Sunday, 31 May 2009

It really was one of "Those" shifts...

OK, yesterday now (actually last night, but what the hell).

I got to work in plenty of time to start my shift, and ye gods, it's just as well that I did, as immediately things start to go wrong.

The first bus they wanted me to take out had no working CCTV display, and the adjustable angle periscope mirror was missing too, so there was no view from the cab to the upper deck. Not good, and not at all safe for all concerned (passengers and me), so I refused the bus on safety grounds and asked for another, which was provided, after a bit of a wait (and probably some muttered under the breath cussing from the Engineering and Run-out crew!).

By now, although I was ten or so minutes late leaving the depot, I considered it to be no real problem, as there was bugger all traffic about, and I originally had loads of time to get to the start point of the route, so I could still get to the stand in enough time to quickly spin the destination blinds, reprogram the ticket machine, scribble on my log card, and leave on time, all without having to hammer down the light running route at all.


I was a half mile from the stand, having driven easily along the "light running" route, feeling fairly relaxed now, and, roughly nine miles from the depot, just rounding a bend to a set of traffic lights, BANG crash tinkle tinkle, and I saw glass falling down in front of me from the outside of the nearside corner of the bus.

Nope, I hadn't crashed, run into another vehicle, smacked a road sign, or hit a low branch, or even a bird. I'd just seen an arm come up and down on the pavement a fraction of a second before the bang.

Some boozed up pillock, probably thinking it the funniest thing since Benny Hill, had launched a bottle or glass at the bus, and scored a hit on the upper deck.

I wasn't about to hang around there to check - on a Saturday night in a boozed up town centre, the next thing you know, as you get out to survey the damage is that chummy'll think it absolutely hilarious to then bottle the bus driver. No thanks, very much. So, I drove the bus round the corner, outside the local nick, and then surveyed the damage. Wonderful. smashed window. Oh, joy.

So, Code red to Centrecomm (Transport for London central bus operations radio desk), tell them what's happened, and then onto the iBus desk at the depot (our radio desk) to tell them what's occurred as well.

So I was then instructed to get my now not-passenger-safe bus to another point up-route (running empty, of course, and when I got there, I decided to take the photos you see on the left) where they can get another replacement bus to me.

Now, you may be wondering why we had to take it out of service, with only a small smack like that?


Unfortunately, you can't see it in the photo (poor lighting and no flash on the phone's camera), but there's a MASSIVE crack in that dint leading right up to the upper corner, the danger being the first low twig (or really hard air, for all I know, what the heck, it's the health and safety rules) to hit it causing the glass to completely shatter, hence the bus was now unsafe for carrying passengers.

Ye bleeding gods. That had to be some kind of record! THREE buses before I'd even SEEN a punter on the platform! There were definitely gonna some rather unhappy punters out there at the beginning of the night, that was for certain!

Blame the idiot with the bottle, folks, that's why your first night bus was cut last night.

Anyhow, the rest of the night was OK, nothing special, until they closed Regent Street for the "Taste Of Spain" themed event, and it was "do you go to Oxford Street?" ad nausium. Nope, we terminated at Piccadilly, just like it said on the front of the bus, as Regent Street was closed.

Y'know, coupled with the events earlier in the shift, it's a wonder that (a) I didn't have another heart attack from repeatedly dealing with the serial-moron-when-boozed-up fools out there, or (b) strangle one of them in punishment for offences to stupidity (making the stupid look clever being the specific charge).


Two days off now. I think I'm gonna need them ;)

Well, well, well. Look what's happened.

Why am I not surprised?

TomTom version 7 for Windows Smartphones and Windows PDAs has now been released as a retail package. Note the version number: 7.

Only one major problem, folks:
Version 7 is already obsolete.
The current version on the TomTom Personal Navigation Devices is version 8.

Also, the retail price is £89.95. There's cheaper satnav packages out there, granted without a lot of the bells and whistles already on TT v6, let alone v7, but they're getting there, and UNLIKE TomTom, most of those manufacturers actually DO listen to their customers. iGo is a case in point, as is McGuider, and others.

TT shot themselves in the head over a YEAR ago, which was the moment they said they weren't going to release v7 as a retail package and/or as an upgrade to licenced users. That's what put me off buying TT ever again, and to hell with them. They honked me right off with their "we know better than you lot, we're releasing PNDs now, and stuff you PDA users" attitude.

So, now the credit crunch is biting their oversized European backsides, they wanna try to curry favour with us PDA users? Nuts to that (far too mild a term for how I feel, but this is PG rated, so there we go!). There's an old Biblical term they need to remember:

"As Ye Sow, So Shall Ye Reap".

There're other quotes I could add as well, but I'm running out of salt to stuff in the wound!

POSTSCRIPT: Seems the number of "Supported Devices" is pretty limited as well, as they only developed drivers for a small handful of current devices. So much for marketability!