge every day for her eleven-hour till tart shift at the city’s St Andrew’s Street branch. “Up until last month,” Red-Bull explains, “I used to catch the bus from outside the George and Dragon. Now I have to walk into town, it’s bloody hell.”
Olly Sandford, who works at nearby Cambridge Arsessment, agreed. “I used to alight on the way back at the Ford garage, which I live opposite. Now I have to get off in the Market Square and walk back. This adds a good five minutes of fresh air to my day which I’m not entirely pleased about.”
Ragecoach customer service director Zoe Page made a statement to the Citizen. “You lot are never fucking happy are you? First you said you needed town buses, so we got you all these incomprehensible sixty-something buses which no bastard ever uses. Then along cam bus passes and the X5 took an hour to get through town and was full of pensioners riding for free, and you said it stopped too often. So we took away some stops. And now you don’t like walking.
“It’s like when you said the buses were old and crap, so we got all these new ones with leather seats and toilets and that, and all you ever do is bitch about the WiFi not working.
“Frankly, if you don’t like it, stop being cheap and get a car, and we’ll take £2.60 off you at the Park & Ride. Can’t escape Ragecoach in Cambridgeshire can you!”
Whatever happens, it’s likely that passenger numbers on the X5 will remain exactly the same. A few really lazy people – or those who genuinely can’t walk that far – will probably start getting the bus into town. If they choose to do so, they’ve got about a million different buses that all follow roughly the same route to choose from; but you can rest assured that commuters won’t be happy either way. “The only way to please some people would be to have the bus stopping every three bus-lengths,” commented Page, “but then they’ll all just whinge about all the riff-raff hanging around in front of their houses waiting for the bus. Which, let’s face it, is always fucking late.”