well was I?

(39 Posts)
THECliffRichardSucksEggsinHell Tue 17-Dec-13 18:13:14

dd gets a taxi to and from school along with other local kids funded by the local council transport team. This taxi company apparently won the contract just this year, previously it had been a mini-bus company.

Anyway, if for some reason dd isn't going to take the taxi either way, I always let the company know so they aren't waiting for her.

Once the company drove off without two local girls after waiting for just 2 minutes because he had to pick up someone from another village. Luckily he drove back that way and saw the girls walking along a dangerous stretch of country road and stopped to pick them up.

Another time dd told me that the driver who takes them on Monday mornings, who is usually, in her words, hungover, once acted like he was drunk and started weaving the car across the road in time to the music on the radio.

That time I phoned the company, explained my fears but didn't make an official complaint because I was happy they had taken me seriously and would make sure it didn't happen again. There was no real evidence he was drunk and I didn't want him to lose his job over one stupid moment.

Today dd told me that the taxi had set off from school without her. She was a few minutes late because she had to make her way back to her cooking classroom to pick up her cooking. When she got out the taxi was gone. She went into Pupil Reception who phoned me first (I was out picking up ds) and then the taxi company who had to get the taxi to turn round and collect her.

I called them when she told me so that I could explain why she was late and that she would normally let them know if ever she wasn't going to be there. The woman on the other end of the phone was obviously very defensive from the start, I think she had presumed I was about to launch into a complaint although to be fair, it should have been obvious from the start that I was doing no such thing (friendly tone of voice, kept telling her that I agree, etc).

She was rude throughout the conversation. Told me that they are only meant to wait for pupils for 5 minutes and the driver had waited for 6 minutes and because he had to go back for her, he was late for all his other appointments and if I wanted to complain I should ring the council. I kept telling her that she was misunderstanding me and that I wasn't blaming them at all, I was just calling to explain why she was late and really for some reassurance that they wouldn't leave her stranded at school with no other way home, although I never actually got the chance to say that last bit.

In the end she was so aggressive I put the phone down. I then phoned the council to make an official complaint.

I'm taken aback by her response and wonder if I am being unreasonable? Obviously dd WAS late, by her own admission, but I was trying to explain that there was a genuine reason for that - she just kept saying how were they to know and they can't wait forever. I understood that but in the end it was clear she wasn't listening to a word I was trying to say.

I'm now worried in case dd suffers repercussions from the taxi company and given the previous problems, I wonder if I should try and make alternative arrangements for her? Or even tell the council the whole story (I've only told them what happened today)

RandomMess Tue 17-Dec-13 22:26:22

didn't even, sorry 2 x wine this eve!

RandomMess Tue 17-Dec-13 22:24:53

I did say a thank you card wink

MrsWedgeAntilles Tue 17-Dec-13 21:33:06

Certainly not for her benefit, because I agree she was rude, but maybe just to keep you on a good footing with the taxi company. You shouldn't have to but I think the general good will it would generate would make you feel better about DD traveling with them.

THECliffRichardSucksEggsinHell Tue 17-Dec-13 20:27:17

Well I don't know if the school would inform individual teachers, that is up to pupils to let teachers know that they need to catch taxis. Unfortunately dd is not very confident and wouldn't speak to a teacher unless she really really had to.

No, I'm not sending a card. Sorry but her attitude was rude and aggressive whilst I was doing my best to resolve it and actually appease her. She doesn't deserve thanks for an attitude like that.

MrsWedgeAntilles Tue 17-Dec-13 20:09:02

Fred, we've crossed posts, nice to hear that from a teacher's point of view. I always used to get really frustrated with the teachers not getting it but if no one had told you I suppose that make a lot of sense.

MrsWedgeAntilles Tue 17-Dec-13 20:05:43

Random, that's a very good idea.

OP, I think its the school at fault here. They need to make arrangements to allow all pupils to be able to take part in all parts of the school day and get home safely. If you feel the need to let the school know that your DD may have to leave early to get her taxi then the taxi is booked too early and the school need to get onto the council to sort it out.

To be fair, I may have a bit of a chip on my shoulder about this kind of thing due to all kinds of nonsense that happened when I was traveling from a very remote village to my school. I can tell you some stories that would make your hair curl and I would but they're so mental I would be outed immediately.

