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Wednesday, 15 December 2010

In praise of London bus drivers

London buses 'done brill' last week, by common consensus. As Southeastern trains gave up at the first flake of snow, it was the bus companies who carried tens of thousand of additional passengers to their suburban homes. The word on the platform is that this was mostly due to the bus companies threatening the sack to any bus driver who failed to pitch up for work, whilst the cosseted train drivers could curl back up in their duvets and throw a 'snow day' without penalty at the first snowflake. Everyone's expecting Southeastern to collapse again tomorrow, as staff anticipate the weather to get their Chrimbo shopping, and bugger the passengers. Every one seems to agree that the only way to get Southeastern trains working is to hand it over to the bus companies. 

Every so often on a bus, a thuggish and threatening (and most times black) sociopath boards, and profers an inactive Oyster card to the reader with a snarl at the driver, then walks through. It's a brave driver who kills his engine, calls the police on his radio and relies on his plexiglas cab to protect him from psycopathic violence. But some do. Many more value their lives over London Transport's balance sheet, and let the evil bastards get away with it. When one such sociopath powerful bully was cornered today by mass police checking bus tickets, he pulled his blade and slashed a plod's throat in fury. I reckon bus drivers have more work related stress than I do, and that's saying something. 

Today's London bus drivers can't drive for shit and I'll bet some of them have problems speaking English. They work long hours for low pay and move millions of legitimate Londoners as well as tooled-up thugs and sociopaths. They're every race and colour you can imagine, and gals and guys both. I don't think they should be paid more, or work shorter hours, or get free PTSD counselling, nor that their jobs should not be subject to harsh attendance conditions or easy dismissal. I do, though, recommend that we tip our hats to them. When the pussyfied train drivers give up, they'll be getting us and our workforces to and from work, and all respect to them.       


Angus Duncan said...

I don't expect anything different from a Tory blogger.

'pussyfied' - really? No. The ice covered the 3rd which provides power to the traction motors. Therefore the trains couldn't take power of they tried.

The bus drivers had every right not to turn up if the conditions were that severe, a good union rep would have fought any sacking for not turning up for work with some ease.

Anyway, you've got nothing compared to the 18inches of snow I had last week.

Woodsy42 said...

Actually if they are that good, and do a basically horrible job well, maybe they would have support for, and be justified in asking for, better pay and conditions. Rather them that the EU bureaucrats perhaps?

Budgie said...

With due respect, Angus Duncan, that is statist twaddle. Track and train operators should be prepared for adverse weather conditions. Funnily enough in the winter you should expect snow and ice, and provide suitable de-icing equipment to cope.

As for the bus drivers I am glad they continue thumbing their noses at "union reps", just as my father did when he drove a London bus during the general strike.

Anonymous said...

O/T But I heard about the Scottish venison dealer who is going out of business due to 'AGW'(polite)- why not kill one less and use Rudolph and a sleigh to deliver?
to mix it up, surely it's 'horses for courses :-)

Robert said...

The obvious conclusion is that we should tarmac the railways which are so Victorian and hugely expensive.

Rossa said...

The trains couldn't take power only because Southeastern had sent two of their de-icing engines to the maintenance yard right in the middle of severe weather conditions that had been forecasted well in advance.

Angus Duncan said...

Track operators are responsible for de-icing. Therefore SouthEastern cannot and will not (even if they could) run deicing trains.

Bring back British Rail!

selsey.steve said...

I note that the North Yorkshire Moors preserved railway ran special trains so that the gricers could get "Steam in Snow" shots without any problems at all.

Anonymous said...

The bus drivers, fair play to them, turned up when they realised getting to work to enable others get to work was worth the effort. Hopefully their management will see fit to invest in winter tyres for all their vehicles for next winter and, maybe, even throw in a winter driving coarse for them; would be more cost effective in the long run than reparing/recovering their crashed or stranded assets.

The South East's railway industry is not wimping out: they are just taking the piss. Management and workers know that if they adopt a common excuse, drivers still get paid; wages and season ticket fares are pocketed without having to provide the service.