Tuesday 24 June 2014

What Grinds My Gears

Anyone who watches Family Guy will recognise the title of this post and will know what to expect - it's basically a rant about what is annoying me today, and I apologise if I'm breaking any of Fox's plethora of copyright laws by using it. Treat it as a compliment!

Today I caught the bus from Saxmundham to Ipswich the long way round via Aldeburgh to avoid the roadworks on the A12 at Stratford St Andrew, which was causing 20 min delays yesterday. As it turned out it was a good decision as I had the comfort of 69423 instead of the bum numbing 65673. However, at Leiston the driver was involved in what can only be described as an incident with a pushchair and a foul mouthed irate mother.

Due to bad parking, ignorant car drivers and the aforementioned 65673 coming the other way (why ARE the 64A's timed to pass at Leiston?) my driver had absolutely no choice but to get as far over to the nearside and mount the kerb - I say that as a former London driver - or the crossroads would have been totally blocked. I had seen the lady with the pushchair and another child come round the corner. So had my driver. However the lady in question had not seen a bloody great lilac bus. My driver followed the lady, and when she finally realised the bus was behind her on the pavement the bus was stationary. To say the reaction was hysterical is an understatement. A torrent of foul mouthed abuse was aimed at the driver, claims that he was going to kill her baby and so on. A couple of guys from the adjacent cafe heard the commotion, and started on the driver too, one dashing in to grab a camera. Just what anyone can do with a stationary bus with the handbrake on I have no idea, but as we continued to Aldeburgh I remembered something about my own driving days.

When I was a driver if there was a public complaint the driver was automatically guilty until proved innocent. After all why would someone complain if it wasn't true. Incidentally the complete opposite applied on the railway but I digress. So on arrival at Aldeburgh I gave the driver my card and told him I would be a witness. I thought for a long time before writing this post as I try to avoid talking about individuals, but realised I'm defending not criticisng. So the next time your driver is a bit stressed or a little grumpy give them a break. Of course we know there are some that are always like that and I'm not talking about them. The abuse that drivers have to put up with on a daily basis must make staying cheerful impossible - I know it is from experience and in this particular case I can assure First Ipswich management that your driver this morning was wholly in the right, did not return any of the abuse he received, and I found his driving and attitude exemplary for the 2 hours I was on his bus.

There are times I think pedestrians, especially those with pushchairs need a licence themselves. How someone can fail to notice over 3,000 cubic feet of brightly painted metal up her backside defeats me completely. And that's what grinds my gears tonight!


  1. I fear that over the last 20 years highway manners have completely disappeared for most of us. Bus drivers are THE exception. What they do is an everyday miracle. I just hope their employers appreciate it.

  2. Whether she saw the bus or not, it must have felt a bit threatening when she finally realised it was behind her and the pushchair. Maybe she was having a bad day, and regretted it. But as you say, it sounds utterly hysterical. What's sad is the rush to judgement of people who hear a row brewing and automatically assume that the driver was in the wrong when it sounds like he was forced into a less than ideal bit of driving when just trying to do his job without damaging his bus. Good for you though, for your support.

  3. Of course it also shows how quiet the B7rle's are. had it been an E200 she'd have heard it rattlng along 5 mins before it got to her! Joking apasrt though i really couldn't believe the difference in managerial support for staff between the bus industry and rail industry when I became a Conductor. I think what rather summed it up for me was one of my depot managers on Kentish Bus learned his trade at WH Smith, which to be fair does stock Buses magazine after all, so I assume he built up his experience of the bus industry reading that. My conductor manager on Southeastern was a chap with over 10 years as a Conductor under his belt. Says a lot really doesn't it.

  4. Hi again, JohnDBus here. You would love Claimed and Shamed currently being broadcast on BBC1 on weekday mornings. The sort of claims being proved exaggerated or non existent is rather startling.

  5. I think a new law should come in banning texting or any other kind of mobile phone use while pushing a pushchair. How many times are the people pushing them totally oblivious to what their other little darlings or other pedestrians are doing? Should be like cars - they should have to stop and pull over if they want to use their phones to avoid injury to others. Grrrr

  6. Laws don't work. Can you bring up a child without facing problems? And if your first reaction to any problem is a foul-mouthed tirade then what is the child going to grow up like? I suppose I'm just old-fashioned but I think that my parents propensity to observe and think before they reacted, taught me to think too; and was the best bit of education I ever received.