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I am a driver for a tour company catering to the cruise market.
This Octagon experience is appalling!!! I asked all my pax for their thoughts over the first 2 days and the majority said " vastly underwhelmed" or why did we stop there? One asked what was the Octagon Experience?
There have been only 4 stops provided for the tour buses close to the Octagon. Yes only 4! There may be other parks up the hill but yesterday there were Chinese tour buses with their trailers, who have discovered that they also can park there, taking up the spaces. Or I have elderly or disabled pax who cannot make it down or up the hill. Or once you drop off you have to add to Moray Place traffic and loop around again to pick up.
I did 2 slow laps of Moray Place, and dropped my pax for only 20 minutes as that was all the time we could allow. And got roundly abused by a taxi driver for having the gall to drop money spending passengers in the empty taxi zone! Yet the taxi would have gotten fares from the very pax I was trying to drop off! There is parking for 20-30 taxis - with 1 taxi there, and an empty street.
In the Octagon there is 1 hand scrawled sign telling tour pax where to go, down a piss-soaked alleyway ( as one passenger called it) Disgusting. Shows a complete disregard for the cruise passengers and the companies that bring them.
Planning department need awarded an F for Fail. Your scheme may have looked good on paper but as you failed to listen to the advice of anyone in the actual industry, you have completely destroyed the Octagon. Excuse me but just who is spending all the money in the city? Why was all the advice from the tour companies not listened to? I have no problem with it being closed fully in the evenings after tours have departed but why stop all that business coming in? Why not allow a loop and parking for all the tour companies?
Is the planner in charge going to admit the error and listen to the tour companies and retailers? And make suitable changes?
The advise from my head office - forget about the Octagon reroute the tours to show them more of other city areas and stop elsewhere for breaks and souvenirs. I apologise to the retailers that rely on our mutual pax but why bring pax to what is a waste of time?
Vibrant - no. Octagon - yes it is and Experience - no.