Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Oh ho... here we go again!

So... Snow on the ground... And I still got into work... Dammit :(

So... On my first round, during the second trip, a driver from another bus company, who'd been following my bus down the road stopped me, and told me that my bus just lost all brake lights.

Oh joy.

So, I radioed control, and gave them the wonderful news. It took ten - 10 - tries for them to understand what I was on about, of course. Then the engineers phoned me on my mobile. Was I sure they weren't working? Yes, says I. Can I confirm this with someone else? Well, as luck would have it, a PCSO was passing just then, so she was able to confirm the problem. So it was then a question of waiting for the engineer to come from the depot, and probably change a fuse (I was writing this as I waited. turns out that they substituted the bus about three-quarters of an hour later, which made things a little simpler!)

So, I then sent a text to my route controller (as it happens, a good mate in the firm) with the bad news. He sent a text back "use hand signals, lol". Charming! So I respond that 'The Bird' probably won't go down too well!

What does the sarcastic wotsit send back?

You guessed it.

"tweet tweet"!

Later, after my meal break...

This was the scene on the roads after my meal break. This is at around 4.30pm, and as you can see, it was snowing rather hard, and the traffic was slower than dead slow, it was on occasion, completely stopped through motorists with no snow or ice training - or experience base to draw upon - making simple errors and spinning their vehicles. Add to this, we'd not seen a gritting truck in over an hour, either, and you'll understand when I say that the roads were as slick as... well, something coming from a runny nose, to put it politely. The road surface was practically lethal, to be blunt.

It appeared to be giving the company a fair amount of concern as well. We were all cut short on the route, so as to avoid getting stuck up a particularly steep hill - or losing control coming down it, more to the point, I suspect.

Personally, I'd have preferred being told to stuff all services, and take the bus back to the depot, but a certain bunch up in London called TfL obviously decided otherwise. Probably to avoid the Mayor being blamed like he was last February, when stuff all could use the roads for over a day.

Might interest you to know that we heard of many slow-speed and thus minor collisions - not all involving buses, thankfully - over the course of the afternoon - most occurring during the snow fall you see in the photo.

Now, I'm a professional driver, and I WAS scared practically muckless a few times that round (in other words, I was on occasion defecating masonry) - I was certainly bloody worried the rest of that round, I can tell you. That was definitely the most tiring - from a nerves - trip I've ever driven in my life. God alone knows how the amateur drivers out there felt, but I dare say it was a damn sight similar to my feelings on the topic.

Boris, if you're reading this, wake the hell up, and think of the safety aspect, willya?

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