One of the side effects of all the recent traffic problems for us in Customer Services – aside from hot, stressed people shouting at us when their buses are late – is the problem of finding buses when we are investigating complaints.

We always investigate any reports of problems – be it a problem with a driver’s attitude, his driving, a ticketing error or a problem with a vehicle.  Normally, we can do this based on the time/date/location/direction of travel, as we can narrow down the number of buses that should have been in the vicinity and trace their operation through our data.  It is a long, fiddly process, but it is worth it as we can usually track down the problem and solve it effectively.

However, at the moment we are really struggling.  The reason?  Well, with all the traffic congestion, the buses are obviously not in their timetabled positions.  In order to minimise the effect of the delays, our Inspectors are also moving vehicles and drivers around as they become available to make sure services at least leave the Bus Station on time, where possible.  This also means that buses and drivers are not where we expect them to be – making it difficult to know where to start when investigating.  It is all getting terribly messy in our office as a result!

Our advice is that if you have a problem with a service that you want us to investigate and put right, we really need you to make a note of some vital information.  We still need the time, date etc, but if you have a ticket issued by the driver of the service involved, PLEASE keep hold of it.  The ticket has the driver number on it, which can help us identify the driver really quickly.  If not, the vehicle registration number – or even better, the fleet number – will also help enormously (particularly if the problem is with the vehicle itself, not the driver). 

The fleet number is the 5-digit number displayed on the front and rear of the bus.  Bus spotters love these!  If you want trivia – the first two digits tell us what type of vehicle it is (whether it is a double decker, a dart, a B7, an Optare, or whatever…).  The following three numbers identify the specific vehicle/item of rolling stock.  The same system is used for all First’s vehicles – including the train carriages etc.  If you didn’t want trivia…. apologies!

So, whilst we REALLY hope that you don’t have any problems with our services, if you do want us to investigate, please try to make a note of the vehicle registration or fleet number, and keep any ticket issued by the driver of the service.  We are really struggling under the current conditions to investigate without these details, so they will help us to resolve any issues for you quicker.

Many thanks for your continued support!  If you have any questions, please leave us a comment here on the blog, email us at or or contact @bathcsc on Twitter.

Or pop in and see us 😉 We are still at the temporary Bus Station at Avon Street Car Park until Saturday 6th June!