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Letter to First

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Mojo

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I spoke to a few people earlier in the week about this shocking incident in which I was asked the directions by a bus driver. I thought about writing a letter and decided to do so, for the benefit of those who asked, here is my draft: -

Dear Sirs,

On Wednesday 14th December, I boarded the number 20 bus at Waterdale Gardens at its correct time (this is the 0730 from Westbury Canford Cemetery). I was horrified to find the driver of the double-decker asking me which way to turn at the top of the road.

I asked him what he meant and he told me that after 6 years working for the company, he had never been put on that route before. I find this extremely unsettling that you should supply a driver by himself on a bus that traditionally carries many people, with the majority being school children.

Whilst I was happy to volunteer for the thirty minute journey to stand at the front and direct the driver, I am extremely concerned that he should be asking a sixteen-year-old for directions. Whilst I directed him the correct way, there is a high chance that someone else could have sent him down the wrong road, causing inconvenience for your customers and also possible danger for those on board if the bus was sent down a road unsuitable for high, wide or long vehicles.

This is not a complaint at the driver, who in my opinion was one of the best I have ever experienced, but at your appaling rostering procedure which could put passengers' lives at danger if an incident had happenned.

I would like your assurances that such a thing will never happen again on any of your services across the city and also an apology for what happenned as I feel it totally unacceptable.

I would also like to advise you that I reserve the right to display your reply to myself in any media that I feel necessary. If you deny me that right, or I feel your reply is unacceptable, I will not hesitate to contact the regional Traffic Commissioner, who I am sure will be shocked at such sloppy standards and will no doubt impose yet more penalties on your company.

Thank you,


What do you all think?
 
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Dennis

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This is not an unusual on buses - I have given directions on service buses before and there is a member of this forum who has spent a lot of time recently helping out lost drivers (albeit on rail replacements).

My biggest worry when directing buses (and also applicable to HGV's) is sending them down a road with a low bridge.
 

yorkie

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I think the law needs to be changed, NOW.

Why is it any more acceptable for a bus driver to take a route he isn't familiar with, compared to a train driver?

I think it's far more than just a case of taking a wrong turn, but a health & safety issue! What if the driver turned the wrong way and ended up hitting a low bridge (as it was a double decker)? Or if he went on a road without sufficient clearance, also if he/she is wondering where to go they may be distracted from the road ahead.

If anything the rules should be stricter for bus drivers, regarding route knowledge, as unlike railways they can literally go anywhere, and a wrong turn could have disastrous results if they go the wrong way. But all I ask is that the rules for buses are similar for those as for trains.

Sadly until the law is changed, First will continue to do this as they can get away with it! But it won't be. The HSE are so busy tightening railway rules to extremes making rail almost unaffordable, while ignoring many road safety issues like this one.

No wonder First have so many adverts on their buses asking for staff - they must have a high staff turnover rate if the company doesn't teach them the routes!
 

Dave A

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yorkie said:
I think the law needs to be changed, NOW.

Why is it any more acceptable for a bus driver to take a route he isn't familiar with, compared to a train driver?

I completely agree. A train does basically go in a line, when you look at it from a passenger point of view. If it says the next station is, e.g, station A, then you expect the train to stop there as it would be extremely unusal for the driver to miss it.

A bus driver has to learn far more as buses do NOT always go from A to B via the same route. Bus drivers should know every road, every speed limit and every bus stop on that route, otherwise they are completely useless as bus drivers.
 

Beaker

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I directed my school bus to scholl ( well we went past it about twice as the driver was not listening)

I told him to wait for an extra 5 minutes at the train station stop so i could cop a shed 8) .
 

Ben

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I have had to Give the Driver of my school Bus directions a few times - including the Time he took us to the WRONG School.

Disgusting.
 

jonb

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Same happened with our old Bus company Town & Country. We always had drivers which did'nt know the roads so often had to be directed.
 

yorkie

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This is just one of many areas that show why buses are so much cheaper to run than trains.

