A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Dave Marshall, Chief Engineer at BorderBus, inviting me to spend the day observing what goes on, including watching a bus being serviced, access all areas and taking pictures of what I wanted. This is new ground for blogs, indeed very seldom is the media allowed to witness anything like that without a bit of staging going on. Nothing was staged today!
In fact it didn't go quite to Dave's plans. A couple of the buses had developed niggly faults which put the planned service on hold. Instead a water leak on one of the Presidents had to be fixed, then after some mystery electrical gremlins had been scared off, the E300 needed a safety inspection, which will form Part Two of this report tomorrow.
Yesterday I was on the top deck of a Plaxton President. Today I was underneath one getting a completely new perspective. BorderBus 202, one of the ex Metroline Volvo B7tl Presidents had developed a water leak and was being repaired by Dave's long term colleague, Colin Stammers.
|BorderBus 202 over the pit at the Beccles base|
|The replacement hose in place|
|Absolutely no idea where that badge is located, except it's underneath!|
206 was also off the road with a problem involvng a connector and a mild air leak. The replacement part arrived but proved incompatible. Here is Colin removing the wheel to get to the connector.
Dave and Colin are passionate about the vehicles whose well being they are responsible for. They are quite literally their babies, and they know that individual buses have individual characters, and with that comes different characteristics. Some may mock that but it's true. Some vehicles are fussier than others - one may not need much looking after and will plod on day after day, and another one needs constant TLC. Dave made a point about breaks that I hadn't thought of before. He said that drivers get breaks, and of course that's right, but these days seldom do the buses. One driver gets out, another gets on and off they go again. Layovers at termini are shorter than they used to be. There is more pressure on the wheels to keep turning more than ever these days, and the buses themselves are getting no rest, which is putting more strain on the components than ever before. Give the buses a break like the drivers, as they do at BorderBus with the one man one driver policy and it puts less strain on the vehicles themselves. Makes sense if you have the vehicles to operate that policy.
|The always impressive line up of BorderBus's Presidents|
|View from the pit! The E300 looking forward|