Buses - HF
Hi,

Sorry, minor rant coming up here.

Was just driving home when I nearly had the front of my car taken off by a double decker!! And I'm annoyed!

Now, I ALWAYS give way to buses, and always obey the 'let the bus go first' thing. And I know most bus drivers are very courteous, and I like it when they give the thumbs up sign out of their window when you let them go.

BUT how far does this 'let bus go first' thing go? I was maybe 2 feet from the front of the bus, overtaking him at a bus-stop, when he just veered out in front of me. And if I hadn't been concentrating we really would have collided.

As in all walks of life, I suppose, some bus drivers just get above themselves and feel since they are usually the largest vehicle on the road they can do anything they like, and the rest of the road beware!

Oh and while I'm ranting, did the 'bus go first' rule ever become part of the highway code, or is it just that most of us polite non-busdrivers choose to exercise a bit of courtesy?

Rant over, thanks for listening!
HF
Buses - Doc
Oh and while I'm ranting, did the 'bus go first' rule
ever become part of the highway code, or is it just
that most of us polite non-busdrivers choose to exercise a bit
of courtesy?


------------

Highway Code

Rule 198:
Buses, coaches and trams. Give priority to these vehicles when you can do so safely, especially when they signal to pull away from stops. Look out for people getting off a bus or tram and crossing the road.

Buses - Pugugly {P}
doesn't excuse driving the things carelessly though. Stressful thing driving buses lots of attention to things going on inside and out. Peanuts being paid by many operators.
Buses - clariman
Peanuts being paid by many operators.


That's why you get monkeys!

Buses - HF
Rather a sweeping generalisation clariman, if I might say so. Have you read the posts by the bus drivers in this thread?
Buses - clariman
Rather a sweeping generalisation clariman, if I might say so. Have
you read the posts by the bus drivers in this thread?


Just quoting a rather well known cliche, that's all!
Buses - HF
Just quoting a rather well known cliche, that's all!

>>

Sure, point taken ;)
Buses - Rob the Bus
HF - don't be too hard on clariman. To a certain extent, he is correct. I'm not saying that I am a monkey (although I can get quite cheeky from time to time ;-)!!), but when the top rate at our depot is £6.03 per hour, you are not going to attract a very high standard, are you?

That, coupled with the fact that our company do not give a flying fig about us drivers, means that (rightly or wrongly) most of us couldn't care less about the job. I happen to love the job, it's just that I can't stand the company I work for. But still, at least they keep a roof over my head and put food on my table. I can't afford anything else on their wages, but hey!!!

Trouble is, all the big groups are the same now. I used to work for an employee-owned bus company in Southport, and it was great as they had no share holders to keep happy which meant that they could actually look after the drivers properly. Then the company that paints it's buses cream & turquoise took over and ruined it.

To give you some idea of how bad the wages situation is, the top rate now is less then it was back in 1988. Good, eh?
Buses - StuW
I'm know its part of the highway code but its a bit annoying when they just flick their indicator and pull out without checking sometimes. I've been driving alongside a bus when it just pulled out forcing me to move over on the other side of the white lines. I must say though it doesn't happen often but i suspect if i did it to them they be driving up my exhaust and flashing their lights at me for ages.>> >>
Buses - Rob the Bus
HF, you wouldn't be having a pop at little old me, would you my dear ;-)?

You just be careful, or I'll set my walrus on you. And I'm not telling you whether it has a snout or a nose ;-).

Seriously, though, I am very aware that some members of my profession have a bad attitude. I am not about to apolgise for them, as I don't know then from Adam.

But I would like you to consider it from our point of view. You have been on the same bus for nearly five hours without being able to get out of the driving seat. You are heading back to your home town for a much needed break. You are running eight minutes late on a ten minute service. The traffic is heavy which means that every time you pull into a bus stop you (on average) have to let nine cars pass you before one lets you out. Frustration creeps in, you really really need the toilet and you are gasping for a brew. What would you do?

Personally, I have a 'five vehicle' rule. I'll sit there with my right indicator blinking and wait until five vehicles have passed. If no one has let me out, then I go. Obviously if doing this would cause an accident, I don't. But if I waited there until some kind soul let me out, then I'd be there until Christmas.

Believe me, it is VERY much appreciated when someone lets me out of a bus stop and I ALWAYS respond with either a grateful thumbs up and wave from the cab window, or a flash or two on the hazards. Quite often, you'll get both. I know that some bus drivers think that being let out is a God-given right and do not bother to thank people. This REALLY annoys me and reflects very badly on the rest of us.