The Government have proposed replacing some branch lines with buses, to save money. But it's not as simple as "saving money", it's about compromising safety.

Even if the bus companies had as strict rules as railways they'd never be as safe, but this is just further evidence that the bus companies cut corners when it comes to health & safety, and the HSE turns a blind eye, they don't care if a bus driver doesn't know where he's going. They're far, far too busy ensuring reliable slam-door trains can't run on the railways. :oops: :roll:
 

Daniel

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Talk about asking 16 year olds, how about asking 13 year olds!

A bus driver on route 491 said that he was working the route for the first time. The only thing he had been given was a timtable and a verbel discription of the route! Considering that this bus carrys mainly elderly people and school children...... :shock: :?
 

Jim

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Mojo said:
I spoke to a few people earlier in the week about this shocking incident in which I was asked the directions by a bus driver. I thought about writing a letter and decided to do so, for the benefit of those who asked, here is my draft:


I think that is daft writing a letter about this. If you prefer, you could of waited for the 1 after


I have given many directions on RRB's & services busses. I got rewarded a lot (lets not brag) & actually enjoy it

Beaker: How stupid, the bus driver could get drilled for that. If he was on Tako, he may have had a fine, or even a worse punishment. That was not clever at all, you WILL NEVER catch me doing that. I have done this 'job' since I was 9 & have NEVER taken advantage of the situation. I hope he did not pay you in ANY way for your unhelpfullness :roll:

Jim
 

yorkie

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Sorry Jim but, I disagree. It's a health & safety issue and needs urgently addressing.

Bus drivers should learn, and sign for routes in the same way that train drivers do.
 

Mojo

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Jim said:
I think that is daft writing a letter about this. If you prefer, you could of waited for the 1 after

Why? It's the fact that First are putting lives in danger and providing a shabby service which the traffic commissioner would frown upon.

Plus the fact First have recently cut frequencies on the route would mean that I'd have been late.
 

Jim

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Mojo said:
Jim said:
I think that is daft writing a letter about this. If you prefer, you could of waited for the 1 after

Why? It's the fact that First are putting lives in danger and providing a shabby service which the traffic commissioner would frown upon.
.

Sorry, i fail to see how they are putting lives at risk. So, does this mean if my Mum was driving her car & got lost, does this mean she is unsafe?!

I, do understand & agree with you Yorkie, BUT would you prefer that or no bus at all.

If they train probarally I wouldn't be here today :lol:
 

Guinness

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Jim said:
Mojo said:
Jim said:
I think that is daft writing a letter about this. If you prefer, you could of waited for the 1 after

Why? It's the fact that First are putting lives in danger and providing a shabby service which the traffic commissioner would frown upon.
.

Sorry, i fail to see how they are putting lives at risk. So, does this mean if my Mum was driving her car & got lost, does this mean she is unsafe?!

I, do understand & agree with you Yorkie, BUT would you prefer that or no bus at all.

If they train probarally I wouldn't be here today :lol:

Does she drive a 14ft Double Decker Bus though?
 

Nitro

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Jim, your mum may not be unsafe when she gets lost but she doesn't risk the wellfare and health of passengers like bus drivers do as it is a great responsibillty because should a bus driver injure or kill a passenger he or she will most probably go to jail!
 

Tom B

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Good luck Mojo, though I doubt you'll get very far - probarbly just an auto reply from some "Customer Experience Coordinator"...

We often have releif drivers (the current permanent driver on our route is rubbish and usually oversleeps) who don't know where to stop or where to go - unfortunately the company (not First) give you a standard response ("she's new on the route, how is she to know" and similar). The dangers of turning the wrong way were emphasised when the bus was running OOS after dropping us off, the driver took a shortcut and also took the roof off. Uck!
 

yorkie

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Jim, I don't think driving a large, heavy, double-decker bus with potentially a hundred or so people on board is comparable to driving a car.

