Wednesday, 15 February 2006

Odd Little Day Yesterday

It's mostly quiet at this time of year, not many people around a holiday town in February but there was a little excitement here and there.
First I was driving through the Grand Canyon, 40 mph there, toward the YMCA stop. Now the road is narrow there, just room for two buses to pass if both drivers have strong nerves. As I got near to where the Council are putting in a new pedestrian crossing I noticed that there was a coach coming towards me and that we would pass just at the crossing. So I checked the left mirror and moved to about 3 inches from the curb. Then I noticed that an elderly cyclist was pushing his bike to the edge of the road and had stopped with his toes on the curb and his front wheel sticking 6 inches into the road way. To late now to stop and no room to move out. I blew the horn and franticly waved the man back, pointing desperately at his front wheel. He slowly looked down with a bemused look on his face. His head was now sticking in my path. At the last moment, no film stunt man could have timed it better, he got the message and moved back about 4 inches. As I went past I was looking in the mirror. I could not have got closer to his front wheel if we had rehearsed it for a week.

Next I was in the canteen at Paignton bus station when one of the other drivers came in and said, "Hay you lot, you're missing the all the fun."
There were 3 police cars blocking the entrance to the bus station and an other car. The driver of the car was on the ground handcuffed and an other man was being pushed up against the wall. Two more police cars arrived and then the meat wagon. This lot were followed by a fire engine though I don't thing this was anything to do with the incident. Now the entrance to the bus station was well and truly blocked and as a bus enters the station every 3 mins this was causing problems. Rodger, the duty controller had to go and cough discretely in the ear of a policeman who was so high on adrenaline he hadn't noticed the chaos he was causing. The guy who had been pushed against the wall eventually wondered off but the driver was taken away in the meat wagon. I wonder what was going on.

Then the end of meal break and back to work. Now if you catch a number 12 or 12A in Paignton bus station you have a 40% chance that when the bus pulls in the driver will get out and a new driver will take over. It has to happen at some time during the day or we would all be driving over our hours. When I take over I usually tell the people waiting that we are changing drivers and they stand around until we are ready, usually about 2 mins depending on how long it takes the driver in the seat to get out. To day a couple boarded the bus and tried to insist that I deal with them at once. This just isn't possible, until I have told the ticket machine who I am, the fleet number of the bus, my duty number, the route number, where we are and what time it is we can't go any where. Also I like to be comfortable so the seat has to be adjusted.
Sorry said I, you will have to wait until I am ready. They both started shouting at me, well screaming would be closer to the mark. I tried to explain but each time they demanded an explanation as to why I was so rude to be keeping them waiting they interrupted me and continued screaming at me, at each other, at all the other passengers and everyone within 200 yards. In the end I ignored them and continued programming the ticket machine. They did not like this and stormed of the bus saying that I was the rudest bus driver they had ever come across. If that's true then they must have lived very sheltered lives. They were going to catch the next bus. I would have loved to have been there when the next bus turned up and they found out that bus had a change of driver too.

A mile down the road I slowed down to let a van out of a side road. As he came out two cars the first driven by Mustgetinfrontofthebus and the second by his brother IfheisgettinginfrontofthebusthensoamI. I can guess what the van driver said to them but this is a family show.

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