Friday, 25 August 2006

Please let us know when you want the bus.

There I was, just turning into Eugene Rd in Preston on my way to Brixham when the radio called out my call sign. I was stopping at the stop and answered the radio. It was the driver of the 12 in front of me. He had just gone past the Torbay Leisure centre and had a slight problem. The bus stop at the centre has a small shelter with a couple of seats. Now there are 3 bus services that stop at this stop, the 12 for Brixham, the 120 for Kingswear and the 200 for Totnes. So some one sitting in the shelter may not want the approaching bus and if no one has rung the bell the driver will be very reluctant to stop with out some sort of signal. The most comprehensive signal, recognised the world over is to put your hand out. Even at the South Pole this signal is understood as a way of showing the bus driver that his/her services are required. We will react to almost any signal, standing up for instance works just as well as the arm out. Throwing your self under the front wheels just as the bus arrives at the stop also has the desired effect of stopping the bus but is considered too dangerous to be tried at home and may involve a trip in an ambulance.

Any way the slight problem. Sorry but I do get a little carried away on the subject of lack of mind reading ability amongst bus drivers. No signal; no stop. Any way the problem, there was a gentleman at to stop who had remained seated without an extended arm and the poor driver in front had continued unabated in the direction of Brixham. Only as he went past the stop had the seated gent become unseated and the unextended arm become extended. Too late to stop safely, my colleague had used his radio to make me aware that the gent did wish to go to Brixham and would I stop even if the seating continued when I got there.

Anyway, when I got there 15 minutes later the gent was indeed standing and did have an arm out. He had had 15 minutes to think about it after all. He got on and I provided him with his ticket to ride (free oap ticket). Ten minutes later as I drove into New Road at Monks Bridge and past the first stop there was a gentle cough in my left ear, well close by my left ear and a voice saying, "I wanted that stop." A quick check on the dash showed that the bell had not been rung and I apologised saying that I had not heard the bell. I dropped him off at the next stop.

So a bus ride that should have taken about 15 minutes had taken about 35 and involved a walk back from the wrong stop. All because some people think we are mind readers. We aren't; please put your arm out to get on the bus and ring the bell when you want to get off.


Jimmy said...

I can relate to that in another way, being a trainee we have to drive around Basingstoke pretending to be a bus, pulling in at empty stops etc, what does amuse us is that in spite of the bus being a coach (taller, wider) and the legend 'Caution - Driver under instruction' emblazened in red lettering some 2 foot high, some little old lady will wobble out of the shelter and raise her arm, bless her, we trundle by with our best 'we're sorry' smiles.

Jon said...

once had a passenger threaten to attack me because I drove past his stop. I was on a highway with no place to pull over and doing sixty miles an hour. I opened the door and told him that if he touched me I would push him out. Mind you, he was shrieking abuse into my ear while waving his fist in front of my face. That was a little dramatic and most of these incidents are quite a bit less exciting. We serve some stops that are served by 4 different bus companies and as many as a 15 different routes. I have even gone so far as to pull into one of these crowded stops and open my door. When no one got on, I pulled away from the stop, only to have someone start banging on the side of the bus. When I stopped again ( which we are not supposed to do) the passenger was irate that I did not know to wait for him to finish up his business, say his goodbyes, finish his drink, put out his cigarette, gather his packages or get up from where he had been lying on the sidewalk. Yes, I really had someone follow me on the next bus to yell at me because he had been lying on a crowded sidewalk and I had not waited to see if he wanted to get up. He even admitted that I had stopped and opened the door, but couldn't I tell that he was tired? Long ago, in Detroit I sometimes drove buses in school service. We had LARGE yellow signs on the outside of the bus saying "School bus- Not in service- No passengers". I had people chase me down the street and demand to be told where the bus was going. Conversely, some of our drivers will deadhead on service routes with their signs unchanged, blowing past passengers and leaving irate crowds. If I am out of service, I will display that fact on every sign and change my route numbers to read OO.

Steve said...

Jon's comments about route numbers reminds me of something I see quite often and it never ceases to amuse me.

The bus I catch in the afternoon only has the route number on the front, so anyone approaching the bus from behind doesn't know if it's their bus or not.

I guarantee that 90 percent of passengers that don't know what number the bus is will walk past the open door,with the driver watching them, and look at the number on the front, instead of putting their head in the door and saying, "Is this the 251?" I've even seen it happen when the driver has been pulling away and has stopped when he's seen someone else coming.

Just about every time this happens the driver tells them when they get on anyway.

Pilgrim Dan said...

I guarantee that 90 percent of passengers that don't know what number the bus is will walk past the open door,with the driver watching them, and look at the number on the front, instead of putting their head in the door and saying, "Is this the 251?"

Then the driver says "Says so on the front don't it?"

Blind Pugh said...

You've got to remember that some of us can't see the bus coming.
I'll write about an incident later.

protritus said...

I work for a SMALL bus company. If I get 50 passengers a day I'm lucky. So we have passengers that get on the bus daily who fully expect that I know where they are going and that I will stop there whether they tell me or not. Which irritates me to no end. It took a while for them to learn that if they were not waiting at a designated stop they must wave to have the bus stop. Again the expectation that I can read minds. No I will not stop in the traffic lane, no I will not stop in the middle of the block. We have a driver that violates these common sense rules on a regular basis so that when I roll through they expect that I will do the same. I had a person running between me and the parked vehicles pounding on the door screaming for me to stop.