Have some sympathy for bus drivers - Miller
A question for all you motorists out there:

You are driving along the road and in front of you is a bus signalling to pull out from a bus stop, should you:

a) Give way to the bus, as long as it is safe to do so?

b) Floor it and overtake the bus before it has the chance to pull out, after all, being stuck behind it will put an extra 30 seconds on your journey time?

c) Randomly speed up and slow down, so the bus driver has'nt a clue as to wether you are going to let him out, but then again neither have you, then screech to a halt as he pulls out in front you and shout "Bloody bus drivers!"?

I think 99.9% of you know the correct answer is a), but what percentage actually give way?, in my experience as a bus driver most choose to go down route b). I once counted 26, yes TWENTY SIX cars pass me while I was indicating and waiting to pull out from a stop. Small wonder some of us (not me) opt for the pull out regardless of what is coming no matter how close its proximity, and it gives us a bad name in general. Please let us out, thank you!
Re: Have some sympathy for bus drivers - Tomo
Well, right, but you have virtually said you will not believe me..........
Re: Have some sympathy for bus drivers - Cockle
Yes, I'm one who has sympathy for bus drivers, just wish there were more of you so that my last bus in the evening wouldn't be at 18:40!!
I do try to give way but I think there are some serious reasons why people don't, mainly I'm afraid it's down to our old favourite of poor road design. The chances are if you get behind a bus pulling out of a lay-by then the next dozen stops will be those where the council has decided to narrow the road. The consequence will then be that you sit behind the bus, unable to pass, while the poor driver waits for everyone to find their loose change so he can issue their ticket. Why do people never have the money ready, aren't they expecting a bus??
This phenomen has, of course, occured since the conductors were removed but that's another topic all on its own.
As to the bus slowing the traffic in this manner one of our local 'greens' actually told me that this was 'an additional bonus' of the road narrowing policy as it would eventually frustrate us all out of our vehicles and on to the buses! Of course all the motorists having seen the slow progress of the buses are really going to be attracted on to them, aren't they?
You really do have my sympathy and admiration, I think anyone who drives a bus on today's roads at the hours required and for the pay deserves a medal.
Re: Have some sympathy for bus drivers - Darcy Kitchin
Would like to give way to bus drivers more often, but my willingness to help evaporates when I see the driver collecting fares with the right indicator going. That's just taking the mickey.

I know what it's like waiting to pull out into traffic, I used to drive a 56-seater coach across Leeds taking mostly women to work for an 8 am start. That was an education for a 25-year old. And the occasional darts match of an evening.
Re: Have some sympathy for bus drivers - Alwyn
Friend of mine used to transport ladies darts teams. He would always drop the best looking one off last.

Do you know why this should be?
Re: Have some sympathy for bus drivers - Rob
You don't have to give way to buses. It's only a recommendation of the highway code, not law. I never let them out on the basis they'll only hold me up when I have to follow them. And the diesel fumes are often palpable.

Re: Have some sympathy for bus drivers - Tom Shaw
I suspect that the ridiculous number of bus lanes in our cities has lost bus drivers a lot of sympathy with motorists, who are forced into unnescessary traffic queues while an occasional double decker lumbers past ever 20 minutes or so with a couple of passengers on board. You have my sympathy doing what must be a frustrating job, but we all have to get somewhere.
Re: Have some sympathy for bus drivers - steve paterson
I Don't think you'll get much sympathy on this site. Many contributors seem to think that anything causing them to change speed or direction should be banned.
Re: Have some sympathy for bus drivers - Carole
A bus driver signalling to pull out? Now come on! ;-)

I know this is a terrible generalisation, but often there is no indication at all and I have to rely on my legendary telepathic qualities before I let them out (and despite my irritation, I usually do). Or they pull out anyway, or maybe synchronise their pull out with the indication (though of course you would never do any of those things, Miller, would you? ). In this, and other instances I can recall where I've had a nasty moment with a bus, the driving falls short of that expected from a professional driver. Having said all that, I do have sympathy for them, doing a very difficult job in today's traffic. If we get irate at some of the behaviour on the roads in the short periods we're driving during the day, think what it's like when you're doing it all day

Mind you, it's quite nice to get a wave or a flash (!) to say thanks when you have let a bus out - though it's a bit much for them to cheerily wave when they've pulled out regardless or at the last, unexpected moment. And let's face it, you don't argue with buses/lorries/anything far bigger than your precious car if it's determined it's coming out!
Re: Have some sympathy for bus drivers - Martyn, Back Room moderator
Carole wrote:
> A bus driver signalling to pull out? Now come on! the very notion>;-)
> I know this is a terrible generalisation

It is! But it's based on fact, so we'll let it go!

