Saturday, 31 July 2004

July 2004

Saturday, July 24, 2004 Chris Hilditch
Thursday 22nd July 04
I was on paignton bus station waiting to take over a bus when i saw mr hildtich the managing director of stagecoach devon walking along the platform towards me. As he got close i greeted him, saying," good morning mr hilditch."
He returned no greeting and walked past me. As he passed me he turned and said," are you Mr Banks."
I agreed that i was. He said nothing and carried on walking.
I was a little upset by his lack of greeting, but not greatly surprised. He is not known as the nicest of people. I was puzzled by him knowing my name and why he had asked me to confirm it. Maybe i will find out why some day.
Then, partly due to this incident i went and waited for my bus at the wrong stop. I only noticed my mistake just in time and managed to leave only 2 mins late but mr. Hilditch was standing on the platform and must have noticed.
Later on in the day i clipped a temporary road sign and broke the lens on the nearside indicator. Not a good day.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Car door hits bus.
From the Torquay Herald Express 20 July 04
TOWN CENTRE TRAFFIC CHAOS AFTER BUMPA car driver was arrested following a crash involving a bus in Torquay town centre yesterday.The collision between a double decker bus and a parked car in Union Street caused traffic problems as it blocked off Torre for almost one hour. A number 12 Stagecoach bus on route to Newton Abbot collided with the open door of a stationary Ford Orion parked on Union Street by the Memorial Gardens at about midday.Police were called to the scene and the bus was left in the road while details of the collision were recorded.Nobody was injured in the collision.Following the bump, traffic was queued up through Union Street as Torre was completely unaccessible.All vehicles had to be diverted down Trematon Avenue until the bus could be moved, about one hour later.Stagecoach customer service manager Mark Whittle confirmed no passengers were hurt in the accident and said they had to be transferred on to another bus."One of our vehicles was involved in an accident on Union Street," he said."At the driver of the car's request, the police were called to the incident."There were passengers on the bus but nobody was injured. As it is a high frequency service all the passengers were transferred on to another bus. I hope they were not inconvenienced too much."It is an unfortunate incident."Damage was caused to the car door and the side of the bus, which is part the new £3 million fleet launched by Stagecoach earlier this year.
What the story did not say was the during the arrest the car driver became so violent that Pepper Spray had to be used which effected students in a nearby park and several passers by.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Change of duty
Sunday 18 July 04
To day I should have been driving a number 12 as usual. Then one of the Newton Abbot drivers rang in sick. There are 3 routes in Newton on a Sunday and the 2 day drivers cover 30 trips between them. If one driver is missing on the 12 it means a 30 min gap. In Newton it can mean an hour and a half gap. we have a spare driver system to cover some one going sick. The trouble is we don't all know all the routes. To day the spare driver did not know Newton and I did. so I was volunteered. I hate local routes. by the time you have done 2 hrs and you have changed gear about 2000 times and there are still 11 trips to do and the day stretches in to infinity and none of the passengers know or care how hard I am working compared to driving a 12.
As long as the bears think they are Catholics and the pope shits in the woods I will never do Newton abbot again.
P.S. most Newton drivers wouldn't drive the number 12 if their life depended on it. they Must be insane.

Saturday, July 17, 2004
Trip to Exeter
To day I did an 85 duty, also known as the Coast as you drive up the coast to Exeter. I like going to Exeter now and then as I can see when I go there that no matter how bad Stagecoach Torquay is there is always some where worse.
To day they lost my bus for the 2nd half of my duty. The fitters had it and when it turned up is was of I type that I had not been Type Trained on. I could have refused to drive it but there were 35 passengers waiting to get on the thing and the passengers do put bread on the table and beer in the belly. Good for them. So I drove it and now I am Type Trained on a Volvo B10.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Sick on Duty
SOD stands for Sick on duty.
Not something I do often, in fact to day was only the 2nd time I have SODed in 7 years. I woke up with a migraine, took some pills and the pain and visual effects went away. Now it is 20 years since I have had a migraine and I had forgotten how tired you feel for the rest of the day and I went to work instead of ringing in sick. After 2 hours at work I had had enough and got on the radio and arranged for an other driver to take my bus and I went home. Feel better now but still slightly odd.

Monday, July 12, 2004
Cars parking in bus stops.
Monday 12 July 04
When I first started driving a bus in London one of the things that got on my wick was car drivers parking on bus stops. I used to drive up behind them and flash my lights and blow my horn to get them to move. Usually they did, though some times after a little delay. Then one day an other bus driver, older and wiser, said, "Good. That's one car driver who wont park on a bus stop again. Only 27 million left to persuade." So now I just pull up along side the car, unload, load and be on my way.
Well on my way home last night on the bus there was a car on the Bus stop and the bus driver pulled up behind it and started blowing horn and flashing lights. Little old lady got out and explained to driver she had broken down. The bus now had to reverse out with some difficulty and danger into a stream of traffic. The passengers got on and off the bus which then drove away.
10 Seconds later it was overtaken by said little old lady who had her arm out the window with one finger raised. Result; one pissed off bus driver.