FredFlintstonesSister Tue 17-Dec-13 19:54:12

I agree you were not unreasonable but can I also add that as a teacher I had no idea pupils who got taxis were only given a few minutes to get themselves to the pickup point! While I suppose I realised they didn't have all afternoon, I wouldn't have thought 3 minutes seemed reasonable. And more to the point, no one has informed teachers at my school about this. I'm sure there are loads if ways the situation with picking up cooking could be resolved, but not if teachers don't know there's a problem! I hope I've never made anyone miss their taxi - I'm actually quite concerned now!

RandomMess Tue 17-Dec-13 19:49:01

Seeing as the phone call went so badly I wonder if it's worth send a note/card to the tax firm, thanking them for going back for dd - much appreciated and that you have spoken to the school to ensure that she is allowed time to be there for the taxi from now on?

THECliffRichardSucksEggsinHell Tue 17-Dec-13 19:36:27

Thanks for all honest advice apart from Nigella, who can go back to reading the Daily Mail.

THECliffRichardSucksEggsinHell Tue 17-Dec-13 19:34:46

Merrylegs fair enough. I suppose I'm cross because I honestly wasn't expecting such an aggressive and rude attitude on the phone. Yes I did think I was doing the right thing, I wasn't expecting them to fawn over me for that, I was just anxious to maintain a good working relationship with them. It's good to know that if there are any issues with school transport you can call them and they'll try to resolve. I'm not now confident with that.

I suppose I am now tagging on previous misdemeanors (I didn't file official complaint at the time as there was no evidence that he was drunk, he was just in a very good mood and was making the car 'dance'. I didn't want him to lose his job just before Christmas so asked the company to have a word with him, ensure he wasn't drunk and ensure it didn't happen again) because I guess when something like that happens you start to think back to everything else that has happened and you begin to lose confidence in them.

I will just chalk this up to experience though and if I have to deal with them again I'll go straight to the council.

I'll also explain to the school that dd needs to catch her taxi on time so sometimes she may have to leave class a couple of minutes early.

Merrylegs Tue 17-Dec-13 19:02:18

I don't think there was any need to phone them tbh. They came back and got her after all. You are cross because you thought you were doing the right thing and that they would see that. Their reaction was not what you wanted so you are tagging it on to a previous misdemeanor (which DOES sound like it warrented a complaint). If it's convenient for your DD to travel like this, and more importantly, if you think she is safe, then let it go. They are not interested in your daughter's timetable or in you as a person. It's not a relationship. It's a means of getting from a to b.

I live very rurally and we always had a little minibus thing from a taxi company to do the school run, funded by the LA. It was 4 miles to village primary and 6 miles to secondary. Now that DS is in 6th form and I drive him it's the first time I've ever had to do the school run.

Enb76 Tue 17-Dec-13 18:58:30

I think chalk it up to experience. The woman on the other end of the phone was expecting a complaint and so heard one. That's not your fault. I personally wouldn't escalate it but... I would hit the roof if I thought my child was being taken to school by someone who might be over the limit - that's the call you should have made.

THECliffRichardSucksEggsinHell Tue 17-Dec-13 18:54:33

lougle I will phone the school.

Yes I can see I probably did muddy the waters. They never normally have to wait for dd at all, so I was trying to say that we do our best to ensure she is on time and always let them know if there will be a problem.

I just should never have called.

THECliffRichardSucksEggsinHell Tue 17-Dec-13 18:52:18

Charmingbaker I doubt a coach company would have got away with weaving across the road, with several children on board, whilst singing aloud to the music on the radio and acting in an unusual manner (leading dd to say he might have been drunk).

Most people would have taken that further and lost that man his job. I didn't.

I don't expect them to do anything over and above giving us a good service. That is why I wanted to call them to explain what happened.

CiderBomb Tue 17-Dec-13 18:51:51

OP do you have the mobile numbers of the driver or the escort? It's far better to deal with them directly than someone running the switchboard at the taxi offices, as they can in my experience be off hand and rude. I've had a fair few run ins with them myself.

Some taxi companies are fabulous. There is however one in my town who myself and many of the escorts refuse to work with because they are so appallingly unprofessional, but that's another story.

lougle Tue 17-Dec-13 18:50:11

I think you're right there, OP.

