Thursday, 21 January 2010

Wake up and smell the ******* coffee!

Some mornings, I sincerely wonder if the survival instinct is actually hard-wired into some folks...

I got up, for a change, feeling reasonably refreshed. Probably something to do with the day off yesterday... Anyhow... Got into work, got my bus, did all the checks, took it to the stand at the western end of the route and, not two minutes after entering service, everything almost went pear-shaped.

Here's a handy hint: Stop before you enter a roundabout - in the UK that's the rule - see the highway code. It'll tell you the same thing.

Not this great brainless bleep - she came on full tilt, damn the torpedoes - and damn the bus that bloody damn near had her as a bonnet ornament! The only reson she's still alive, and not wearing 12.7 tonnes of bus, are my reactions on the brake pedal and a - for a change of late - dry road surface. That and not having any passengers, who add to braking distances (15 passengers is another tonne of mass), and you might realise that she's probably very lucky to be alive.

And they said Blakey ("On The Buses") was hated...!

Anyhow, having done my first round, it was breakfast time in the café at the western stand. Where I spied this character (Photo, left).

Note the electronic device to his right.

This chap is known as a "QSI", or Quality Service Inspector. These are the people hired by TfL to monitor the performance of our routes, by noting the time, route number, destination blind setting, bus running number, and so on, each time a bus passes the location they're watching.

Think of them as professional tittle-tattle merchants.

A while back, all they'd have was a pencil, paper, and a watch, to note all of us down. However, many of them, so I've been told over the years, didn't do that accurate - or allegedly truthful - a job, hence the device this guy has. It records everything for him at the touch of a couple of buttons, and all he has to do at the end of the day is plug it into a data terminal or computer, and upload the data from it to TfL. Couple this with the new iBus system that notes our positions by GPS, and there's the doublecheck system at work. We tend not, now, to worry overly about these folks - a year or two back, their reports'd have the potential to lose a company a route, even if the company had been doing everything right. Now, such decisions have to be confirmed by checking against iBus GPS records, before any route can be reallocated away from any given company.

So, while we still don't really like these folks, at least their figures are being kept honest!

Can I claim Injury at Work, Guv?

There I was, doing my last round this afternoon, when I spied an unfamiliar person in the driving seat of one of my routes' buses - the double take I performed would've made any hollywood actor proud. Problem is that I damn near dislcated my neck doing it. Why? The person driving that bus was one of our garage inspectors!


They actually CAN work!

Lord, am I gonna catch it in the neck tomorrow if they read this today! What the hell, it's all in jest, after all

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