Saturday, 6 June 2009

None so blind - or nasty.

OK, this happened in the middle of my shift last night, right after my lunch break, while I was in central London.

One of the bus stops is hooded, that is, not in service. An in service stop looks similar to the example on the left. Out of service, the example on the right.

One young man was waiting at the bus stop, under the shelter (it was raining), and wanted to get on the bus. No problem you might think. Wrong.

The bus stop was hooded, and out of use. Why? it was smack dab in the middle of where the central reservation was being dug up, and there was only one carriage way available. So, London Buses staff (called Network Traffic Controllers or NTCs) had placed what is called a "Dolly Stop" (a temporary bus stop) not twenty metres before the regular stop, for the convenience of waiting passengers, and hooded the original stop. The NTC responsible for the hooding had also, for the convenience of those who never look up at bus stop flags, plastered massive yellow "Bus stop not in use" stickers on the timetable spaces as well.

So. I'd served the dolly stop, closed the doors, and moved off, and chummy decided to stick his arm out. No way can I stop, it'd block the traffic and the box junction behind he to boot, so I carry on, much to his displeasure. So much so, in fact, that he kicked the door, and the side of the bus. Of course he got caught on camera doing this - both on the bus-borne system, and the Westminster CCTV system that ALWAYS seems to be looking at that bus stop (there have been other problems at that stop, hence the CCTV coverage). Not that this occurred to him, of course, and not that it helped me any at the time, really.

Well, I'm not about to stop for some half-wit unobservant and probably unemployed wotsit who boots buses, so I thought stuff him and his boots, and carried on to the next set of traffic lights.

Blow me down if chummy doesn't spring past on foot and leg it to the next stop.

Here we go, thinks I.

Yup. Next stop, guess who's there, red of face, steam of ear, attitude of face, etc.

He promptly storms on and yells at me all manner of rubbish about me "not serving the stop". I pointed out politely what the yellow hood was all about, and where the dolly stop was sited, and that that I had, in fact, served the dolly stop.

Shouldn't've bothered. Out came the insults on my being a "****ing ***** with no prospects so got on the buses and can't even do that right" and then the normally obligatory death threats from him. "I'm gonna **** you up and **** you dead you ****" etc. Charming. Pity there's no audio on the on-bus CCTV, it'd make for excellent police evidence. ho hum.

Anyhow, I'd had more than enough at this point, so called code red, requested immediate Police help, and described what was going on. And noticed, probably like tofu for brains, the cop van not fifty yards down the road, because he then shot off the bus and up the road at near supersonic speed in the opposite direction. job done, he's gone, so I cancel the Police, thank Centrecomm, and get going.

Thing is, this kind of thing happens every day to London Bus Drivers. It shouldn't happen, but it does - for no other reason than the fool delivering the abuse (etc) not actually using his bloody eyes to see what the cause of the problem is, rather than jumping to the wrong conclusion and going on a very nasty rant.

How many of the buggers that threaten us, abuse us, and generally need a lobotomy with a rusty spoon, actually get nicked for the crap we get given by them? Precious few, sad to say.

I suppose that I should point out that this is the sort of thing that we London Bus drivers each see/experience maybe one or twice a year; we'd rather never see it at all, of course. Never the less, let's hope things change for the better before one of those over-ego-equipped anger-management-deficient idiots actually carries out their insane threats, and murders a bus driver who's doing his job properly.


And I STILL didn't match five numbers and two stars on the bloody Euro Lottery last night, so it's back to work again tonight, dammit (mutter mutter etc).

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