Today I had to pick up passengers from a cruise ship docked in Southampton and then transfer them to Heathrow for their flights home. Everything went as normal in Southampton, the port staff checked passengers as they left the terminal and those booked on my coach were directed to over me. I loaded their baggage into the hold and they got onto the coach.
We arrived at Heathrow and as usual I announced which terminal we were at and asked the passengers to remain seated until I’d unloaded their luggage onto the pavement. Having done that I invited them to leave the coach and collect their luggage. Then the stupid question of the day was asked “Which suitcases are mine”? I paused for a moment completely lost as to what to say, the best I could come up with was “I’m sorry I haven’t a clue I just loaded all the cases presented to me”. How can someone have travelled to the cruise ship with their luggage, unloaded it on the ship, reloaded it before leaving the ship, somehow retrieved it in the baggage hall before going through customs, bring it to the coach and then say they don’t know what it looks like! After the scrum of everyone grabbing luggage there was nothing left on the pavement and the guy who didn’t know what his looked liked had disappeared with everyone else so I guess his memory must have returned.
Last week I resigned from my part-time bus driving job. In many ways it was hard decision, the company was one I respected very much, my fellow drivers were a pretty good bunch and all staff are treated well. So why did I resign? In a nutshell I’m too old for the intensity of driving an urban bus service with its need for super alertness whilst negotiating roundabout after roundabout, traffic lights, crossings, parked cars, cyclists, pedestrians, bells ringing every few hundred meters requesting a stop, issuing tickets whilst all the time trying to keep the bus running on time. Its rare to hold a set speed for more than a few moments, you’re always braking then accelerating. Stopping and starting. And doing all that for up to 11 hours a day. It was wearing me out and leaving me irritable once I got home. You need to enjoy your work not only for your own sake but also your employer otherwise you wont be doing it properly. I no longer enjoyed my work so I was doing neither myself, my employer, nor my family any favours.
So today I started my new part-time job (2 days a week) driving a coach. The company I work for do a huge amount of work with the cruise ships that use the Port of Southampton and it’s cruise related work which I’ll be doing. Here’s a picture of my coach as I waited for my passengers today. The ship in the background is the Mein Schiff, a German cruise ship.
I was to do the Windsor Castle shore excursion. We had a nice journey up to Windsor, a Blue Badge guidewas on board to give a running commentary in German on where we were, what they’d see etc All I had to do was give them a nice smooth, safe journey. Once there I parked in the coach park and I had several hours to myself before returning them to the cruise ship by late afternoon.
And a modern coach is such a joy to drive compared with a bus- climate control where the driver’s area can be set differently to the passenger area, no rattles, cruise control, a super adjustable in every direction drivers seat, even a driver’s fridge for sarnies and a drink! Absolutely effortless.
You may have noticed this new addition to the right-hand column. It displays the 5 most recent tweets from these bus operators:
If you know of more tweeting bus operators I’d like to include them. Thanks.
It seems that there are at least 12 vacancies following the drivers’ Â£38m EuroMillions jackpot win on Friday!
Actually there were two of these open top buses being driven north on the M3 this morning.
They were brand new, right-hand drive, all the seats had covers on them and I guess they’d been collected from the port in Southampton.
I did a google on what I presume is a model number (HFF6121GS-3) on the nearside rear of the bus. Google returns a couple of results which are Chinese pages. Google translate doesn’t do too well with them but the words “Export the London HFF6121GS-3 production planning book preparation” can be seen at one point, whatever that means! I guess the Chinese characters on rear offside are the makers name?
Does anyone know anything about these buses and where they’re destined for?
This one is in Reading where every bus shelter is to be interactive.
Passengers will be able to download discount vouchers, games and video clips while waiting for their bus to arrive
These shelters are Near Field Communication (NFC) and Quick Response Code (QR) enabled, which means people can download items with either a swipe of their mobile phone or by using the camera to scan the QR code.
A bus shelter may, for examples, offer 10 per cent discount on a drink at a coffee shop and feature a QR code. The user would zap the code with their phone, a 10 per cent voucher would be sent to the mobile which could then be used in the store immediately.