Monthly Archives: January 2012

Bus company bans drivers from calling women ‘love’, ‘darling’ or ‘babe’

I first heard about this whilst listening to the radio in my car. Two presenters, one male and one female were discussing the story which appears in the Mail Online. The female presenter said that she’d not be offended if she were addressed as ‘love, ‘darling’ or ‘babe’.

This followed a notice put up in the offices of Brighton & Hove buses saying ” ‘Please can drivers be aware that some of our customers may take offence at at having terms such as “love”, “darling” and “babe” directed towards them’. ‘This can be seen by some as by some as being a sexist comment, as a recent complaint has highlighted’. Calling someone ‘love’, ‘darling’, ‘babe’ etc is not my thing but is it really so wrong? It seems to me that the manner in which something is said carries almost more weight than the actual word/s used. Although I wouldn’t address a passenger in these terms I’ve heard other drivers do so in a cheerful, jocular, warm, genuine manner. Bus drivers are often criticised for being monosyllabic to the point of rudeness, now they’re being criticised for being cheerful and human to their passengers.

I say I wouldn’t use those words to a passenger but many times a passenger, often elderly, has called me ‘dear’ or ‘love’. I take no offence whatsoever at being addressed this way.

U.S. Department of Transportation

The Department’s website is one of the worst sites I’ve ever come across. Worst in the sense of having no uniformity, some pages appear almost amateurish in their design! However there is some interesting stuff buried within it. For example under Passenger Carrier Information For Consumers a two step process first guides you in selecting a vehicle type for your journey, then helps you to ‘Find a Safe Company Near You’.

“Companies with a graphic (! mark within a yellow diamond) status or an unsatisfactory safety rating are considered to be a higher safety risk”. It’s surprising therefore to see Megabus being rated a higher safety risk in Illinois where they are 72.5% worse than other companies in the Fatigued Driving category. In New Jersey they’re rated 76% worse than other companies for Unsafe Driving!

I think the equivalent to this in the UK would be VOSA making public its statistics on company inspections. Would that be a good or bad thing?

Limbus – my soul cries for mercy at the bus stop

I received the following e-mail a few days ago and am happy give the singer/song writer a plug. The only thing I’ve changed is the URL for the song which is on YouTube. I couldn’t watch the video and listen because it gave me motion sickness – maybe that’s why he’s Carsick Phil? Watch at your peril! I changed the link to an audio only site.

Dear Sir
I stumbled across your blog and enjoyed it. Just wondered if you might be interested in a song I put together over a weekend when mightily disgruntled with the local bus service. It comes across, on reflection, as being a bit harsh on the bus drivers, but it was meant to more of a moan about the bus firms, the local authority and general powerlessness felt when standing waiting for a bus. My thoughts are captured in the notes under the video, including the notion that, in cities across the land, we are ducking the real issue of getting cars off the road, which is the necessary prerequisite for buses running superbly well, which would take more cars off the road, etc. Any way hope you enjoy it my amateur effort. It can be found at http://soundcloud.com/carsick-phil/limbus-my-soul-cries-for-mercy  
All the best
Carsick Phil

Not how I would have said it

This is a letter, written by a National Express bus driver, published in the Evening Telegraph, Dundee.

‘Bus drivers are still fair game to public’

Another year has drawn to a close but from a bus driver’s point-of-view nothing has changed.

From what I have read in the Tele letters page over the past year, drivers continue to be fair game for anyone who has a gripe about National Express Dundee.

We are employees, not the owners and we do as our bosses command.

I would like to outline the following:

1 — our licences are ours and we needed to pass a specialised test to gain it. We also need to qualify for other certificates to keep our licences.

2 — National Express are a privately-owned company who are responsible to their shareholders.

3 — drivers are, by law, responsible for every passenger who boards their bus, and are therefore in charge of said vehicle and have the ultimate say as to what happens on-board.

4 — the days of stopping between recognised bus stops are well and truly gone.

5 — do not expect a bus to stop for you if you are not prepared to make it known to the driver that you wish him to stop. Put down your phones and concentrate on looking for the bus!

6 — be a parent and watch your kids on-board. Do not allow them to treat the bus as if it were a playground.

7 — passengers have a duty of care too. No eating, drinking, swearing etc.

8 — from a personal point-of-view, swear at me and you do not travel on my bus.

I hope this letter makes a small difference to the way bus drivers are treated by the public. —

Fed-Up Driver.

Ahem …… I’m not sure that’s how I would have said it! The author comes across as very belligerent which sadly I assume must be their normal manner when driving their bus. Shame. In my experience passengers, with the exception of a tiny number, adopt the same attitude and manner as the driver. Be polite and friendly and even if you have to say no to a request it’s normally accepted well. For example the author of the letter wrote “the days of stopping between recognised bus stops are well and truly gone”. Stopping at dangerous places such as on bends, brow of a hill, just before pedestrian crossing etc. aren’t going to happen. Tell the passenger why and they usually apologise for asking. In other places where it’s perfectly safe to stop why not? Act in this way and the passenger is likely to choose to travel on your company’s buses again, maybe use the bus more often or, put another way, keep the service profitable and keep you away from redundancy!

Happy New Year….

…. and a belated Happy Christmas. Late on the Friday before Christmas my PC died. Why do these things happen just a few hours before a 4 day shutdown? Investigation showed that PSU had blown so I fitted a new PSU. After that the PC would start but shutdown before Windows had been loaded. On closer examination I spotted several capacitors on the motherboard which had swollen! So it also needs a new motherboard as well. This is being written on my wife’s laptop which suddenly doesn’t seem to like talking to our wireless router – I can’t check the router settings without my my (still not working) PC’s ethernet connection to it. So our internet connection is currently my mobile acting as WiFi hotspot which, surprisingly, is working very well. The same day my PC died my car had been in the garage because there had been a loud bang after which it began to bounce and roll like a barrel at sea :-( Both front shock absorbers had snapped. Christmas is always expensive but this one seems to be beating all previous records!

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45 on 12 July at 21:36