|A Stagecoach driver hard at work in Keswick!|
It could be said that if a bus driver is doing his or her job well you don't really notice them. A bus journey is, after all, a routine affair and bus travel is something we do day-in, day-out without really thinking about it other than on the odd occasion when things go wrong. You get on, pay your fare, sit down...and then when you get to your destination, ring the bell and alight.
But it seems that many people do actually notice their driver and some of them have been getting in touch with the Bus Users' Group to tell us what they think. And it seems that they like what they see: the Group has received several unsolicited testimonials concerning local bus drivers and Christmas seems as good a time as any to share them with you. So here they are:
"All our drivers are nice and helpful" (passenger on the no. 10 to the Ridge)
"On the whole, the local drivers are a good bunch" (passenger from Scotforth)
"This driver is an extremely helpful person. Her anxiety about this matter (the state of the ungritted roads during icy weather last week) was prompted not only by personal inconvenience, but by the well-being of her passengers" (passenger on the no.18 to Williamson Park)
"The drivers of the buses I use are patient and helpful, even when they are busy" (passenger from Bowerham)
Some passengers even know their drivers by name:
"J****" and "B**" are simply the best. Brilliant drivers who go the extra mile to make our bus journeys that much better" (regular passenger on the 81 to Kirkby Lonsdale)
Not just the drivers...
We've yet to hear from the drivers what they think of us passengers (!) but we hope they realise we appreciate the job they do. A recent report stated that a typical bus driver is thanked 37 times a day for doing his job, which is five times more often than the average worker. That was a national survey and all we can say is that there must be a lot of ungrateful passengers elsewhere in the country because it seems to us that the average Lancaster bus driver is likely to be thanked 37 times per trip!
The same survey showed that four-fifths of passengers claim that they thank their bus driver. An unscientific survey by the BUG confirms this and also that there is no difference between different ages or types of passengers - we are all equally grateful. It can be especially touching to see parents teaching young children to say "thank you" when alighting, to ensure the tradition continues.
Bus drivers have a lot to contend with in their daily job (your author knows from experience!) and passengers' journeys can be stressful and unpleasant when things go wrong, But it seems that Lancaster passengers at least do appreciate their drivers and we hope the reverse is true!
Merry Christmas to one and all!