You're saying 'I know she's late and I'm not complaining, etc.' but then you go on to say that the reason you were phoning was partly to assure them that she would 'let them know' if she wouldn't be there, implying that they should wait if she happens to be late otherwise.

Our County also has a 3 minute rule.

I think it's great that you phoned to apologise/explain. I think that you muddied the waters by trying to reassure them.

I also think that your best course of action now is to contact the school and say 'DD almost missed her transport because she had to go and get her cooking. Is it possible that she could be released from class early to collect it so that she definitely doesn't miss transport, please?'

THECliffRichardSucksEggsinHell Tue 17-Dec-13 18:49:50

Thank you RandomMess yes I was trying to resolve it, dd said the drive was very annoyed and I figured it paid to keep on their right side just in case this issue crops up again.

I wanted them to know that she had a reason, she wasn't just gossiping and I wanted to reassure them that she would never normally be late or ever miss the taxi without telling them. We've always told them if she wasn't going to be there, we've never once left them waiting. That's because I do try hard to do the right thing by people and I hate it when that is misunderstood or taken the wrong way.

Charmingbaker Tue 17-Dec-13 18:49:34

The issues the lady in the taxi raised were valid, it is likely that the taxi driver (and company) will have lost an alternative job. The taxi driver essentially has done 2 jobs for 1 fare in the week before Christmas. However, they did return and collect your daughter. Rather than be cross that an employ was a bit rude, I think you should be thanking the company that they did get your daughter home. If it was a coach company doing the job I doubt you would have received the same service.

RandomMess Tue 17-Dec-13 18:46:55

Although your post is not about the cooking collection perhaps from now on she will have to forgo collect her cooking and let her friends have it?

I get so frustrated when you phone people to try and resolve thing (ie not complaining) and get that sort of attitude back.

THECliffRichardSucksEggsinHell Tue 17-Dec-13 18:43:55

CiderBomb and others - please please please read my posts in their entireity.

I KNOW DD WAS LATE AND IT WAS HER FAULT AND I AM NOT COMPLAINING ABOUT THAT OR USING IT AS A PERSONAL CHAUFFEUR SERVICE

This is exactly the attitude I was up against on the phone. I can see now that the woman only heard what she wanted too, much as some posters only read what they want to.

I should have just left it instead of trying to do the right thing and offer up an explanation.

CiderBomb Tue 17-Dec-13 18:40:26

Im a school escort, I work in the taxis taking the children to and from school.

We have a three minute rule in place. This was issued by the council, not me or the taxi companies and we have to stick to it if there are other children on the run. It's simply not fair to make other kids either late for school or late home when they've made the effort to be ready on time.

Some drivers will be a bit more flexible and wait a bit longer at their own discretion, however they also have a job to do and they are not a personal chauffeur service as many parents seem to think.

THECliffRichardSucksEggsinHell Tue 17-Dec-13 18:37:12

The school is within the catchment area. We get free transport because we are on tax credits and qualify. We also have no reliable transport of our own. (not that I should try and justify why we get free school transport)

Again, I understand that drivers cannot wait for children who are late for whatever reason. This I get, I honestly do.

That is not why I was calling them. It was not a complaint.

I was phoning to see what happened, how late she was and to offer them an explanation and apology. I wanted to do this so they would know that dd is not normally late and would be aware of this in case anything like it happened again.

As I said, if she doesn't get picked up then I have no other way of getting her home. There is no bus service here. So it pays for me to stay on the right side of the taxi service and that is what I was trying to do.

thebody Tue 17-Dec-13 18:33:50

smart in our authority you only get transport if you DO go in catchment.

THECliffRichardSucksEggsinHell Tue 17-Dec-13 18:33:02

My complaint is about how I was treated on the phone.

Thanks RandomMess and Tinks.

It IS difficult. She does cooking in the morning and their things are then locked in the classroom so no-one can pinch them. The classroom is unlocked after school so they can collecting the things they have made.

Normally she is not late, never has been, not once. She's an anxious girl and always tries to be on time. This is what I wanted to explain to them, that she does not make a habit of it and wasn't late for no good reason.

I will perhaps explain to the school but I don't think there is much they can do. These things happen from time to time.

I understood fully their point but was really taken aback by their attitude on the phone. Then when I thought about previous issues with them I started to get really cross. Thought I'd ask for other opinions on what others would have done?

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