TRANSPORT chiefs today stressed they take “every comment” seriously after it emerged hundreds of passengers complained about Blackpool’s bus and tram service last year.
A Gazette Freedom of Information request has revealed Blackpool Transport received 807 complaints last year – including four for drivers smoking or using a mobile phone.
The majority of complaints against the firm – which operates services across the Fylde coast – came because drivers had failed to stop or offered poor customer service.
But regular users defended workers, and described the service they offer as a “credit” to the town.
Blackpool Transport carries in the region of 12 million passengers every year, meaning it received an average of one complaint for every 18,000 passengers who used it services.
And Bob Mason, the firm’s director of delivery, told The Gazette: “We review all customer comments monthly and look for trends and issues.
“Sometimes there are issues and if there are we use those comments to assist us in making changes to services.
“All complaints in relation to reliability or driver conduct are investigated and we do take the necessary corrective action where required.
“We received 88 comments in August 2012, and that’s in relation to 1.65m people that we carried.
“I would be naive if I said everybody is happy with the service they are getting but what I would say is the vast majority of people are satisfied.”
The firm received 218 complaints triggered by drivers failing to stop and 286 for poor customer care, while 40 complaints were against tram drivers.
Mr Mason added the complaints about smoking and using mobile phones were not incidents which took place in the driver’s cab.
Stephen Brookes, chairman of the Blackpool Passenger Focus Panel, added: “As a panel we regularly do a mystery shopping exercise on the buses and I have to say there are some legitimate reasons for complaint and there are some people who will just complain.
“We report the bad incidents but we also report the good incidents because we fell recognising those who do well is a way of improving driver performance.”
The number 14 was the most complained about bus, with 115 complaints.
Bus route campaigner Angela Patchett, from Fleetwood, said: “I’m quite surprised by the complaints as I find the drivers really nice. There are sometimes too many people getting on the number 14 in Blackpool so you can’t get on at Marsh Mill, in Thornton, but I think the tram and bus service is a credit to Blackpool.”