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At times of disruption please communicate what is going on

At times of disruption, why don’t organisations communicate with their audiences? It is not rocket science, or is it?

It’s the start of a new school year and don’t we know it!  Our beautiful summer weather (never thought I would write those words) is a distant memory, teacher friends have their familiar harassed expressions – and there is chaos on the roads.  If you use the A272 through Cowfold you’ll know what I mean.  Apology not accepted West Sussex County Council!

With nearly two months of quieter roads and ample opportunity to undertake drainage work/carriageway maintenance/resurfacing (select as appropriate for your area), the Highways Agencylikes to time it so that the real disruption can take place just as the little dears are heading back to school.  A slight delay due to work on improving the drainage system during the month of August?  That’s fine.  But waiting until the first full week of the September school term to introduce temporary traffic lights at one of the busiest junctions in the county?  That’s just evil.

What I particularly like is the advance warning.  Apparently we are telepathic and therefore any form of communication in local papers, on roadsides or lampposts is unnecessary.  We will sense that a whole new traffic system is being put in place just as more people take to the roads, and will leave the house 45 minutes earlier to make that journey.

The bus companies keep us just as well informed, with updates on their services via websites and at stations (not).  Catching an earlier bus, as one driver advised a disgruntled passenger, is all well and good, but in more remote areas the hourly service means a whole lifestyle change in order to get to work or school on time!

Keeping customers informed keeps customers happy.  If they know what to expect they adjust their tolerance levels accordingly.  But the parent who discovers that their child waited 40 minutes on a bus that never came for their first day at school is not promoting good customer relations or community well-being.

Fix the roads, by all means, but please communicate the intention in advance not belatedly in the West Sussex County Times.

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