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.

20 Mar 2012

Thinking on your feet

Most of the time driving a bus is fairly straightforward. You drive down a road you know, a bus you know and even passengers you know. So apart from weather, traffic etc you tend not to take much interest in the area you drive. However, every now and then a situation arises that forces you to think and act in an 'out of the box way'. Monday was one of those days. I had the 319 to Cribbs Causeway I like this route and until Parkway Station had been uneventful. As I approached Parkway the traffic stopped, I managed to fight my way to the bus lane and got into the station. The traffic had still not moved much so I assumed it was an accident. Leaving the station I saw two of our vehicles at the side of the road and I thought the worse. I pulled up behind them and saw that the cause of the hold up was the road towards Cribbs was closed with Police carrying out accident investigation work. This is never good to see, one, because someone is very badly hurt or worse, and two, it can mean the road is closed for hours.
So we now had a situation where we had three buses with passengers wanting to go to Cribbs.'Can't you go another way?' was the question. Well yes but which way? This is where you have to contact the Traffic office and seek advice. they have to check width, height, weight restrictions. It turned out that the only way out of this was a long detour back the way we came. Having sorted the route what to do with the passengers. Out of the tree buses I was the only one with enough time so I took all the passengers off to Cribbs. At Cribbs the situation was interesting as very few buses had got there many passengers were stranded. I decided to take any one going beyond Parkway. This worked well and a few others came along as they could be dropped off along the way. I was displaying 'Not In Service' so would not normally stop on the way. However, the situation dictated that I stop and enquire where waiting passengers were going. This resulted in some very relieved passengers getting to their destination. Back on time at Downend a passenger boarded and said my doors were broken. They were correct as I discovered the air working the doors had failed. The procedure for this is to take the bus to the depot empty as you can not have passengers on with open doors. However, I had about twenty elderly passengers who were going to Kingswood. So the 'procedure' used here is to move the passengers as far down the bus and drop them at a safe stop which in this case was their destination. A some say driving a bus is boring.

12 Mar 2012

A Reminder?

Busy weekend with the Bath Half marathon yesterday. This is the first time I have worked during this event and it was very interesting to see the other side of the event. There was a change in road closure times which lead to a couple of interesting exchange of views with marshals. I was not driving during the race and was based in the Bus Station ensuring passengers found their bus. There were some very annoyed people so seemed unaware of the marathon. You do have to wonder how someone living in the city could have missed the signs which have been on  nearly every lamppost since January. As a result of all this I arrived home completely shattered. Woke up this morning feeling very ill, my first thoughts was the big 'M' making a return so a trip to the doctors. It seems that I had just got very tired and it was my brain and body reminding me how ill I had been. Very restful day and back to work tomorrow.

4 Mar 2012

How to use the Bus

Had a complaint from a passenger that I had not stopped at the stop they were waiting at. They also complained that the bus behind had not stopped either. I informed them that they had not signalled me to stop. The comment that came back amazed me ' why should I put my hand out?' Well the fact that at least two buses passed them would suggest other wise. However, it did occur to me that more and more people are using the bus who have never used one before so that may be a reason. However, if you are new to something is it not a good idea to try and find as much information before hand?

My company has a answer to this and I have copied their handy 'How to Use the Bus' information. It is shown below.


If you're travelling by bus throughout the country, this simple step-by-step guide will help make your journey as easy as possible.
If you have any questions please contact us.
1
Plan your journey - To plan your journey, simply go to journey planning section. Find the service number you need and the timetable for your bus will be worked out for you. You can then print this for the service or just the stops you need.
2
Choose a ticket - We offer a range of tickets to suit different types of trips, whether you are travelling every day or just once a month. Details are available in our Tickets section. Day and lower value tickets can be bought on the bus from the driver. Season tickets are best purchased before you travel and are available at local outlets or you can buy online - (Opens in a new window).
3
Locate the correct bus stop - Bus service numbers are generally displayed on bus stop signs or on the timetable panel. Services can be displayed together, so check the sign for your service number. Each bus stop has a code, by texting this code to 84268 you will receive details on the next buses due at the stop. Or find your bus stop at www.traveline.org.uk - (Opens in a new window).

Catching your bus

4
Signal the bus to stop - As the bus approaches, check the route number and destination displayed on the front of the bus. Raise your arm as a signal to the driver that you want the bus to stop.
5
Buying your ticket - If you are unsure which ticket you need, just ask the driver who will be happy to advise you which ticket is best for your journey. Having the correct fare available will help reduce delays when getting on the bus.
6
When you want to get off - Simply press the bell once, as you approach the stop where you want to get off, stay seated until the bus stops. If you are unsure where your bus stops ask the driver for help when you get on the bus.

Easy access, comfort & safety

To make it easier for you to get on and off, most buses can lower their suspension. Special seating areas are available on many of our buses for passengers who are disabled, elderly or using a buggy. Please bear in mind that special seating areas can get full at busy times of the day.

3 Mar 2012

Pictures


 Here are some pictures I took on my travels around Bath while on the '2' route.

View from the stop at Engsleigh


Looking towards the Abbey

A slightly closer view of the Abbey

So what are these for?

'New' bus today and it had some strange 'additions'












It is a while since I have driven a bus with these extras but after a few minutes it all came back. Including the lack of syncromesh between 2nd and 3rd!!

My weather data