Professional Drivingp (public transport)

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Professional Drivingp (public transport)

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Review of "Professional Drivingp (public transport)"

published 10/07/2001 | headgardener
Member since : 07/02/2001
Reviews : 57
Members who trust : 11
About me :
Super
Pro Better quality of life. Safe confident competent driving of larger vehicles
Cons Lousy shifts, awkward customers
very helpful

"A life on the buses"

Let me start by stating that this profession is not every females cup of tea, but i like it.

Whether you use the bus regularly or just once in a while, there are many factors relating to the transportation of the public by operators in the business.

My experience of bus drivers had not been a very pleasant one until recently.
I became one.

In order to qualify to drive a public service vehicle the prospective driver must first undertake several tasks as dictated by the governing body.(Driving Licensing Authority)
Initially a theory test must be sat and passed with at least 30 out of 35 answers correctly answered.
Upon completion of the theory test a form is completed and soon after, an appointment for a medical will wing it’s way to you.

The theory test costs under £20

Upon completing the medical and passing, the driver is then permitted to drive under instruction according to the provisional entitlement allowed on their licence.

That is where the fun begins.

Have you ever driven something as large as half a house around a crowded city?
You haven’t, I am surprised!!!.
An average single decker bus is about 40 ft long, 8ft wide and stands approximately 10ft high.A double decker has similar dimensions but stands around 14-15 ft high.

After learning the basics, you are permitted to drive on the road with your instructor close at hand.

Lesson from an approved centre can set you back a fortune though.
I was lucky enough to be offered training through the local bus company, whose rates are normally around £29 per hour.

It never ceased to amaze me how many people walk out on novice drivers who are obviously new to driving such large vehicles, and are driving a coach adorned with several L plates.
Nor can I believe the amount of drivers that feel that it is their lives one desire to chop up the driver, or to scream obscenities at them.

For weeks you will practice, practice, practice, and hopefully achieve the highest standard of driving required in order to pass the stringent examination.
Even then you might blow it all.
The actual test is so difficult to pass; it is proven to be the hardest test with the highest standards required to do so.
Only when you have passed the practical test are you permitted to actually drive a large vehicle solo.

The practical test costs around £75.

Not only are there the rigorous tests to be achieved there are other essential factors to be learned and practiced.

In order to do this job properly you have to be articulate with figures and have a certain way with the public.

The ticket machine functions need to be mastered, as do routes, and the destination blinds.

A new driver will receive approximately 2 weeks on the road and in service instruction before they are let loose on the public.

Before a driver leaves the depot he/she, must inspect the vehicle to ensure that there are no defects.
If hailed by a ministry official and faults discovered, the operator will only be informed, the driver will be prosecuted.

The driver has no control over the timings of routes, nor the amount charged by the operator.
They do, however have control over how the customers are treated and will usually try to ensure that the customer arrives at their destination after a comfortable and safe ride.

There are certainly disadvantages for both the passengers and driver.

In a perfect world every bus would run on schedule, and would suit everyone’s pockets. But, unfortunately this is the real world, where you will always find a miserable driver, and a sullen passenger, but I do try to ensure that good eye contact is made whenever possible, even when the customer is moaning about the timetable.
I politely thank them for waiting, and apologise for the delay that seems to dispel any ill feeling and the journey continues.

Incidentally in order for a bus or coach firm to continue to renew their passenger carrying licence they must account for any “lost” journeys (abandoned routes, due to scheduling) I am sure that the people who time the routes do so on a motorbike at 4am in the morning, often setting impossible goals for the drivers to achieve.

The buses in Plymouth do generally run on schedule with a couple of exceptions, which are nigh on impossible to complete on time.

Drivers of smaller vehicles often seem oblivious to the fact that a large vehicle not only needs longer times to brake, the are also far slower to accelerate.
Many are restricted to 56mph, which is fine in the city, but be aware that many have a hard time achieving 40mph let alone the higher limit.
In order to manoeuvre the vehicle around bends and parked cars it has to be steered in such a way as to avoid the obstacles.

A buses weight is increased by around a tonne for every 15 passengers carried.

Buses in general are far more comfortable these days with the advent of the kneeling bus, which lowers the floor to allow easy access for pushchairs, and wheelchairs, which can be simply pushed onto the bus unfolded with its occupants in their seats.

Our firm uses Mercedes minibuses for the smaller less busy routes, which do not currently accomodate wheelchairs, but according to European law will have to compliant by 2017.Any new vehicle bought after 2007 will have to be equipped with a ramp and a facility for disabled passengers to be seated on the bus in their chair.

They are cleaner and kinder to the environment.

There is one difference however, gone are the days of the conductor taking the fares, now the driver takes the fares and drives the bus as well, requiring them to have to learn more skills and do more in the same amount of time as it used to take two people to do the job.

The bus drivers have to run to a schedule and pick up passengers in the meantime, attempting to appease any disgruntled passengers that they may come across.

I am not trying to make excuses for the more miserable drivers out there because there are plenty of them where I work.
Many of the drivers have forgotten the lessons that they learned whilst under instruction, which is unfortunate.

One thing that I have noticed is the amount of people that think that Bus lane means unlimited waiting, and that Bus stop means Car park.

Nothing would make me happier than to run on time every time and be greeted by a happy smiling driver or customer every time.

There is something that you as a concientious passenger could do for the driver.
I like to have more than 1 seconds notice of a passenger wanting to embark/disembark.
Not only is rapid slowing uncomfortable for the other passengers, on occasion it could be deemed as downright dangerous
The correct change is nice, but not always practical, however, many bus companies now decline £20 notes as forgeries are rife.

According to Union rules drivers are not permitted to "help" passengers on and off the bus for fear of litigation should something untoward happen, nor are they permitted to allow a passenger to get off their vehicle anywhere other than a designated bus stop for the same reasons.

In an average depot the ratio of women to men drivers is around 1 to 10.
I do accept that this job has previously been deemed as a "mans" job, but the times are a changing, and personally without trying to sound like a feminist, a woman can do the job equally as well.

A driver can expect to earn anything from £5+ per hour for standard stage carriage work depending on the size of the vehicle driven rising to around £10 p/h, more if you are lucky!!

A real downside however is the antisocial hours and the token bad tempered customer or two!!

I enjoy my job, and hope that if you happen to visit Plymouth one of these sunny days you may have the pleasure of travelling on my bus.

Ding ding tickets please.


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Comments on this review

  • danthepianoman published 02/03/2006
    Liked the review, but it is just not my idea of a perfect job! Maybe know that 5 years have passed (well, nearly) you could perhaps re-write it with some more current and up-to-date stuff.
  • dogscoff published 16/07/2001
    A nice, straightforward opinion with lots of relevent information. My girlfriend is looking at different careers at the moment. I don't think she enjoys driving enough to do your job but it's nice to see a good career opinion. Thanks.
  • Connoisseur_Haggler1 published 10/07/2001
    A very interesting and useful opinion..I must admit I am amazed at how well some of the bus drivers (men or women!) handle the buses round tight corners! I think this would be an invaluable exam to take for anyone as it most defintely would improve driving and parking skills in the city! (I also admire long distance lorry drivers I assume that is a completelyt different driving test.)well done.
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Product Information : Professional Drivingp (public transport)

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Listed on Ciao since: 10/07/2001