I think it's more comparable to driving a local train, such as a Pacer, and the laws should be at least as strict in that respect.

It's not just a matter of "getting lost", for example I've known people ask why train drivers don't drive routes they don't sign, with comments like "they can't get lost, can they?", it's not just a matter of that, but aspects such as:-

- clearance issues (in the case of buses, there are limited clearances, bridges that a double decker may not fit under if they go the wrong way

- lane issues - is the bus in the right lane? If a car finds itself in the wrong lane it may be possible to rectify the situation (we've all seen people holding traffic up due to being in the wrong lane, that sort of thing) but if driving a bus it may not be easy to switch lanes.

- speed issues - if the driver doesn't know the speed limits, then that's something else the driver has to worry about.

- bus stops - does the driver know where all the stops are? Also in some areas there are multiple stops at the same place and the bus will be expected to stop at one of them (suitably signed) and the driver will need to know which one to stop at. If they get it wrong there could be a crowd of people all in the wrong place trying to reach the bus.

As for saying "would you prefer there was no bus at all?" this just further proves my point! If the same thing happened on the railways the service WOULD BE CANCELLED, for safety reasons. So, why is a bus any different?

I'll tell you why: it's because according to the HSE (and the media), if we die on the roads it doesn't really matter, it's just 'an accident' and 'accidents happen', it's just a statistic among the many who die on our roads. It doesn't matter, does it? :roll: But if something goes even slightly wrong on the railways it's a major incident.

The HSE would rather have bus drivers working routes they don't sign, and putting people's lives in danger, than have a slam-door train without central door locking on our railways, even though the safety risk is absolutely tiny. They don't care that on average 10 people die per day on our roads, they don't matter to the HSE.

If a rail service was cancelled because the driver didn't sign the route, and a bus operated instead, and the driver of the bus didn't know the route, and a crash occured, the current laws allow that to happen and the HSE wouldn't care, it would be 'an accident'. The media wouldn't give a damn either. And that's just wrong.

A sad state of affairs :(

Rant over ;)
 

TheSlash

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We've got Polish drivers who need a translator with them. One time this guy sold this woman a single instead of a return and we sat there for 20 minutes {i was clock watching, had to be somewhere} because he didnt understand, the translator washed his hands of the incident and the woman wouldnt back down, but she finally backed down after everybody else on the bus got fed up with it
 

Jim

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TheSlash said:
We've got Polish drivers who need a translator with them. One time this guy sold this woman a single instead of a return and we sat there for 20 minutes {i was clock watching, had to be somewhere} because he didnt understand, the translator washed his hands of the incident and the woman wouldnt back down, but she finally backed down after everybody else on the bus got fed up with it

We got plenty of Polish Drivers in Bath :roll: We did have 1 in Trowbirdge Outstation but he gave up
 

traveller1030

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Had a right old row with a Polish London General driver on the 211, who thought I was still smoking even after stubbing it out well in advance at the stop - cue hissy fit by driver, myself refusing to back down, other punters on the bus getting the R Sole with me since they thought it was my fault - luckily a passenger who had waited at the stop with me eventually got the driver to back down. If I was that way inclined, I'd have tried to get him the tin tack faster than you could say Dennis Dart SLF for abusing a punter, but I'd just finished work, was tired and fancied getting to Victoria before Hell froze over.
 

ChrisM

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TheSlash said:
We've got Polish drivers who need a translator with them. One time this guy sold this woman a single instead of a return and we sat there for 20 minutes {i was clock watching, had to be somewhere} because he didnt understand, the translator washed his hands of the incident and the woman wouldnt back down, but she finally backed down after everybody else on the bus got fed up with it

A while back that down your way you had prisoners driving buses for a living.
 

ChrisM

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Mojo said:
I spoke to a few people earlier in the week about this shocking incident in which I was asked the directions by a bus driver. I thought about writing a letter and decided to do so, for the benefit of those who asked, here is my draft: -

Dear Sirs,

On Wednesday 14th December, I boarded the number 20 bus at Waterdale Gardens at its correct time (this is the 0730 from Westbury Canford Cemetery). I was horrified to find the driver of the double-decker asking me which way to turn at the top of the road.

