Hello and welcome to my Blog, my name is Chris, a bus driver for First Mendip based in Wells, Somerset. Married to Fiona, we live in Midsomer Norton near Bath, with Harvey the dog and Boots the cat. My main hobby is Amateur Radio and I hold the call sign G4KVI. I am the repeater keeper for GB3UB and MB7UB. I have a fascination for the weather and all things to do with nature and science. I am a biker and currently ride a Honda CBfF600. As a Christian I worship, when shifts allow at St. Nicolas Church in Radstock. These are my observations on my life, both at work and at home.

23 Jun 2010

Buggies and Shopping Trolleys

One thing you will notice if you use a bus is that there are people with buggies and shopping trolleys. Despite what some people think buses do not have unlimited floor space. I have recently had mothers with buggies which are larger than a wheelchair trying to get on a non low floor bus.This is not possible unless they fold them up as having the aisle blocked is not allowed. This results in at times abuse from said people. I am told 'I am only going 1 stop' (why not walk) or 'I cannot fold it' (how does it get in a car?) or 'why is there not more room' or the best one outside a school at finishing time 'why is this bus always full' What people seem unable to grasp is that if  there was a buggy /trolley blocking the aisle and a fire broke out  I am sure that despite people being unable to get out the driver would be thanked for letting the lady with the buggy on. These problems can be avoided with a little forward planning. If you have a buggy and are going to use a bus be prepared to fold it. Check if it is a 'low floor route' and perhaps if possible plan to catch a slightly earlier or latter bus to miss the rush. Please do not shout at the driver, it is his/her responsibility to ensure the passenger safety and that takes priority over every thing else.

20 Jun 2010

Three Month update

Ok, it is now three months since the motorcycle accident. Pretty much back to normal now able to walk without much of a limp and over any ground. The only problem I have is some swelling and some pain. The pain is not too bad and easily controlled with Paracetamol or Ibuprofen. I thought I was working today and tomorrow but appears I got it wrong. Will have to double check my duties to make sure I turn up at the correct times! So for the first time in a long time things seem to be going my way. ankle

19 Jun 2010

Webcam

Busy day. Sorted the bike brakes out. They were very spongy so did a complete fluid change and they seem a lot better. Also changed the oil and gave it a good clean so looking a little more respectable. Also been playing with a web-cam. Was trying to get it to up load to Weather Underground but failed. However I have managed to get it on the web. You can view it at Midsomer Norton Webcam

17 Jun 2010

A car, three trains and a bus

Very nice day today. Fiona has gone to Torquay line dancing and I said I would take her down to test out my long distance driving. Left a little bit latter than planned so stopped on the way for lunch. Car and ankle survived the trip down and after checking in we had a walk down to the sea front. It wonderful to be able to walk along the seafront. It has now been exactly three months since I arrived in the RUH after the accident. We had a look in a few shops and picked up a few items in the pound shop, the main one being a multi tool, ideal to have in the works bag.The time came to make my way home. I get discounted travel on First trains so decided to do that. First part was from Torquay to Exeter St David. The problem was that the ticket office is not manned so I took a risk that I could buy on the train. The trip is fantastic, it goes for most of the way right along the sea front. The only problem was that it was school time and the train was full. No problems and I enjoyed the journey through places like Dawlish and Teignmouth. Arrived in Exeter St David and not knowing where I was going asked a member of staff. They pointed me to platform 5 and the train would be in 10 minutes. It turned out to be a Virgin train and I panicked a bit as I have a First pass. I asked the Virgin Inspector and he confirmed I could travel on the train. As it pulled away the announcement came that the train was going to Leeds!!! However it was via Bristol Temple Meads.  Arrived with 10 minutes to wait and off the Bath. Arrived in time to get the 1910 173 to home. Arrived back at home at around 1945 which is just over 3 hours door to door.

 

15 Jun 2010

Good News

Busy day today. Appointment with the physiotherapy department at Paulton and an appointment at the RUH, First one went well, ankle is progressing well and have a lot more movement in it. I still need to keep up the exercises but good news is that they have discharged me. Ten off to the RUH. X-Ray and then a chat with the Doctor. he was very pleased with the progress. he said I could have the metal work removed if I found feeling it through the skin a problem. I cannot see a problem at the moment but at least I have the option. Anyway they do not need to see me again so again discharged. I even have a copy of the X-Ray!
Continuing with the good news, my new weather station arrived today and I am once again able to monitor the local weather. If you wish you can see the data on this blog or more detailed data at http://www.midsomernorton.bravehost.com/gauges.htm

13 Jun 2010

Delightful views

One advantage of bus work is that I get the opportunity to drive through some very nice areas. The 272 goes from Bath to Devizes At the moment this has a deversion which take the route through Rowde. it also goes past the Caen Hill Locks. Although I have been to Devizes I have never seen these locks. They are very impressive and if the weather stays good I hope to go and walk up them this week. Another nice route is the 265/264 this goes to Warminister via Bradford upon Avon and Trowbridge.This is a very tight route in places especially through Winsley. I will try and take some photos next time I do these routes.