HF - the behaviour of the bus driver that almost wiped out the front of your beloved Astra was inexcusable. If it happens again, then try to note the operator and either the fleet number (this will be a three, four or five digit number placed on the back of the bus) or the registration number and complain to the company concerned. Such complaints are taken very seriously and always investigated.
Buses - HF
Why thank you, RTB. I was not trying to have a go at you or most of your profession.

And I really can understand the frustration you must feel sometimes, truly. Let's hope things change in that respect.

I DO see your point of view, what I was moaning about was not the driver who has been waiting and waiting for a car to let him out - which as I said, I will gladly do, anytime.

If ever I see a bus indicating I will pull back and let him out (are buses male?). and I'd love to travel around your part of the world, if all the drivers do the friendly signal to thank people.

I'm sorry that the likes of you and the majority of drivers have to feel so annoyed about that arrogant minority which affects the public opinion.

I'm not at all sure, RTB, given what you and others have said, that I would feel at all easy reporting a driver for this sort of thing. As you've said, tiredness etc must play a part, and even though this guy annoyed me, I don't think I'd want to see any sort of serious investigation taking place! Had I had actual damage done to my car, then I might think differently, but now - no!

Buses - Rob the Bus
>>If ever I see a bus indicating I will pull back and let him out

HF - if only ever driver on the road was as courteous and understanding as you :-)

I know that you have said that you wouldn't want to report a driver for fear of getting him (or her) into trouble. But what if the next time he (or she!) does it, they end up causing a serious crash? I'm sorry to say that some bus drivers are so arrogant and dangerous that a swift call to their managers is the only solution.

Thank you for your understanding, HF. It is much appreciated. How is the walrus, by the way ;-)
Buses - Colin M
> I have a 'five vehicle' rule <

A black cabbie taught me that too. He said that if an incorrect lane gave him a 5 vehicle advantage, he took it because he knew that one of the five would let him back in. Very handy for traffic lights etc.

Buses - Wales Forester
I, like Rob, drive buses, or should I say I did up til a few months back. I would like to think that I was one of the more appreciative bus drivers that always acknowledged someone if they'd helped me on my way.

For example if I was waiting to pull out of a side road at night and a driver on the main road let me out I would respond by flashing the interior lights on and off a couple of times as I moved off by way of a thankyou, although I did get a few odd looks from passengers on occasion for doing so.

If I was in queueing traffic and wanted to change lanes I found it amusing if I had a bus with a dot matrix display at the rear to thank the obliging motorist by showing 'TA' or 'TY' in the rear display as well as a quick left right left.
Also good if u had an idiot behind as u could write allsorts of 3 letter words to display at the rear.:-)
Of course the obligatory 'BYE' or 'TEA' or even 'BED' was displayed when off to the depot at the end of the shift.

Amazing what passes for amusement when you've been driving buses for 10 years!

PP

Buses - Cliff Pope
The 5 car rule seems very sensible, and I suppose I basically apply it in reverse- ie if I think I am probably the 5th car I usually let the bus out.
However, I do think this 'bus has priority' rule ought to be tempered by consideration of the number of people on the bus.
Yes, a bus load of people not causing individual pollution in their cars has a kind of moral priority over me sitting alone in a gas-guzzler.
But when the bus has only one or two people on it, I think the position is reversed. What does a bus do to the gallon, and what is the break-even number of passengers before it becomes more efficient than a car?
Buses - Rob the Bus
Firstly, HF -

Sorry for virtually hi-jacking this thread!

Secondly, Cliff -

A bus generally does about 7 - 9 mpg, and most of our buses are virtually empty outside peak hours. There have been many occasions when I've gone all the way from Chorley to Bolton without picking up a single paying passenger.

The break-even question doesn't really apply to a single bus, more to the route it is running on. The sale of return tickets at peak time and weekly tickets tends to pay for the running costs. Anything taken in between is a bonus.

For example, I did an early morning commuter run to Preston on Monday morning and took £400 on the one trip, due to weekly tickets. Later in the day I did another run to Preston and only took £20.

I know what you mean, though, Cliff. It is infuriating when you see a nice brand new bus tootling along in service with nobody on it. Bearing in mind that that bus will have cost upwards of £125,000 to buy (although most of the big companies lease them), then it becomes even more annoying!

Cheers!
Buses - borasport20
Firstly, HF -

have been many occasions when I've gone all the way from
Chorley to Bolton without picking up a single paying passenger.



