Fife man hits out as commuting issues impact work and mental health

Fife man hits out as commuting issues impact work and mental health

Dean McKenzie has been making the journey on Stagecoach’s X54 bus for more than a year but says both his job and mental health are now being affected by delays, cancellations and “extremely poor customer service”.

The bus stops at Halbeath and Ferrytoll before making its way to Edinburgh city centre, where Dean works.

He told the Times: “It has made commuting, specifically getting home from Edinburgh, an absolute nightmare which is now affecting my mental health and potentially now my professional role that I hold in Edinburgh city centre.

“Where getting into Edinburgh normally doesn’t pose too much of an issue each morning, getting home from anywhere around 3.30pm and 6.30pm is proving extremely troublesome with Stagecoach.

“From as long as I can remember, the return journeys out of the city centre back to Fife have been marred with cancellations and unacceptable delays.

“When reaching out to Stagecoach for a response, I have been ignored, laughed at and even verbally abused by staff and drivers alike.

“The main crux behind these issues seems to be the same old story of ‘a shortage of drivers’.”

Dean added that, after asking a staff member in Edinburgh about delays, he was told: “It is never going to get better, I mean how long is a piece of string?”

He says he has since used social media to highlight the issues and has emailed Stagecoach with his concerns, but the bus operator could not confirm this.

Dean went on to explain that, when delays occur, he is either left waiting for the next service for nearly an hour, or is forced to take the train home at an added expense.

A day return from his home in Hill of Beath to Edinburgh costs £7.20, while he says it costs an additional £7.60 for an anytime single ticket from Edinburgh Waverley to Cowdenbeath.

Dean says this adds up to around £300 on commuting costs alone each month.

He added: “Not only contending with the monetary headache, it is the work and life balance that is then distorted with not getting home until much later on in the evening compared to when I could get in, in normal circumstances.

“To help my personal situation I am learning to drive, again at an extra personal expense of £40 a lesson but facing lengthy backlogs of up to 24 weeks to sit my test.”

Stagecoach East Scotland said it has seen delays affecting Express services departing Edinburgh at peak times due to traffic congestion, but that this was beyond its control.

A spokesperson said: “We aim to provide a safe, reliable and punctual service but there are occasions when we are simply unable to run as advertised due to factors outside of our control, such as road works, diversions, exceptional traffic congestion, etc.

“Customers can contact our customer service team at: about refunds for tickets they were unable to use due to service cancellation as per the ticket terms and conditions.

“As always, we will look into any problems our customers raise and address these on a case-by-case basis.

“We expect all employees to conduct themselves in a highly professional, respectable manner and show consideration to all passengers using our services. Complaints received by our Customer Services team are taken very seriously and thoroughly investigated.”