Mr. Damian Graham
I would be very interested in hearing your justification for the recent price rises you have introduced and your justification for abandoning the town season ticket.
You have consistently raised prices over the last couple of years well above the rate of inflation. In fact you have raised prices well above the level of fuel inflation. This can only mean that your company is in severe financial trouble. In turn this can only mean that your company is grossly mismanaged.
Giving your staff pay-rises for many, many years in a row (the number of which I appreciate may have been misreported by the Warrington Guardian) is not good business sense if the result is putting up prices for your customers multiple times a year, every year. In the last twelve months alone, you have increased prices no fewer than THREE times! Giving in to the recent drivers strike was utter stupidity on your part. What you should have done was to sack each and every one of them and then make it a point NOT to re-employ any of them. If you hold your employers to ransom in that way, you do not deserve to be employed. There are plenty of individuals who are hard working but unemployed who would be delighted to fill the positions that your ungrateful drivers previously held. I honestly believe that you will have little support from the public for these price rises.
As another example of miss-management, your buses clearly have new livery with a number of them advertising your utterly pointless Midas card, or boasting that you have been serving Warrington for over 110 years. As far as the 110 year livery goes, there is exactly ZERO benifit to either the customer or Network Warrington as a company. The only thing it achieves is to stroke the collective egos of Network Warrington staff. Where the Midas card is concerned, if there was any benefit (to the customer) to having one card, then it would have a point.The fact of the matter is that it ties the users' money into your company and is a distinct disadvantage, bearing in mind the unreliability of your service. In fact, the Cheshire Stored Value Travelcard offers far better value as it is usable on most operators, not just your overpriced services. As it stands, there really is no benefit whatsoever to the Midas cards - they are not durable and it appears that you are either incapable or unwilling to transfer the balance from one card to a new one. I have so far gone through three of your Midas cards as they just fall apart. I believe this is what is referred to as an "epic fail".
These price rises are simply unacceptable. To put it into context, I can get to Runcorn East by train (traditionally a far more expensive mode of transport) for about £60 a month. In contrast, to go the same distance on your service will cost me £84 a month. Indeed, even if I wanted only to go a handful of stops every day, it would cost £84 a month due to your withdrawing the town season ticket. It will now cost me an eye-watering £7.20 to go a total of 6 miles, on a daily basis. This figure is based on the fact that I do not travel there and back every day (usually just back) and therefore would have to buy singles. Please explain to me how this represents anything other than daylight robbery - go on I dare you!
The fact of the matter is that before these price rises your tickets were not fit for purpose for me (I travel mostly one way on odd days). After these price rises your tickets are not fit for any purpose. You have priced yourself out of the market. As an example, I very often took your service from the interchange to Crossfields after work and whilst the fair was a tad expensive (£1), it saved me the effort of walking. Now that you have increased the fare by a staggering 50%, I will not be taking your service at all- I'll walk. Instead of extorting an extra £2.50 out of me, you will loose ALL my fares. A price rise of this magnitude is indicative of a greedy and mismanaged company and as a matter of principle, I would now rather walk or take the more expensive Arriva service than yours.
If you are incapable of turning a profit on reasonable fares, I suggest you sell your company to one that can. You are there to offer a vital public service to the public and not extort money from them.
As it stood before the price increase, the value your service represented was barely acceptable, but now it represents truly terrible value for money. For the amount of money it would cost me to get to work on a daily basis, it is actually cheaper for me to maintain a car. I do not cuurently drive, but your greed is the tipping point - I will be commencing driving lessons shortly as I refuse to be held hostage by the awful service you provide.
The fact of the matter is that your buses appear to rarely run on time, you as a company are constantly shifting blame to the council and the subsequent service that is delivered is unacceptably poor. When a customer compains about something that is technically the responsibility of the council (such as the interchange clocks displaying a time that is apparently not correct and several minutes slow) instead of passing the buck to the council and denying any responsibility for it, how about contacting the council directly on the customers behalf? I'm sorry - but you need to pull your finger out and start treating your customers with respect. I am tired of the excuses that both yourselves and the council give me constantly blaming one another. As a customer I don't care who is responsible for information displays, I just want accurate information! When the displays do not give accurate information it looks very bad for your company, regardless of who is actually responsible. Take the dispaly at bay 5 for example - it's been broken for over three years! The doors open and shut at random and the floor is a health and safety hazard. In short the interchange is a disgrace and although Network Warrington may not be responsible for it, it's got your company logo all over it.
If it is your intention to run your company further into the ground and drive more and more of your passengers to use cars or competing services, then job well done.