What's the route Rob ? A6/westhoughton or Horwich / chorley new road. Our paths must have crossed over the past few years.

PS - are you still lined up for teacher training ?


I have to grow old - but I don't have to grow up
Buses - Rob the Bus
>>What's the route Rob ? A6/westhoughton or Horwich / chorley new road. Our paths must have crossed over the past few years.

Both really, bora! I mainly do the Horwich/Chorley New Road one now, as the other route has been downgraded to mini-bus.

Yes, I'm still hoping to start teacher training next September. Must be mad.... ;-)

Buses - borasport20
I wish you well ! I trained 20 yrs ago (O God, was it that long ago...) to teach Geography and Outdoor Education, but by the time I qualified i'd realised the job wasn't for me.

I think the years training I did (it was a PGCE) was one of the hardest things i've ever done

In the meantime, I shall scrutinise every bus on Chorley New Road with extreme care. Could I talk you into scraping a couple of that long line of cars parked outside Overdale Preparatory School. You could break all the indicators and they'd never miss them !

stay well

Buses - SteveH42
The break-even question doesn't really apply to a single bus
more to the route it is running on.


Sorry, Rob, got to pull you up on this one, unless I've been lied to by Stagecoach. Around here they are gradually withdrawing evening services, and one route I especially used a lot was withdrawn, then the only other bus from there to Stockport was also withdrawn. I wrote to complain about this and was told that these *journeys* did not pay their way, so were being withdrawn.

I must say, I prefer your principle of the 'route' covering it's costs and the journeys that don't pay being a 'social' thing to help the locals.


BTW, WRT the wages, I'm surprised there is so much variation - in Manchester there seems to be a shortage of drivers as the starting wage was (last time I noticed) about £17k and increased rapidly to what I'd consider a quite decent wage. (More than I'm getting for designing electronics anyway!) However, from what you say, this appears not to be the case elsewhere....
Buses - Rob the Bus
Steve,

It's a fair cop guv! I didn't have my brain plugged in when I posted that! There will be journeys that simply do not pay. Generally, though, the local council can be approached to help subsidise the cost. That happens a lot around here.

>>I must say, I prefer your principle of the 'route' covering it's costs and the journeys that don't pay being a 'social' thing to help the locals.

I don't see why big companies cannot do this. I am sure that they only look at the journey that is not making money, whilst ignoring the ones that make a profit. Like I said earlier, I can take upwards of £300 on one trip at rush hour so if I am, then other drivers will be as well.

And as far as the wages thing goes, Stagecoach Manchester do offer a good rate of pay, although the hourly rate of pay would have to be £8.38 to achieve the £17k you mention. I don't doubt your figures, Steve, but Stagecoach have a habit of putting enticing figures in their job adverts which turn out to be top rate and for 48 hours per week. If I do my basic 39 hours at Stagecoach North West, I make £235.17 per week before tax. Not, I hope you will agree, a king's ransom! The only consolation is that I do my 39 hours over 4 days so I have 3 days off per week!! Mind you, I end up working at least one of them just to make ends meet. Believe me, Steve, a bus driver's average wage is a lot less then the figure bandied about in the job adverts.




Buses - SteveH42
There will be journeys that simply do not pay.


Now I think about it, ISTR they actually said they had to make a certain %age profit on each journey, not just make them pay.
Generally, though, the local council
can be approached to help subsidise the cost. That happens
a lot around here.


It happens far too much in Manchester TBH. I also wonder how they apportion Megarider revenue to fairly reflect usage of these quieter services. It seems to me that Stagecoach try and get every journey to make a profit - which means busier ones will make a lot of profit, then scoop more profit from council tax payers via GMPTE subsidy. I know they are running a business, but surely a slight degree of subsidy over the whole day wouldn't hurt that much?
And as far as the wages thing goes, Stagecoach Manchester do
offer a good rate of pay, although the hourly rate of
pay would have to be £8.38 to achieve the £17k you
mention.


I'm afraid I can't find any adverts at the moment so can't verify the figures for you. I'm sure the figure was around the £17-18k, and I can't remember if that was before or after training. The only think to bear in mind is that, as I mentioned, there is a shortage of drivers in the Greater Manchester area and there has been a lot of poaching between companies, which will have driven wages up. I know that at one point, Stagecoach Manchester were borrowing quite a few drivers from Stagecoach Ribble and still had to withdraw some services due to shortages. (This was a good few years back - the reason I got the car was that I was fed up of the 3 mile journey to work taking a good half hour or more, and then on the way back having a regular 25 minute wait for a bus that was supposed to be every 2 or 3 minutes.)
Buses - HF
RTB - a bus driver advocating the reporting of bus drivers?!!! A rare phenomenon indeed! I take your point about maybe them causing a serious crash sometimes - I guess this is one of those moral dilemmas where it's hard to know quite the right thing to do.