11 Jun 2010

Took the words out of my mouth

I found this on  http://omnibuses.blogspot.com/2010/06/from-company-postbag.html   It made me smile!

From the Company Postbag

And from the Inbox. Just goes to show you can’t please all the people, all the time. Some comments are, of course, better directed to the local transport authority but then again the public hasn’t yet grasped it’s been over 20 years since deregulation & privatisation.
What’s the point of your buses? I never see anyone on them.
Why don’t you put on a double deck or a following over the summer for the good weather and children off school?

Your buses never take a direct route and always go all around the houses.
How dare you withdraw the bus along *my* street just to save five minutes and make the bus quicker for everyone else.
Your bus is too long for my street. Why don’t you use something smaller?
I can’t get on you bus at five o’clock. Get something bigger, will you.

Why does the driver have to hang around at every bus stop waiting for time? Can’t you make the timetable quicker?
You must know that emergency roadworks spring up all the time. You really should design your timetables for these eventualities. Now, I’ve missed my appointment.
It’s unfair you don’t provide more buggy space for young mothers. Why should we have to wait for the next bus or fold our pushchairs?
I resent having to stand because your buses have so much space taken up for buggies.
Your divers are so rude. They never say anything to you when you board the bus.
Why can’t your drivers simply get on and *drive*? Chatting nicely to passengers as they board simply holds us all up.
I pay my council tax like everyone else. Why are you even thinking of withdrawing my bus?
The amount of subsidy you must get from the public purse is ridiculous. You should not run empty buses.
The bus fare is too high. After all, I’m not trying to buy the bus.
Don’t tell me to go and buy a season ticket. I only use the bus occasionally.
It makes no sense to run buses that no one is using. Buses with so few people should be withdrawn to save money.
I know few people use my bus but we’re always being encouraged to use public transport to save the environment so you can’t cut it.
Why are your buses so expensive? When I catch a bus in London, not only are they much more frequent, they’re better value and run later.
Do everything to keep my council tax as low as possible.
You should protect drivers more from abuse and attack by providing an assault screen.
Those screens are ridiculous. How can you talk to the driver or ask him a question? It makes him so remote.
At night, you should withdraw buses permanently where drivers are prone to attack.
Now there’s no evening bus, I’m trapped in my home. I’m too scared to walk.
All young people do on the bus is run around, shout, swear and play their music.
There’s nothing for young people to do around here unless they travel somewhere else, on the bus.
I can’t afford to pay more than £1 return to get my child to school.
What do you mean, you’re withdrawing the school double decker. Surely, it must pay with all those children on it.
The trouble with the school journey is there’s a different driver every day. Little wonder the pupils play up. They need the same driver all the time.
I’m worried that the same driver on my daughter’s school bus day in day out means he’s being “inappropriate” with her.
I don’t like going upstairs any more because of all the anti-social behaviour up there. I prefer to stand downstairs.
Since you’ve replaced double decks with singles, young people push past us and older people are regularly left standing or behind at their stop.
When are you ever going to invest in new buses for this route?
I wish you hadn’t bought those new buses. They’re uncomfortable compared to the plusher seats on the older ones.
It’s about time you provided a shelter at this busy stop.
Please remove the shelter you’ve recently installed. The young people in the evening make my life a misery.
It’s no good the council providing me with a bus pass if you lot won’t give me a bus.
Your buses are so full of older people I can no longer find a seat.
What’s the point in sending the buses to the retail park after shopping hours when there’s no one going to use them?
Since you’ve stopped buses running to the retail park after shopping hours, I find the timetable confusing and I can’t get home after my cleaning shift.

5 Jun 2010

Time

One main difference between coach work and bus work (stage carriage) is  the timing points. On the coach they are mainly more than 30 mins between points against 5-10 minutes on bus work. The times are set for an average journey time that seems to be based on a worse case scenario. ( wet school day). This means you are often running early. By that I mean arriving at a stop and having to 'wait your time' This is rather nice for the driver, time to read the paper, speak to passengers as they board etc. However passengers can get a bit annoyed as they think the driver is being awkward. An example of this was on the no 5. I left a point a little late and due to the lack of passengers arrived at the next point early. I waited my time and loaded a few passengers. As I approached a stop the bell went and a passenger wanted to get off before the stop as I had made him late as I had waited at the stop. I explained the situation. His answer was 'why could you have not left the last stop late?'. It took me a while to realise what he has said. Obviously if I ran early and he missed the bus that would have been fine! As the saying says, 'you can please some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time'

My weather data