Saturday, 12 March 2011

Bus Drivers Find Littering To Be An Expensive Day Out

Last month a coach driver was fined £250 and ordered to pay £400 costs to the council by York magistrates (The Press,02/02/11), having admitted illegally dumping two rubbish sacks out of his coach into the hedgerow on the York Outer Ring Road.

I won't be a hypocrite and complain that this was wrong, as I've moaned over and over again about the increase in litter in the hedgerows. Also I redden at the thought of when I was a child I would think nothing of throwing sweetie papers out of the window, until a stern parental rebuke halted that behaviour.

Where the underlying problem may possibly lie, is that this coach was most probably on a day trip to York. He should not have been sitting in a lay-by on a ring road. He should have been comfortably parked in the city's ample coach park. But York, like other urban councils will charge a minimum of £10 per day for coach parking. That doesn't sound a lot, but because of the coach companies tight margins, and the public's reluctance to pay, the result is that drivers clear out of town as fast as they can and sit in lay-bys.

I've done it myself. Many times, as every company I have ever worked for encourages their drivers to save the cash. Litter, as you will be aware is a big problem on buses, particularly when there are children or stag/hen parties. There are bin liners full of the stuff. As there are rarely enough bins in British cities these days, the bags just have to be thrown into the lockers under the bus and taken back to the depot. There is no where else to put them - the bus is quite pungent enough without an added rotting aroma.

More and more, us bus drivers feel alienated from visiting British cities. It is as if the authorities want the coach tourists, but they do not want the coaches. Maybe there could be more kindness shown to coaches, more convenience, maybe free parking, 'meeters and greeters', more bins and convivial places for drivers, like Rochester or Southport.

But as E.M.Forster said: "Logic! Good Gracious! What rubbish!

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