Some one commented recently about "scratching". This is the practice of catching up with the bus in front, which might be running a few minutes late, and not overtaking it. This means the first bus driver is doing all the work and the second driver none at all. What happens down here in Torquay usually is the second bus will overtake the first bus and help out the late running bus. Scratching, also known as swinging, is uncommon but does happen from time to time. We do tend to help each other out. It also helped the service run better. But there are moments.....................
An other practice that occurs from time to time, which does help the service run better is turning a bus short of it's destination. This happens when a bus is running seriously late, there aren't too many people on the bus, there is an other bus handy that is going to the same place and control say it is OK. There are two groups of drivers who request turning a) most of us who do so as a last resort and b) a few who make a lifelong habit of it. This seems to be what happened to other day. Driver A was running late, but then most of us were, what with the road works in Long Road and Newton Abbot, 2 lots, and some thickhead car driver parking his car in a box junction in Brixham. Anyway Driver A requested the He/She be turned, he/she only had a few passengers and there was a bus not far in front of him/her. Control said OK. Driver A then spoke on the radio to the driver of the bus in front of her (lets call him Driver B) asking him to wait so she could transfer her passengers. Driver B, knowing which of the above group driver A belonged to, replied that he was 15 minutes late himself and wasn't waiting around for no one. I happened to be going the other way at the time and noticed Driver B heading for Newton at about 100 mph with Driver A hard on his heels at about 95 mph.
Twenty minutes later Driver A came back on the radio to tell control that she would be late back as she had been unable to catch the bus in front and had to go all the way into Newton. (Did she know the way I heard a colleague ask).
PS I should point out, before there are letters to the Editor that our buses will NOT do 100 mph; I exaggerated that bit for dramatic purposes.