I was a bus driver for several years in the 1980s. Miller will confirm that you're taught to use the bulk of the bus as a means to 'shoulder' your way into a stream of traffic. There's no need to do this dangerously: as long as you do indicate (often with a hand signal as well as flashing direction indicators), and you position the bus to suggest to other drivers that you're about to pull in front of them, usually someone will give way. It *is* a form of intimidation. But without it, as Miller says, you could wait for ever until someone voluntarily lets you out. And also, as long as you're at the bus stop, your vehicle is causing an obstruction...

Incidentally, one of the requirements of the old PSV test was that you should 'make progress', and failure to demonstrate that you can do so in the way I've outlined meant failure of the test.

Carole concluded:
> Mind you, it's quite nice to get a wave or a flash (!)

The very notion!
Re: Have some sympathy for bus drivers - Brill
Yes I do let them out with a flash (yes I know you're not supposed to do that) and a thumbs up from the driver at least shows they've appreciated it.
Re: Have some sympathy for bus drivers - Dan J
Buses invariably have rear facing exhaust pipes and the times I have let one out, only to end up feeling ill 2 miles down the road because of the black smoke belching out the back of it are countless. Consequently, unless the bus is virtually new I would go for option b if it was safe to do so...
Re: Have some sympathy for bus drivers - Cliff Pope
Here in semi-rural West Wales I never let buses out:
a) because there are only 3 people on them
b) because they are old and smokey and I'd rather not sit breathing the fumes
c) because it is not just a matter of saving 30 seconds on the journey time, it is having to follow the bus at 35mph for the next 20 miles.

In cities it is another matter. The buses are new and quite nippy, the drivers are younger and smarter, and not pensioners doing part time jobs. Also the buses usually carry passengers.
Re: Have some sympathy for bus drivers - Brian
Quite a few or the bus drivers around home are female, and some quite attractive too.
I am always ready to flash them in the hope that they will flash back. :-)
Re: Have some sympathy for bus drivers - Piers
I had to laugh on my home from work the other day - I had to catch the bus home (walk to bus, wait, get cold, get on bus, pay £1 for 3 mile 8 minute trip, move seats to avoid the bad smell, get off bus, walk home versus get in car, get driven to work, get kiss, walk 5 yrds to door. I do think this idea that we are all wanting to use public transport is somewhat misguided....) and whilst waiting in a queue of traffic a BMW decides to nip past the bus, she must have thought it was at a stop (no signs about though... perhaps she couldn't see through the fog that was affecting her vision but no-one elses hence requiring her fog lights - which do affect everyone elses vision... but that's a different rant). The BMW has to stop half way along the bus when faced with traffic coming the other way. So she sits there, blocking all the traffic, no intention of reversing and waits until the bus starts moving when she has to now muscle into the flow of traffic, and the first person in queue behind doesn't let her in!

I usually let buses out as I'm nice, and my car is slow anyway so it doesn't make much difference. A lot of my motoring decisions are based on the person behind, if they've been tailgating me I sometimes let everyone under the sun out. If there is a massive expanse of empty road behind I don't let anyone out as they can join the road after me and not hold me up. One thing I can't stand is the people who pull out in front of you, when you are in a sports car and there is no other traffic behind you. A few more seconds wait for them would enable them to pull out safely and not force an overtaking manouver. And I hate the people who don't move onto the hatched areas to slow down before turning right....

Re: Have some sympathy for bus drivers - Andy W
We hear lots of talk about what caused accidents, speed, breaking distance, drink etc, but I have never heard anyone talk about impatience. For me this is the biggest contributing factor with crashed. Why do people drive so close to others? Impatience, why do people drive too fast? Impatience. Why do people not let buses out? Impatience.

I let myself have more time, drive in a way that is considerate to other drives and do my best to anticipate what they are going to do so I can accomodate it. Including buses.

I do loose my rag, let people wind me up and get stressed at times and I know which attitude leaves me more relaxed and read for work!!