I heard ages ago that it was either a rule or a law that entitled bus drivers to pull out after just one vehicle had passed them. Is that true or not?
HF
ps Walrus keeping its snout where it belongs)
Buses - Rob the Bus
>>RTB - a bus driver advocating the reporting of bus drivers?!!! A rare phenomenon indeed!

I know what you mean, HF. I suppose that ethically, I should not be advocating reporting my colleagues, but I do sometimes get very annoyed by what I see some of them doing. And I seriously resent them giving the rest of us a bad name. Having said that, though, I don't think that I'd report a colleague of I saw him doing something dangerous. I guess that makes me a bit of a hypocrite, doesn't it??

>>I heard ages ago that it was either a rule or a law that entitled bus drivers to pull out after just one vehicle had passed them. Is that true or not?

I think, HF, that it's probably a good old fashioned urban myth. If it is law, then it is never enforced. I have to say that some of the worst offenders for not letting me out are police cars! (Sorry, midlifecrisis et al!)

Cheers!
Buses - Rob the Bus
Having said all that, though, there are times when the frustration becomes so great that you just have to do something about it. You have all kinds of moral dilemmas, (same as you HF:-)!), and eventually the best course of action to relieve your frustration becomes clear. I find that doing what I actually want to do helps, but sometimes that causes more problems than it can solve!

I know that all this makes no sense, and I apologise! I was trying to say that sometimes, as a bus driver, you know how you should react, but you become so frustrated and impatient that another course of action looks very tempting. That any clearer?!?

Cheers

Rob
Buses - HF
RTB - that's exactly what I meant about moral dilemmas.

It's always important to consider the consequences of relieving your frustration.

Taking my above case as an example, I think there are 2 options. Option 1, of course, is to do nothing, and to continue feeling that frustration. In this case, I'm quite happy to do that, because it was a very minor incident and no harm came of it. However, there are, of course, cases where much more serious issues are at stake, and it's then that moral responsibilities come into play.

Continuing the example, if there had been damage to my car, or if I was convinced that this driver would cause a more serious incident elsewhere, then I would feel morally obliged to do something about it. Sometimes the option of doing nothing, despite maybe seeming the easiest course to take, is just not the right one. I'm not really haggling about the silly minor frustration I posted to start off this thread, but if something serious had happened, or seemed likely to happen, then in my mind it would be totally wrong of me to do nothing about it.

I suppose it's a sort of 'end justifies the means' thing.

I have now written this 3 times in 3 different ways, my computer booted me the first 2 times just as I was trying to post - is the site trying to tell me something?!!!
HF
Buses - Rob the Bus
HF

I guess that we all have to give into our frustrations sooner or later ;-)

But I will stop there before this descends into sounding like a cheesy romantic novel!!!!!

Rob
Buses - HF
RTB - ROFL!!!! ;)
HF
Buses - Wales Forester
During a rather nasty shift in Chester once I was attempting to leave a bus layby with queueing traffic passing me very slowly. There was a police astra in the queue so I was a good boy and didn't push my luck, until I realised that the police car wasn't going to let me out either. The red mist descended and as he was drawing level with the back of the bus I made a move - silly I know, but I was having a mare of a shift and I couldn't believe his ignorance!
Anyway, I got away with it, I was expecting a blast of the sirens or even to be stopped by them, but they must have thought better of it as they didn't even make eye contact when they eventually passed me.

One of my colleagues had a run in with a black cab at a notorious junction in Chester city centre where the left lane goes straight on and the right hand lane is supposed to be a right turn only bus/taxi lane.
The cab pulled away from the lights in the right turn lane, alongside the bus which was in the left lane, my colleague was aware that the cab was probably going to perform the usual straight ahead trick, so as he had no punters on board he floored the Scania single decker, and without contact, forced the cab to run into the pedestrian railings - which was nice!

I usually wouldn't condone such an action, but as I had nearly come to grief at that junction myself on many an occasion at no fault of my own, I think the cabbie got his just desserts.

