Wednesday, May 17, 2006

In a hurry? Make sure your bus is late.

More than once I've been on a bus heading into the centre of Bristol and everything appears to be running extremely smoothly. But then, one stop away from "the centre", the driver waits for ages and ages before setting off to complete the final few yards of the journey.

I asked a driver in this situation what he thought he was doing... for once he had the chance to arrive in good time?

He explained that they're not allowed to arrive early. Unbelieveable. Having zoomed happily down unusually empty roads all the way along the route, he was now afraid that he might be punished if an inspector saw him driving ahead of schedule. So we had to sit for about 15 minutes, doing absolutely nothing. Inefficiency at its most ridiculous and frustrating.

The same thing happens heading out of town on an X (express) service. We belt up the M32. "What a good idea to have an express route" the passengers are all thinking. Then, at UWE, the bus stops for almost 20 minutes, before proceeding to Parkway Station.

The timetables are written with hours of slack to allow the service to be called "on time" when the traffic is heavy and slow. So when all is smooth - instead of enjoying a journey in good time - the passengers have to spend ages sitting on a stationary bus, doing nothing.

On one occassion I was lucky enough to be carrying a "day ticket". So I got off the stupid-not-going-anywhere bus, and caught the one behind to the last stop. (I think that bus was running late - it was so much quicker.)


Blogger STAN said...

I drove the X84 route regularly in rush hour times. How are you supposed to drive slowly and lose time on the M32?
Then inspectors specifically wait either at the UWE or at parkway to give you a warning or dicsiplinary hearing?!I usually drove straight on to parkway and held my breath that there will not be an inspector at parkway. Bernard is very unlucky not to have been on my bus!

3:46 pm  

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