Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/844/20128
"Driver, why are you late?"
A London bus driver
When I was new to bus driving, it wound me up when bus controllers asked: "Driver, why are you late?" I'm driving a busy bus in lots of traffic and the timetable is almost impossible to keep to.
Most controllers are ex-drivers trying to earn a crust like us. They know the hold-ups but from their viewpoint they need to know the specific delays. Even so, some controllers seem fuelled with hostility towards drivers.
Now when I hear "why are you late" on the bus radio I start explaining what happened at every stop; every old lady who had to fumble for her bus pass, then I'd wait for her to sit down.
And every parent with a child in a buggy who struggles through a crowded bus to park it safely in the wheelchair space before I could move off. I explain the traffic delays at every junction and every set of traffic lights.
When the controller realises that a full reply to his question would further delay the bus, he gives me the benefit of the doubt and lets me get on with my job!
I always encourage drivers (and controllers!) to do the job exactly as they trained you.
Some people say I'm on a permanent work to rule. I say you'll have more stress and more accidents if you rush and try to do the impossible. Part of building a strong union is giving every worker the confidence not to be bullied.
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In The Socialist 18 February 2015:
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party congress
International socialist news and analysis
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Socialist Party comments and reviews