Why attitude of 'I'm the king of the road, you are just a pain'?

Re: Have some sympathy for bus drivers - Brian
Good arguments Andy W
Although I would add poor observation to impatience.
But what causes the impatience?
OK, some people are genetically programmed to be impatient, or selfish, and will drive around like maniacs in any case.
But I would suggest that the root cause of impatience in otherwise reasonable people is the fact that road capacity, roadworks, poor road design, etc. conspire to slow traffic down to half of its "natural" speed and the natural inclination is to try to make up the loss.
Not everybody has the discipline to resist the temptation.
For example I know that my journey to work takes an hour. On an empty road. Without breaking speed limits by more than a small margin.
It actually takes an hour and a half.
As I value my neck I try not to take risks, so it takes me an hour and a half.
I would suggest, however, that if one could be certain that one could set out on a journey knowing that one would be able to undertake all of it at the legally permitted speed then a lot of the impatience and "corner-cutting" might cease.
Re: Have some sympathy for bus drivers - KB
When I saw your question, Miller, I thought you'd get a mixed bunch of answers. And there they are. I'm a bit disappointed to see that several do just deliberately and routinely take option (b). But as I don't drive in to the City 5 days a week, every week, as others do, my view probably reflects that (I usually use the Underground to get to Central London). I live on a busy main road...(lots of local school runs and commuter traffic) and getting out of my driveway in the morning(7.30am - 10am) and evening (3pm -7.30pm) is just like you pulling out of a bus stop. If I sat and actually waited for some one to note my position, politely stop and wave me out, I'd be there for ever. But I sometimes try and tell myself that some of these people have been sitting in traffic jams for the previous hour or two and I'm the last person they're worried about.

So my sympathies go with you Miller. Like others, I think you've got a difficult job dealing with passengers who've got the 'ump and drivers who won't let you out and rotten hours and pretty average pay. So I thank you Miller on behalf of others who can't or won't. I'm aware of the fact that there are dozens of related arguments in this thread ie. Public Transport versus private car use, schoolruns, road design, drivers attitudes, even a bit of 'age-ism' in Cliff's post. I enjoyed reading this one and I think it's the sort of exchange that's well worth studying and can teach us something. Thank you.
Re: Have some sympathy for bus drivers - Miller
Thank you for all the replies, glad to see the majority of you have some sympathy for me!
Re: Have some sympathy for bus drivers - Honest John
I gave way to a bus today. It was on a dual carriageway, I saw he wanted to pull out, so I got myself into the outside lane to give him space. Made sense.

Re: Have some sympathy for bus drivers - Bob H
If you drive a bus in London Miller you should encourage your employer to get cameras mounted front and back and take photos of all the *******s who drive up the bus lane and seem to feel its there divine right to then cut up those who wait in the correct lane. Insist they take out a private prosecution if the police won't!

Bob H
Re: Have some sympathy for bus drivers - Bob H
there = their
Re: Have some sympathy for bus drivers - Stuart B
I have sympathy for bus drivers ever since ********** took over our local bus company.

Sent the drivers out on strange routes they had never driven. When the drivers complained that they had had no familiarisation with the route they were basically told "Here is your ticket machine, here is a map, there is your bus, and if you don't like it there is the door."

hmmmm indeed.

Anyway why are people blasting past buses at bus stops? Don't passengers who have got off the bus sometimes step out in front of the bus to cross the road without looking?

double hmmmm.

Having said all that, maybe Miller or someone can explain why some bus drivers seem to be able to drive smoothly, corner in a reasonable fashion, brake in good time and generally keep to the timetable. Others find it necessary to accelerate at max rate, make rough gear changes, fling the bus round on its earholes and be the last of the late brakers all for a quich shuftie at the Sun.

Know which one I would rather have any day...........

yes women bus drivers.

Lowers head below parapet and hunkers for cover.
Re: Have some sympathy for bus drivers - Brian
Hear, hear Bob H,
I've also seen the results of several accidents when someone has turned right through a line of traffic in the outer lane, gone across the bus lane on the assumption that if they can't see a bus over the tops of the cars then the lane is empty, only to find themselves side-swiped by a car doing 40 mph.
However, taxis are also entitled to use bus lanes (goodness knows why?) and on one occasion a milk float trying to turn into a customer's yard got hit by a London cab in the bus lane.
It's a jungle out there!

Value my car