|The rather impressive looking 68 004 sits in Norwich sidings with a 47 in background|
|Single car unit 153314 leaves Ipswich sidings|
However, that does not detract from the fact that someone harmessly going about his hobby was subject to verbal abuse from so called professional drivers. I used to be a driver and we had more than our share of enthusiasts who used to hang around taking pics. Yes, I admit occasionally I'd pull a silly face or stick my tongue out, but never once did it cross my mind to be nasty or aggressive to them. In fact now I'm highly grateful to those guys and I spend a lot of time looking at pics taken in those days. Still haven't found one of me driving though!
I am acutely aware that none of the drivers who have an issue with enthusiasts will be reading this, but I know management do and they need reminding that enthusiasts give you guys a while lot of free publicity. It's bloggers like Kieran who publicise your new timetables, routes, initiatives and vehicles. It's thanks to bloggers like Kieran that potential customers well outside your catchment area see what's going on and come over here, thus generating more publicity and even revenue if they travel on the services. Negative attitudes from drivers and staff generate negative publicity and that is not good news for any company. Now it must be said that I have never had any problems at Ipswich from anyone while taking pics, and in a way that is even more worrying. I am big, middle aged and hairy. Kieran isn't, so if these big brave drivers are only picking on the younger generation then that makes it even more despicable and it needs to be sorted and quick. Norwich Buses has a similar readership to this blog - around 10,000 page views a month,and that is a lot of people seeing this negativity.
I hope Kieran gets a depot tour and interview with the depot manager to make up for this - it's the least First can do. I hope the drivers concerned are identified and disicplined. Companies NEED enthusiasts like Kieran. To read him say that sometimes he felt like giving up the hobby was truly sad. Perhaps those drivers would prefer he was throwing eggs at their buses or vandalising the bus stops as opposed to taking pics of them. Kieran - next time you intend to go to Ipswich let me know, and I'll do my damndest to meet you there, and God help any driver who objects to you taking pictures.
As an ex driver I will defend drivers to the hilt - in fact I'm waiting to hear if I'll be needed as a witness in defence of an Ipswich driver right now, and I have never reported a driver as I know anyone can have a bad day at the office. But there are limits to everything, and if I see any driver verbally abusing a young enthusiast there will be smoke coming off my phone.