Yesterday (Wednesday) I had a really nice day. No, I didn't spend it in the pub, I spent it driving a bus. The roads were quiet, the were quite a few people about including a good few holiday people but they were either walking or using the bus. Those that were using the bus got on and had their money or tickets ready, they all knew where they were going, and all, well most anyway were cheerful. It was a beautiful, warm sunny day and everyone was in a good mood. No one shouted that they had been waiting for 1/2 an hour because they hadn't. The light traffic meant that we were all running on time and had in fact lots of time to enjoy the drive. Even when I went for my meal break the canteen was full of drivers who were in a good mood and we all had a lighthearted chat about not much in particular instead of the usual moan about the things bus drivers the world over moan about; running times, traffic, mad car drivers, controllers, managers, buses, the radio system, boss and the old favorite, passengers.
In fact it was such a nice day it is a shame that someone from the training deptment hadn't been there on the bus with a camcorder. They could have shown the video to new recruits and told them this is what bus driving is like, "Isn't it a wonderful job?"
Then today, (Thursday). Road works in Preston out side the Living Waters church. They dug the road up, right down to the foundations. Only for about 50 yards. With temporary traffic lights controlling the traffic. I went through on my way to Brixham at about 9:45 when they had only just started. I began to notice there was some thing wrong when I left Brixham. Normally as I go up New Road I should see the next 12 going down New Road into Brixham. Today I didn't see him until I got to the Big Tree which is 15 mins from Brixham. Which meant I had left Brixham 15 mins before and the next 12 wouldn't get there for an other 15 mins. 30 mins between buses instead of 15. It is one of the problems of small town traffic, especially sea side towns. There is only one road through the town and when there is a problem on that road there is just no where else to go.
Anyway, I left Paignton Bus Station on time and finally got through the road works 40 mins late. Even if all the traffic has to go along one road this is definately not on. It is always the same when there are road works in the Bay. No one seems to give a damn about traffic management. They just put some traffic lights up and bugger it. If they manage the traffic that's fine (and a miracle), if they don't who cares. Usually we get a two mile queue on one side and 50 yards on the other. What we had today was the set of pedestrian lights 20 yards from the road works. So you sit waiting for the red light to change to let you through the road works and some one walks up, presses the button and then two things happen. Pedestrian lights change to red and road work lights change to green. You can't go anywhere. Coming the other way, you are driving through the road works and the pedestrian lights go red, so you stop. Mean while the road works lights change but you and twenty cars are blocking the road. Note to Torbay Highways deptment, "Tomorrow, please switch the pedestrian lights off." Oh the good news is the road works are only expected to last two days. The bad news is I have exactly the same duty tomorrow.
Oh yes, almost forgot, at about 5 O Clock in the evening the lights turned to red; at both ends of the road works and for 15 mins nothing moved. At least it was a nice sunny evening and not pouring with rain.
Later in the day a bus broke down in Abbey Road in the centre of Torquay and that caused a little problem all of it's own. But that's an other story. I did end up 29 mins late finishing so I am slightly richer for the day. Had anyone from the training deptment been on the bus today with his camcorder I expect they would have shown the video to the same new recruits just to give a fair and balanced picture of this wonderful job.