Off Peak

A short time ago I posted this question about a situation that presented itself to me. I was interested to see what you would do. For the most part everyone said much the same thing and you were all correct.

This is what happened to me.

It was 4:30pm, that’s one hour after the off peak passes stop and I had a group of about 6 youths all with those scratch off day tickets. Now on those the times are stated and to be totally sure I asked one of my passengers today if I could have a closer look at hers. This was done just as a research thing as I don’t often get to have a good look at them they just flash past. The off peak one that I looked at is a totally different colour to the regular ones and has the words off peak clearly at the top.

Now with these 6 youths they had all held their tickets at the top covering the off peak part and were hoping that I wouldn’t notice or care. Ah but I do! They had failed to notice that the colors are different as well and when I stopped them the tried and trusted “It’s in date driver” bellowed out from them.

“It may be in date but it is an off peak one and we are now in the peak times” I had had this argument many times and I knew what the next line was going to be.

“Cant you let us off this once driver all the other ones do.”

“That may be the case sir, but I am not the other ones and it is now 4:30pm that is over an hour into the peak time.”

By now the rest of the bus was getting a little annoyed with this chap and from the back of the bus I heard someone yell

“Just pay the fare or get off you moron”

Not what I was expecting at all. Usually it’s me that gets yelled at in these situations. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. A passenger was standing up for me. My only worry was this had the potential to turn into a fight on the step of the bus and that was not something that I wanted to happen at all. Then the man decided that the gents on the platform needed an extra incentive to get off or pay and got up. Oh boy was he big.

Now six vs. one is not good odds but when you look like this guy it’s not a problem. He had the attitude and presence to match it as he came down the bus. Five of the six took one look at him and left very quickly and I think that was the wise choice given the fact that the man looked like he could break a wall down with his little finger.

“You gonna make me?” He said. He did sound a little scared though and I was starting to sink a little lower in my seat.

“No” said the man mountain “I am going to ask you nicely once more to do what the driver asked and pay the fare or get off. If you don’t then I will escort you off the bus” All this was said with a small polite smile. I think the smile said more that the man could possible say with words.

“Err” Now he sounded very worried “Ill get off thanks” and he made to get off the bus.

“You are forgetting something” Man mountain said

“Oh yeah right, I am very sorry for wasting your time driver. It won’t happen again.”

WOW this almost made me fall out of my seat. He had actually apologized to me. This was totally amazing and had never happened before. He then got off the bus and I was able to close the doors and carry on my way.

Shortly after I moved away there arose from the rest of the passengers a round of applause and a small cheer and I asked the gentleman what made him do that.

“I used to be a bouncer at a nightclub and can’t stand those sort of idiots. I am also very tired and just want to go home.”

“Well thank you anyway sir you have been a great help”

I was totally amazed. Nobody had every stepped in to help me out before and it was a great surprise one that I am not likely to forget for quite a while.

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Ask The Driver (18)

 

Chris Hey, I’m not sure if you will be able to give me an exact answer to this but I was wondering why very often when I put 75p in the cash thing on my local NXWM bus routes, and clearly ask the driver for a 75 and say please do I still get given a 55p ticket! This really annoys me as I feel robbed by the driver

Without knowing the exact situation I can’t give you a proper answer. The driver may not have heard you through the screen, if you got on with a group of other school kids he may not have seen what you put in. There are many possible answers to this but what I would suggest you do if it happens again go back to the driver and tell him that you put 75p in and ask for the correct ticket.

Graphiquillan what’s the strangest living creature you’ve ever had on the bus?

Actually I haven’t had any “strange” creatures on my bus. I just get the normal dogs and cats, things like that.

Doomster Do drivers dislike the No 11 as much as passengers seem to? Why is that?

All drivers have routes that they both like and dislike. They may not like it because it is such a long route or that it is complicated. Personally I find those sorts of routes a challenge.

Theaardvark What’s the most unexpected, pleasant surprise to have cheered up your working day?

Well aside from the usual “Thank you” moments that are actually meant and not just an automatic thing I was once pleasantly surprised one day. I had done my usual check of the bus for lost property and found a credit card holder containing an OAP pass and lots of payment cards. One of the cards did have a name and address on it and I thought that the face on the pass looked familiar. I held it with me and, sure enough, part way through the return run I saw the owner. I checked the name and address that he gave matched so I was only too happy to give it back. The following day I was pleasantly surprised to see the same man waiting at the relief point as I finished with a carrier bag in his hand. “I just wanted to thank you for getting my wallet back to me” and he handed me a four-pack of Carling, shook my hand and walked off before I had chance to refuse him. It was a wonderful way to end the day.

A Typical Afternoon

Please read A Typical Morning before reading this.

 

Great my bus is late again. How come it always happens to me?

Finally arrived but I can’t adjust the steering wheel. Ill have to drive with it on my knees for a while. Finally make it to the outer terminal point and start to drain the tanks so the steering wheel will move. Get out of cab to adjust mirror and almost get knocked over by passengers impatient to get on and its not even raining. Now I get to dodge taxis that seem to think that my bus can stop quickly and that they can park anywhere. I wonder what part of Bus Stop they don’t understand.

“Thank you driver” ahh someone does realise that we are humans. That’s brightened my day somewhat.

I’m starting to feel like a tourist information point on my break lots of people asking me where places are and what buses go there. I try as best I can to help them out and point them in the right direction.

Oh man the heavens have opened. Yes of course you can sit on the bus until its time to leave the terminal point.

15:20ish School chucking out time. I wonder if they will still have this attitude when they are older. Great they are messing about with the emergency exit again. They never listen, time to make a point and throw them off. My god their language is shocking. Bet they don’t talk to their parents and teachers like that so why me?

