Thursday, 15 April 2010

A Tale Of Two Points Of View

Greetings to anyone who happens to find themselves by chance on this page. It is cold in the Far North. Extremely cold. The local doom-mongers are saying snow is forecast this weekend. Even the bus I have just driven appears to be shivering.

It has been a quiet morning. A new lady got on the bus this morning. She turned out to be the new courier. There has been an ongoing battle between some new parents who have recently moved into the area and the Council. The parents have moved from some city down South where there were couriers on the school buses there.

They found, shock horror, in the remote Northern countryside, that not only were there no couriers, but the bus doubled up as a service bus and schoolchildren and local residents boarded travelled on the same bus. it had worked well for decades. everybody knew each other and there had never been any sort of a problem.

But - oh no! The parents insisted on change. They complained to the Council who had to react. As a result there was months of wrangling. The bus company was stuck in the middle. The parents expected them to supply a courier and the council expected the the bus company to pay the wages. but why should they? As the tendering system stands at the moment, school bus contracts tend to come up for renewal every three to five years.

There is every likelihood that the bus company could lose the contract owing to a cowboy company putting in a ridiculously low offer. The council have to accept the cheapest offer, regardless if they think the company has the resources to fulfill the contract or not. Then where would the losing bus company be? With a courier and no bus contract. And they would be liable for any redundancy.

Wacky ideas were banded around like the one where it was suggested that anyone who travelled regularly on the bus had a CRB (Criminal Records Bureau)check. Of course someone questioned what would happen to the odd tourists who sometimes caught the bus and were much more likely to have a record than the regulars who were well known in the tight community. The answer was that they would be ignored as there were so few. After a lot of umming and awing, the idea was dropped.

On return to the depot, a large piece of concrete seemed to have fallen off the building, which resembled the Stalinist Tractor Factory at Stalingrad. It was of the same vintage.

But all's well with the world.

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