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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Tuesday Twat(s)

No. 36. Bus drivers.

OK, this is catharsis for me, seeing as I have been catching 4 buses a day for the last few weeks.

*Quick note to American readers. In the UK, not everybody owns a car (no, seriously), and even those that do often catch the "bus". A bus is a large form of "public transport". That is, it is a type of transport that you share with other people. It's a bit weird and bohemian I know, but Europeans are funny like that.

Anyways, there are a number of reasons why catching the bus has been getting on my tits - and the individual behind the wheel is generally the main cause of them. So, in the hope that any bus drivers reading may decide to improve their skills, here are a few pointers.

1) You are not a rally driver. A double decker bus weighs about 10 tonnes. It is also about 8 metres long and 3 metres tall. Thus it is not designed to slalom around other roadusers at highspeed.

2) There are more than 2 speeds. Assuming that the antique speedometer on the dashboard works, you will notice that the dial is graduated into a series of numbers in a circle, typically from 0 to 80 on the outside and 0 to 130 on the inside. On the side of the road, you may have noticed large signs with a red border and a black number. If you are driving in the UK try and match the number on the outside of the circle to the number on the roadside.
*Note. The number 80 is just for show. No matter how hard you press the accelerator pedal, even on a straight road with your elbow on the horn, the needle will not reach that number. So why even try?

3) It is safer for all concered if you glance at the road ahead more than once every 30 seconds. To make this easier you may consider learning the route before hand (so that you don't keep on having to refer to the route plan stuck to the windscreen) and not composing text messages whilst in motion.

4) Whilst the captain of a ship in international waters may enjoy a certain leeway when it comes to interpreting the law, bus drivers generally do not. What I am trying to say, is that the ever-present 13 year old girls that perch on the handrail by the driver's cab and cadge cigarettes off you are still under the age of consent for sexual intercourse. Please don't groom them, even if they do dress like a slut. And keep your eyes on the road, not their thighs.

5) Returning to the subject of graduated controls, the brake pedal also has more than 2 settings. It really isn't necessary to maintain fullspeed when approaching the bus stop, pretending to ignore the "please stop I want to get off" bell, only to push the brake pedal to the floor and swerve wildly across 2 lanes of traffic when you are certain that passengers are just getting up. Doesn't that joke wear thin after a while? Don't you get sick of filling in accident forms and collecting people's teeth? Remember, it is spelt "Brake" not "Break".

6) On a similar note, please be aware that not everyone has the balancing skills of a native-born Hawaian surfer. Thus, when passengers get on the bus (particularly those over the age of 90 or 3 days away from giving birth to triplets), why not let them find their seat before lurching drunkenly into the traffic and sending them flying? (On a related note, why on a bus full of 20 something students was it up to me, sitting at the very back of the bus, to give up my seat for the exhausted looking pregnant woman who looked like she was about to drop a sprog any minute? And would it be too much trouble for passengers to move their feet and bags so that she could avoid tripping - she probably couldn't see where she was planting her feet?).

7) Timetables. I realise that it is impossible to predict journey times to the nearest minute, particularly during the rush hour. Nevertheless, you are far more likely to deliver your passengers to their destination on time if you leave the bus depot when you are scheduled to, rather than when you have finished reading the sports pages of the newspaper, eating your sandwich or simply standing on the street scratching your bollocks and talking to the other drivers, most of whom also have a bus full of seething passengers. Remember, just because your boss wears a fluorescent green coat and doesn't give a shit what the time is, doesn't necessarily mean everybody else's boss is similarly forgiving. Oh and as we are on the subject, whilst it is laudable that you no longer risk prosecution for talking on your mobile phone or sending text messages whilst navigating at 30 mph past a primary school at hometime - do you really need to pull over to the side of the road and phone your mate to discuss the cricket scores for 15 minutes mid-journey?

I hope that any bus drivers reading find this useful. Your Tuesday Twat Award is back at the depot next to the kettle, where it can be admired by you for the 7 hours of your 8 hour shift that you spend there drinking tea.




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