I asked him what he meant and he told me that after 6 years working for the company, he had never been put on that route before. I find this extremely unsettling that you should supply a driver by himself on a bus that traditionally carries many people, with the majority being school children.

Whilst I was happy to volunteer for the thirty minute journey to stand at the front and direct the driver, I am extremely concerned that he should be asking a sixteen-year-old for directions. Whilst I directed him the correct way, there is a high chance that someone else could have sent him down the wrong road, causing inconvenience for your customers and also possible danger for those on board if the bus was sent down a road unsuitable for high, wide or long vehicles.

This is not a complaint at the driver, who in my opinion was one of the best I have ever experienced, but at your appaling rostering procedure which could put passengers' lives at danger if an incident had happenned.

I would like your assurances that such a thing will never happen again on any of your services across the city and also an apology for what happenned as I feel it totally unacceptable.

I would also like to advise you that I reserve the right to display your reply to myself in any media that I feel necessary. If you deny me that right, or I feel your reply is unacceptable, I will not hesitate to contact the regional Traffic Commissioner, who I am sure will be shocked at such sloppy standards and will no doubt impose yet more penalties on your company.

Thank you,


What do you all think?
I can understand the safety side of it all and do feel that drivers in general should take better tests and training from lorries to car owners but feel your letter is a little petty and over the top.
 

Mojo

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It's only the kind of shock reaction that if something on the railways happenned like this, they'd expect to get.
After paying £18 a week to a greedy bus company, who cannot properly run buses ontime, the least I'd expect was for the drivers to know the way.
 

eezypeazy

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yorkie said:
Sorry Jim but, I disagree. It's a health & safety issue and needs urgently addressing.

Bus drivers should learn, and sign for routes in the same way that train drivers do.

This would be totally impractical.... an emergency road closure, for example, would mean that buses would be unable to use a diversion, because the driver couldn't possibly have signed for the route....

Bus drivers (and, indeed, all drivers) are required to know the dimensions of their vehicles, and follow road signs which prohibit tall/wide/long vehicles from low overhead structures/narrow lanes or roads/weight restrictions, etc.

We could, of course, roll forwards the frontiers of the Nanny State and require all bus drivers to wear seat belts and undertake an intensive paramedic course (in case a passenger should fall ill); fit seat belts and air bags to all passenger seats in buses; and have a person carrying a red flag and sounding a horn walk ahead of each vehicle...
 

Julian G

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Jim said:
TheSlash said:
We've got Polish drivers who need a translator with them. One time this guy sold this woman a single instead of a return and we sat there for 20 minutes {i was clock watching, had to be somewhere} because he didnt understand, the translator washed his hands of the incident and the woman wouldnt back down, but she finally backed down after everybody else on the bus got fed up with it

We got plenty of Polish Drivers in Bath :roll: We did have 1 in Trowbirdge Outstation but he gave up
Mowi sie po Polsku ;)
 

ChrisM

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Mojo said:
It's only the kind of shock reaction that if something on the railways happenned like this, they'd expect to get.
After paying £18 a week to a greedy bus company, who cannot properly run buses ontime, the least I'd expect was for the drivers to know the way.
All that will happen is the driver will get bollocked and you will get a standard letter response.
My brother is an Ex bus driver and says this sort of thing goes on all the time and the drivers are the ones that get it in the neck from managers.
If this sort of problem is regular and you feel your safety is in danger then you need to get a fair few people to support you.
 

Mojo

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Why will the driver get in trouble?
For doing his job :?
 

ChrisM

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Mojo said:
Why will the driver get in trouble?
For doing his job :?
Because he didn't know the route and the managers will have to been seen to do something : IE bollock the driver,problem sorted in there eyes.
Managers never take the blame,even if it's there fault.
 
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