Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Bus Drivers Make Disgruntled Passengers

What do bus drivers and airline pilots have in common?

Very little really, except that the both seem to make terrible passengers. I have experience of both. I once travelled with an off-duty pilot to some grey city behind the then Iron Curtain, in some ancient and possibly under-maintained Soviet Tupolev 134. He had taken me into the Queen's Building at Heathrow (you were allowed as security was not so tight) where we had sat in the pilots' lounge drinking coffee and looking at the weather reports.

'There is a big storm coming our way. But don't worry all pilot's fly around them,' he said cheerfully.

Our pilot didn't. He flew straight through the middle of the damned thing. The plane was buffeted violently and rose, fell and twisted alarmingly. I was fine until I looked across the aisle to where my pilot friend and to seek some sort of consoling signal or nod that everything was alright. Instead I saw him gripping the armrest tightly, looking a whiter shade of pale and sweating profusely.

That was when I bagan to worry.

'I don't believe it. I don't believe it,' he kept on muttering. 'Bloody cowboy Commie pilots.'

As a bus driver, I sometimes felt the same when the roles were reversed and I was a passenger. I tended to make mental notes about the standard of driving, near misses and blatant ignoring of red lights etc. I tried not to but it was hard. The galling thing was that 9 times out of 10, the driver seemed to be a much more capable drivers than I could ever be.

But the one thing which grated more than anything was having a rude and snotty driver.

I had one last week. I was so insensed that I spent the whole journey thinking what card I might send his boss. Something like the one below was a contender.

The bus rolled up at the stop I was standing at. The driver got out of his seat and checked the door mechanism. I stood ready to get on. But he shut the doors and began to drive off.

I chased the bus and banged on the window, as it waited at the traffic lights. The driver slowly and reluctantly opened the doors. 

'Is this the bus for Newcastle?' I naively asked.

'What do you think mate?' he said sneering.

'I don't know.'

'Well it should be, because it says Newcastle on the front.'

Smart-ass. And not even a humourous smart-ass. I thought the best policy was to ignore the sarcasm. He had patently had a bad morning.  

I sat down in the disabled only seat and smarted. then again I thought of the bad mornings I had when I drove and the plethora of stupid comments and questions. Some of the passengers were unpleasant and fully deserved the sign I sometimes used to pin to the dashboard.

Why are bus drivers so rude is a question which can be found on many forums on the internet. Most answers  tend to take pity on them and blame it on the heavy burden and pressures associated with an lowly paid job. Others say it is because many bus drivers hate their jobs.

Either way I find the majority of drivers to be pleasant. But then I am biased.

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