Still here

I’m still here, honest. Just not had much time for this blog as my energy and thoughts are elsewhere at the moment. My student blog, set up to record progress on one particular module, is the one I’ve been giving a lot of attention lately, so this one is feeling neglected.

Sorry, blog. I’ll be back one day.

Land Registry Rumours? Looking in the wrong place, sorry.

I see quite an upturn again in visitors looking for Land Registry rumours on here.

Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 07.30.27

This might, once upon a time, have been the place to come for breaking Land Registry news, but that was back in 2009/2010 when I was going through redundancy as part of the first big round of office closures.

I’ve moved on since then, and so has this blog.

So, if you’re one of the many people finding yourself here after a Google search like those above, sorry, but you’ll have to find your news elsewhere now.

After 50 days, Unobus reply.

Well, well. If you have a long memory, you’ll recall I emailed the General Manager of Unobus about a frustrating journey I had. I spent ages wording that email, I did. Which is why I was frustrated not to get a response. I emailed again the a couple of weeks later, and still nothing.

Time to bring things up to date…

The following week, in case the General Manager wasn’t getting his emails, I copied both to the general enquiry email address with this covering note:

Dear Unobus,

I sent this email to Michael Finn back on 27th November and a follow-up last week. As I’ve had no response or even acknowledgement I’m forced to assume that Mr Finn no longer works at Unobus.

Who is supposed to deal with complaints now? And in what timescale?

Oh, and while I’m here, I note that no-one has responded to any of many complaints about late or missing services on your twitter account since 3rd October. Have you simply abandoned the idea of communicating with your customers?

Now, because this was a general email address, I got an automatic response, promising a reply within two days. That was back on 16th December. So, a month later, I sent one more, this time copying it in to BusUsersUK.

Dear Unobus and Michael Finn,

Frankly I am baffled that I have still heard nothing from you in response to these emails. As you will see from the copies below, I first emailed a complaint directly to the General Manager Michael Finn on 27th November, which is just over seven weeks ago. As I had had no acknowledgement to my email (or a subsequent follow-up) I emailed the general unobus email address on 16th December.

This triggered an auto-response that promised a reply within two days to an enquiry, and 14 days to a complaint. This was four and a half weeks ago, and still I wait.

I am sending this in a vain hope that you may eventually respond. I have copied this email to BusUsersUK in the hope that they may manage to elicit a response from you if you fail to do so.

And what do you know? I got a reply!

Dear Trevor

I refer to your understandable frustration with regard to the lack of response to your original complaint in which you described in fairly emotive terms (‘Emotive terms’? I was trying to be funny! TC.) the distress and uncertainty caused to passengers forced to decamp from the ‘bendy bus’ at the ‘T-mobile’ stop and wait for a replacement bus to materialise.

I very much regret the difficulties caused to you on the evening in question and would advise that the Supervisor on duty did work very hard to organise a replacement bus but his efforts were undermined by the lack of buses returning to the depot due to congestion in St Albans and the Apex Corner area. The bus that was due to be sent out to cover the 635 journey was instead allocated to a duty covering route 614 as there had been a gap of one hour on this route due to the late returning buses from the Edgware area. The only other bus available was small single deck bus which our Duty Engineer would not allow to be allocated to route 635 as it was unsuitable for use on the A1(M) to Stevenage. For this reason it was necessary for passengers to wait for the late running following journey on bus 625.

A replacement bus was organised but this operated some 10 minutes or so after the 625 had departed. Our Supervisor was wracked with guilt over the failure to supply a replacement bus within a reasonable timescale but his best laid plans were, for the reasons indicated above, frustrated.

Please accept my apologies for the difficulties caused to you on the evening in question and, as a gesture of goodwill, I would be pleased to supply you with £10 worth of Uno vouchers to offset the cost of any bus tickets you purchase in the future. It is clearly unacceptable to be left stranded as you were on the evening in question and this ,as I hope you agree, is a very rare occurrence. If you could let me have a postal address I will arrange for the vouchers to be forwarded to you

I would also apologise for the delay in responding to you which has come about due to the fact that the period of marginal staff and bus shortages provoked a disproportionate increase in the number of complaints received and this has fully stretched our limited staff resources although we are on target to clear the backlog by the end of the month. I would confirm that all complaints have been investigated and that where appropriate lessons have been learned and put into practice so as to improve the bus operation.

Needless to say if you want to discuss any of the forgoing in more detail then please do not hesitate to contact me via the contact details below.

Kind regards

Michael Finn
General Manager

So, there you have it. Worth persevering. I’ve thanked him for a thorough response and given him my address for the vouchers.

New Year’s Resolution. Challenge me if you think I’ve slipped up.

I don’t normally, but I’ve made a New Year’s Resolution this year. I started it early (29th December, just to get a run-up) and so far I’ve stuck to it. Decided to publicly post it so if you catch me out you can challenge me.

So this is it: No phone in the bedroom.

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Not sure how you’d catch me out, but if you suspect I’ve failed, shout!

(Posted from desktop computer just *before* going to bed!) 

 

Photographic Inspiration

I really should get back into posting things I’ve come across that have inspired me photographically. So, here’s something. I LOVED this series that the Guardian Magazine featured just before Christmas. Really lovely stuff; Alan Powdrill spotted the efforts made by small cafes in London to decorate their premises for Christmas and rightly decided to photograph them. Beautifully observed and captured.

© Alan Powdrill

© Alan Powdrill

© Alan Powdrill

You can see the magazine feature here, or why not take a look at Alan’s own website where you can see the whole set and lots of other great work. (To find these, click on ‘projects’ them ‘Greasy Christmas’.)

With those still in my mind, I spotted this little scene at Stevenage railway station today. Not the same at all, but it did get me thinking about a possible project for next year…

Extravagantly festive at Stevenage station.© Me. (Snapped with iPhone and a bit rubbish.) 

Note: Alan Powdrill’s images strictly © Alan Powdrill. I did email Alan asking permission to post these on here, but haven’t heard back. I’ve posted them anyway (a) on the grounds that this is a personal, not-for-profit blog only, and (b) on the understanding that I’ll remove them if requested. 

In which Unobus did *not* leave me stranded this week.

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Still no reply from Unobus about my adventure the other week. Here’s my follow-up email:

Dear Mr Finn,

Hello again, and Merry Christmas.

A shorter story for you this time. On Wednesday I caught the 635 from the Forum at 16:08 as usual. When the driver told us we were going to do a bus swap, my heart sank following my previous experience. But you know what Michael? This time the bus was ready and waiting for us! How I rejoiced! (Even though the new bus was rather chilly.) Thank you.

I can’t help but notice, though, that I’m still waiting for a response to my previous email dated 27 November. That’s over two weeks, now, Michael, and I’ve not even had any acknowledgement. Not even a “thanks for your email, we’ll investigate and respond later”.

Nope, nothing.

What is your response time for complaints, Michael?

Trevor Coultart

(PS: I’ve reproduced my original email below, just in case that’s gone missing like the bus seemed to.)