Sunday evening, 1851, Brentwood Station. The train has just arrived from London and a Brentwood senior citizen is waiting for her connecting bus home. It's parked up by the station. She waits for it to move, turn round and pick up passengers. And she waits. And then she waits some more.
It doesn't move, so she crosses the road and asks the driver if this bus is the 80C, to which the driver replies "yes, but it's broken down". Apparently the back lights didn't work. She checked and they weren't working alright:
First's solution: do nothing. Leave passengers, including this pensioner who relies on the bus, stranded. Our friend ended up having to fork out £8 to get the taxi home, just ten minutes away.
But this isn't the end of the story. Routes 80A and 80C on Sundays are subsidised by Essex County Council. So First is being handed taxpayers' money to run these services. The 1851 80C from Brentwood Station on Sunday did not run. With the nearest bus depot being in either Basildon or Chelmsford, we're quite certain the 1951 80A didn't run either. So will First be handing the subsidy money for that journey back to the council? We sincerely hope so.
If they didn't, then we hope Essex County Council will be looking for alternative providers of their subsidised bus services.
Was Sunday night's 80A/80C debacle an isolated incident or have you been the victim of a non-running First bus in Brentwood? Please leave a comment and let us know, especially if it's a subsidised service for which First have their hand firmly in the taxpayers' pockets.