Sunday, July 11, 2004
Breaking Down
Saturday 10 July 04
It is always embarrassing to break down. The passengers have waited for the bus and given Stagecoach's reputation there is always a slight sense of relief that it has turned up. Then just when they think all is well and they will some be at their destination a loud alarm buzzer sounds and the bus stops and the driver turns round and says, "We have a small problem".
Most of my passengers were on the way to Brixham Carnival and the last thing they wanted to do was sit at the side of the road in a broken down bus waiting for the next one. When I broke down the buses were running every 15 mins so the next bus should have picked them up in 15 mins. Unfortunately the next bus was being driven by a new driver. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. He was also running 25 mins late and I had 50 passengers who were saying," Don't worry driver, it's not your fault the bus broke down". Finally a spare bus arrived, driven by a driver who had heard me on the radio and had given up part of his meal break to help out and my passengers went on there way.
I hate it when a bus breaks down, especially when said bus is 4 months old and has only done 18 000 miles

Thursday, July 08, 2004
More events than usual.
My normal day is usually spent driving up and down between Brixham and Newton Abbot, picking people up and drooping them of and collecting some money.
But today I also had ago at a controller because a 31 bus driver had parked his bus on the Strand (which the 31 and 34 bus drivers shouldn't do) and blocked the whole of Torquay town up. Which is why they shouldn't park there.
Then I took over a bus and the was a lady in a wheel chair on the bus and when she came to get of she started moaning the none of the drivers would get the ramp out so she could get off the bus. As I was just getting the ramp out I was not very pleased and told her that next time she needed my help it would be nicer if she was a little more pleasant in her method of asking for assistance other wise she may find herself stuck on the bus like some ancient bus passenger domed to travel between Brixham and Newton Abbot for ever.
5 mins later a bus driver going the other way informed me over the radio that some lads upstairs on my bus were up to no good. I pulled over and went upstairs and there were 4 young men spreading sandwiches all over the front windows and seats of the bus. I asked them to leave the bus and they refused so I got on the radio and asked for police assistance. Actually that was foolish of me. Last time a bus driver asked for police assistance he waited an hour for them to turn up and them gave up and drove on. However these four weren't to know this and got off and walked. One of them actually cleaned up some of the mess before he got off.
Next when I got into Newton there was an accident just in front of me involving a motorcycle. This was the forth motorcycle accident I have heard about in the last week. This blocked the road for 20 minutes. I don't suppose it did the motorcyclist any good.Later when I got to Brixham A man and a young woman got on the bus and she tried to use a school pass but she was going the wrong way, you don't go to school at 6:30pm. He, her father, then asked for a "Two pound single ticket to Paignton". When we got to Paignton he told me I had overcharged him as his daughter was only 13. He asked for the adult ticket and that is what he got. I said if he wanted a refund he should write to Stagecoach.The rest of the duty passed without incident.
Monday, July 05, 2004
British Telecom and their Telegraph Poles
A note went up in the pay-in room at work over the weekend. It seems that BT have come up with a way of increasing their profits without putting up the cost of phone calls.
They have noticed that bus companies have been attaching Bus Stop signs to some of their Telegraph Poles and NOT paying any rent. This has got to stop said a senior executive.
£100.00 per sign per year was the figure decided on by BT; or take them down. Well Stagecoach decided to take them down and get the council the put up posts for the Bus Stop Flags. Believe it or not Bus Stops and Shelters are the Local Council's problem not the bus companies. You dear council tax payer are the ones that will have to pay for posts to be erected after BT's brilliant fiscal plan fell flat. Please don't ring them and complain, send them a letter instead, leave off the stamp.
Anyway, an other note went up to day asking us (the drivers) to report any bus stop flags on BT poles so they can be removed before BT send in The bailiffs. As if we didn't have enought to do.

Sunday, July 04, 2004
Police message and bus crash.
At about 12:30 to day control sent out this police message to all the buses; Following a shop lifting incident in Teignmouth the police are looking for a young man (a discription followed). He was last seem carrying a large black bag containing stolen alcohol, whiskey, gin etc and belived to be on a bus heading for Torquay or Paignton. Please report any sightings to control. End of Message.The problem I have with this kind of broadcast is that the passengers on the bus can hear what is being said on the radio. What would happen if the person in question was on the bus and had a weapon of some sort and did not want the driver of the bus to report his presence to control?The other thing that happened to day was that there was a crash involving a bus. Buses have minor scrapes from time to time. I myself have taken 2 wing mirrors off cars in the last 3 years, I even hit a car side on last Febuary. (It did a U Turn just in front of me).In today's incident it appeared that the bus ran into the back of a car, and pushed it into the car in front of that one and into the next in line as well.I got to the scene 20 mins after the incident and there was a large dent in the front of the bus. I don't know the exact details, was anyone hurt or who's fault it was. I will report if I find out. Suprizingly we don't always get to know exactly what happened in such incidents.