Yikes buggy war time. No madam we can’t take anymore on I already have two and a wheelchair on. You can if you fold it down. No you can’t put it in the isle that is very dangerous. Well one of you will have to get off or fold it down. Thank you ma’am you have a good day and I’m sure the next bus may possibly have room.

Time for the pensioners to be returning home. Ma’am do you need help with your obviously very heavy trolley? No I don’t mind at all. Where are you getting off? Well thank you for the kind offer but sadly we are not allowed to accept tips.

Sir your dog needs to be on a lead. Sir without a lead your dog cannot travel on my bus. Sir will you please get your dog off the seat.

I’m afraid you need to pay £1.50. Why? Well you have more facial hair than Brian Blessed and therefore cannot be 14 like you just said.

It is now 4pm and that is why I stopped you from using your off peak travelcard. No I can’t let you off this once. Very sorry but those are the rules. You can use it again after 6pm, I’m very sorry but the fare is £1.50

Finally time to finish but no relief waiting. I’m there on time so how hard can it be? Sorry everyone but my relief is not here. I radio control and am told he is 5 minutes away. Oh here he comes, blaming the other bus as usual. Com on you are a driver you should know that at rush hour they will be late. Another duty done. I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

Read the final part here

Ask The Driver (17)

lizzzardbits: How much is a bus? As we only pay a few £ to ride, cheap transport, and seats are plastic & cloth, we tend to think whole bus is cheap.

After much searching for this answer I am still getting nowhere. Now I do remember a poster in our garage with a picture of the Wright Gemini on it and I think it was comparing them to the Aston Martin DB9 and saying that they were about the same price. Since I am not sure I am going to send this one in to NXWM itself as I am very curious to see what the answer actually is. I will keep you all posted on this.

Regengirl: So you’re given control of the TV screens on your bus for the day – what would you put on them?

I had never thought about this before and I did initially think of the obvious things like TV shows etc. I then realized that most people probably don’t have the same tastes as me and would probably not like the shows. So I came up with something that may seem mundane but when thought about is very useful. How about a constantly updating information screen on the status of the bus? Things like: This bus is currently running x mins late/early. The next stop is x change for services to x,y and z. Sorry for the delay this bus is waiting for its relief driver. I think that it would be useful for passengers who are unsure about where they are and what bus they need.

 

strix_aluco: May have had this one before but… Are there some routes which drivers really like driving? Scenic, quiet, challenging etc.?

I don’t think that anyone has asked this before. The route that are enjoyed driving are mainly nothing to do with those things and more to do with the amount of time that the journey is allowed compared to how far it has to go. I, however, love a challenge and enjoy the routes that other drivers may not. A lot of the time I am very happy when I manage to keep the bus on time especially during rush hour. The reverse is also true in that one bad passenger can make a good day go bad.

5000 Hits

A very very big thank you to all my readers. I have made a little goal that I set myself a while ago. At somepoint today I reached 5000 hits. To all of you that read this blog I want to say a very heartfelt thank you. I really enjoy writing it and I hope that you will continue to read it.

Thank you once again and keep reading

Ask The Readers

Ok I’ve been doing the Ask The Driver section for a while now and I think its about time I asked you, my readers, a question.

The situation:

its 4:30pm and several passengers are attempting to board my bus using off-peak travel cards and/or daysavers. What should I do?

Now TWM describes off peak hours as 09:30 to 15:29 (3:29pm) and then after 18:00 (6pm). The tickets are clearly marked as off-peak hours only with those hours clearly marked somewhere on the ticket. They are also very clearly different colours to every other travel card that I see so there is no mistaking them. I am only asking this as a few days ago I had this same situation. Let me know what you would do in the comments section and i will put what I did and what happened as a result up later on.

A Typical Morning

 

This will be the first of three posts that make up a typical day in my bus driving life. It’s not about any one day in particular. The others will be A Typical Afternoon and A Typical Night. Hope you enjoy them.

 

03:00 Alarm goes off. I struggle to reach it and finally shut it off and crawl out of bed. Grabbing uniform I stumble into the bathroom to start getting ready.

Finally walk out to the staff bus and exchange grunts as we both are still half asleep.

Walk into the traffic office and head for the coffee machine. Broken again. Ah well better get going. Grab my running board and find my bus number. Find that my bus is parked at the back behind four others and I will have to reverse it out. Flick the start switch and nothing happens. Great another flat battery. Time to go and wake the engineers up. Right, pre drive inspection done let’s get out there.

First trip. Man its quiet no one is awake yet and I have to dawdle to keep the schedule.

Second trip. Rush hour. Here we go. Lots of running for the bus. I try to smile and stay happy but everyone seems grumpy today. Oops almost missed that stop, sorry sir. Try pressing the bell a bit earlier.

08:30 “Am I too early” I wonder if they realize how early they are.

Yikes full bus already and more want to get on.

Final run of the day.

Buggy war. Already got three on and a fourth was waiting. “You can come on if you fold it down”

“I don’t want to”

“Sorry but I already have the maximum number of buggies on”

“All the other drivers do”

Sorry but I’m not the other drivers.”

My god I can’t believe the number of people that use that line and think that it works.

09:29 “Am I too early?” this time said with a smile. Hmm am I in a good mood or bad mood. “Come on then.” Even bigger smile. The day got better with that.

Finally the end of the shift arrives and I am ready to go home and head back to bed. Small problem though, my relief driver hasn’t turned up. Finally five mins later he turns up and blames the bus for making him late. I bite back the “You’re a bloody bus driver you should know better” reply and leave him to it

 

Read the next part here