Another quick tale was when a lovely old lady let me go from a bus stop on a housing estate in Chester, I gave her a big thumb out of the cab window as a thankyou. Further down the road i stopped to turn right at the T junction and the lovely old lady decided to embed the front of her Micra under the back of my bus - what a mess! She was a bit shook up, and unfortunately her car had come off a lot worse than the Merc minibus she'd tried to park it under.

PP
Buses - Wales Forester
Rob, you're describing the job beautifully, I haven't disagreed with anything you've said yet, even the bit about reporting other bus drivers!
I bet u don't fiddle do ya?

PP
Buses - Rob the Bus

>>I bet u don't fiddle do ya?

No, but I play the guitar quite well ;-).

I'm not really sure whether to reply to that, Peter, as one of the lads has recently been sacked for fiddling on a school run. I suppose that I could be done for 'disclosing company secrets' or somesuch, so I will just say that yes, it happens and, as far as is hunamly possible, I try my absolute best to issue a ticket for everybody on my bus.
Buses - Flat in Fifth
RTB,

Seeing as this is a bus thread.

What is the position on drivers learning new routes these days?

I recall a case involving... errrm lets say a company whose name, appropriately, might be a reminder of those things Dick Turpin used to hold up. ;-)

Anyway this outfit bought our corporation bus outfit. Drivers sent out on new routes.

"But we haven't learnt this route" came the plea. Not unreasonable since many involved going to neighbouring towns via circuitous housing estate routes.

"There is your bus, here is your ticket machine, and a map. If you don't like it, door is over there" came the gruff response.

Ended up for a few weeks passengers who knew the route having to navigate in turns.

Surely its better these days, or even worse ?
Buses - Rob the Bus
FiF,

I work for the same company to which you are alluding. We are fortunate at our depot to have reasonably good realtions between the trade union and the management and there is a notice on the board signed by both parties to the effect that a driver is not expected to drive a route that he doesn't know.

Fine in theory. Sadly, in practice, there are too many drivers willing to go out on the road with a map, or with scant instructions. Personally, I only ever drive a route if I have been shown it before, or if a driver who knows it comes with me to show me. They can ask me until they are blue in the face, but I simply will not drive a route that I am unfamiliar with. They've twigged this, now and have given up asking me!

It is very bad practice, though, to send drivers out with maps etc, especially if they are driving a double decker. All it takes is one wrong turn into a road with a low bridge and well, I'm sure that you can work out the rest.

BORA,
I meant Chorley Old Road, not New. D'oh! Many thanks for the good wishes, they are much appreciated!

Cheers
Buses - NorthernKev {P}
I nearly always let buses pull out. Unless I am either overtaking them or about 10 foot behind them, or there's no traffic behind me [pointless allow bus to pull out. Same with people flashing cars in and out of junctions with no cars behind them, duh! Nice, but duh!]

Two reasons why, firstly, it makes me feel better knowing I've helped someone else [ditto allowing cars in/out of junctions], sad I know, but it brings a little bit of happiness into my driving and hope I've passed that on to someone else, it also calms me down, anti road rage device... :-D
secondly,you can overtake them when they get to the next stop anyway, is 10 seconds really wasted?

Kev
Buses - frostbite
I would be inclined to let buses out more often if it didn't mean my car was going to get filled with choking unpleasant fumes.
Buses - NorthernKev {P}
Ahh, you see, that's where Sheffield's very good.
We appear to be being swamped with brand new buses. Nearly every bus I see is at least a T plate, and there are stacks of 02 and 52 plate buses. All nice and speedy and nice and clean. Even the double deckers! Still won't tempt me out my car though...
:-D

Kev
Buses - Nortones2
Frostbite: you think petrol engines are fumeless? Pull the other one. At least buses are running hot: most cars on short urban runs are absolutely foul with unburnt hydrocarbons. Try cycling to get the full flavour. By the way, I agree, diesel fumes are\'nt pleasant, but they are minimal on well maintained vehicles, and they don\'t contain benzene!
Buses - sean
Buses - HF
And what do you do for a living, Sean? Nothing that involves tact and diplomacy, I hope.
Buses - Dynamic Dave
Sean,

Less of your personal views about people's chosen line of employment, if you please.

--
Dynamic Dave
Back Room Moderator

mailto:dave_moderator@honestjohn.co.uk
Buses - frostbite
On the (general) subject of buses -

I was surprised to see in the description of a full-size single decker advertised on eBay the statement that it could be driven on a regular car licence.
 

Value my car