Another journey from hell

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After yet another ‘journey from hell’ from Staithes to Middlesbrough courtesy of Arriva’s X5 ‘service’ I finally feel compelled to write to complain.

The X5 service is invariably late along its route, uses the oldest buses, is often over-crowded and produces the most uncomfortable of rides as the drivers throw the buses round the bends on the country roads along the route in a desperate attempt to make up time.

The last straw came this Friday the 15 July. I caught the bus that should arrive at 15.27 at Staithes in fact it arrived at 15.46. It was a very old and noisy bus and broke down at the Tiger Inn at Easington. After a minute or so the driver advised us that we would have to get out. Very annoyingly before we were told to get out, the X4 to Middlesbrough pulled in behind us. Why on earth didn’t the driver ask the X4 to wait a moment? Many of us wanted to go to Middlesbrough.

Once we got out the driver told us that the buses were always breaking down and asked all of us to phone the number on the back of the ticket to complain in the hope of getting something done. Shortly after 16.00 hrs another X5 arrived, thankfully a slightly newer one and our journey continued.

Despite the driver’s best efforts to break the world record for a bus journey from Loftus to Middlesbrough to make up time we didn’t arrive in Middlesbrough until after 17.00 hrs, too late unfortunately for me to catch my connecting service to Newcastle and I had to wait until 17.40. I didn’t arrive home until after 19.30, a four hour journey from Staithes, one which should normally take only 2½ hours.

Isn’t it time Arriva stopped treating the population of the North Yorkshire coast with contempt? The X5 service always runs late – is the timetable realistic or can the buses they provide simply not keep to time? The service often has buses that are reminiscent of my school days, old and often breaking down, old fashioned in seating style, with uncomfortable seats and very hard suspension, noisy, dirty and smelly, either cold and draughty or hot and stuffy, and over-crowded particularly at peak points along the route. I’ve seen many very modern Arriva buses on other routes especially on local routes around Middlesbrough, so why not on the X5?

I’m puzzled by the use of the letter X on this route to Whitby. If it means it is an ‘Express’ service like Northern Buses’ fast and efficient X10 service between Middlesbrough and Newcastle why does it stop at every stop? Surely one stop in each village should be enough with perhaps two in the towns like Guisborough and Loftus. Does it need to stop at every stop on its way in or out of Middlesbrough?

My final point is a very selfish one. Why does the X4 terminate at Easington? Surely Staithes or Hinderwell are much bigger places to terminate at and you would pick up several passengers each time if that service could be extended. Why does the X4 service have much more modern and comfortable buses?

Adrian Starr, Seaton Garth, Staithes by email