Today I read Aftenposten.no article about bus passengers. A Press and information’s leader of bus company Ruter in Norway participates in an article about passengers behaviour when travelling.
In the article are mentioned how people do not give the seat to others more in need of it like the elderly, impaired and pregnant people. They just sit there comfortably looking at those needing the safety of a seat, and when someone else or the bus driver ask them to give the seat to a person in need of it they do not care. I have seen this myself a lot. Both as a bus and train passenger through 25 years, and also at work as a bus driver during the last years. What is that? Why is it so hard to care about others?
Or the other thing discussed in the article. The bus or the train is a bit crowded, and when people enter the bus/train they are content with that they get on the bus/train and stay standing in their spot. Outside several people is standing waiting in line to get in. Maybe it is even raining, storm, snow or hail.. The driver asks everyone to move back in the vehicle but no one moves.. The driver asks again and again with out a sign of anyone caring. Until the driver stand up, turns and shout back to them to move to the back. Then they finally moves – one meter. O boy! one thinks to oneself. Is that all you can do? Once again one have to shout kindly to them to – Move even longer back! – There is room in the back isle people! Then they after a 5 sec pause look up and walks to the back isle. I have experienced this so many times. What I wonder about is that why on earth can they not think of that themselves? It should not be a problem thinking of others around you.
And when we now are on the subject. Passengers that is. Very many are nice when entering the bus, say hello and ask kindly. But there are people who are demanding, and that do not think of that the way the driver react could have something to do with what they do themselves. All around the internet you can read about people complaining over grumpy bus drivers. But are they really? I have been a daily bus- and train passenger for 25 years before I started to work as a bus driver. During those 25 years as a daily bus and train passenger I have never once had any problems with any driver at all. I have no complaints!
Take this with tickets for an example. A bit to many enters the bus with no bus card, they have either lost it or forgotten it, they got to little money or they got no money at all. If they got money or bus pass they start looking for it when they stand in front of the bus driver. They do not think of having it ready when entering the bus. Often it takes a lot of time finding it, driver waiting, clock is ticking, other passengers waiting, and if one is unlucky the passenger got no bus pass, got no or insufficient money adding to any delay.
Then one say – Next please! and hope that next person got it all in order.
A bus travel should be paid for in advance equally with any distance train and flight. It is the bus drivers job to check that all have paid, and if they have not pre-paid they must pay for the ride. So when the passenger got no bus pass or no money the usually say to the driver:
– Is it ok?
This question holds a lot of wishes. They are actually saying – Can i get a free ride? Or – Can i get a discount? Since it is the bus drivers job to collect payment and sell tickets the bus driver says: – No. And this is when it starts. The passenger do not care about the – No, and starts nagging to get a free ride. If the driver stand on his right the passenger get grumpy and nasty accusing the driver of being a sour pus. What is this? What about taking responsibility for your own mistakes and actions? It is not the drivers fault you did not have your bus pass or money. You forgot your bus pass at home or lost it, it is you who got no money or brought to little money to pay for your ticket. The driver is not responsible for that and is only doing his/her job!
I got a good example on this (actually I got plenty of examples but this one is really outstanding). I once on the job at the city bus stopped at a bus stop where a girl (appr. 19) was waiting. She entered the bus and I said Hello and smiled as I always do. She said she wanted to fill up her bus pass for a new month. To avoid that the passenger have got to little money to pay for the card we drivers always take the money first before re-newing the bus pass. This I did this time too. I found that she lacked 2 NOK for paying for the bus pass. I kindly told her that she did not have enough money.. Then the ok-question came again…
– Is it OK? she said.
– No, I said.
-Is it OK? she said again.
– No, I said again.
And like that she went on about 5 times until I said: – No it is not ok, you will have to get some more money. Then she got sour and said: – But I got no more money! I answered with: – Sorry, I can not help you. And that was when she got really nasty! She got angry, really sour and pissed and yelled at me – THAT IS BAD SERVICE!
Now my patience was on the end, I felt it started to rumble inside my chest. She was out of line and so rude. But I held my horses and answered her calmly:
– Is it bad service that you can not pay for your bus pass?
Then she went all silent, looked at me for some seconds and then turned on the spot and went out the door.
The fact is that when giving discount to a passenger on bus passes and tickets, it is the bus driver that has to pay for the money lacking in the cashier. Why should we pay for your fare out of our salary? And if one do let the passenger get a free ride and there is a control onboard by security people checking tickets, and a person have no ticket or bus pass, it is the driver that has to take the blame and get problems with the office. Not very attractive.
It is also very popular among passengers to compare the bus driver job with an ordinary cashier job in a shop. I must say you are very much out of line people! The bus got a cashier and the shop got a cashier, but there the similarity ends. Trust me, I have worked in both kind of the professions and they are very much unlike each other. Firstly the shop stays firm in its place, the customer are not on the move and are mostly not very much in a hurry, a shop does not have to take care of their customers safety so they do not get run over or fall. Cashiers working in a shop usually got plenty of time doing their job and have time to chat with their customers. The bus driver on the other hand are constantly on the move with very little time on their hand, and have to consider throughout the whole work day the customers safety and well-being. What is affecting this security is other traffic on the roads and those driving, how they behave in traffic, people walking, people bicycling, and others that may step out in the middle of the road in front of the bus. Carelessness from others here can cause that the bus driver must emergency brake and risk the passengers falling in the bus. We need 100 % attention on looking at the road and what is there, and can not sit talking to passengers while driving, and at the bus stop it is fast in and fast out. We do not have the time. We can have as many as 100 persons onboard and we must care for their safety. Passengers expect us drivers to look at them smiling entering the bus stop driving, because that is what they are used to from the store. But in comparative with the store the cashier can sit back relaxing waiting for the customer to come and concentrate on the customer and smile, while when us bus drivers enter the bus stop we have to consider the security of those standing there on the bus stop and others that might want to cross the street, or people coming running sometimes risking their own lives running through traffic to reach the bus. You can not expect us to both show full awareness in traffic and pay you full attention outside the bus at the same time. You get the hello and the smile when you enter the door. Then we also got the stress factor. The shop is located well planted in the street, while the bus is constantly on the move with a demand to be there on time no matter what. Slippery roads, storm, snow, traffic, road accidents, many people travelling at the same time, have to wait for another bus transition at a connection point, technical problems, just anything not being something the drivers can be blamed for can delay a bus or a train. And here we come to the customer who do not think.
Passengers waiting for the bus… It might be nice weather, or it might be a bad weather. The passengers rudeness changes with the weather. Usually the passenger is more understanding if it is a nice and sunny weather, then they can enjoy the standing in the sun getting a tan. But if it is raining and the bus is late… Prepare yourself for an angry crowd!
The classical non thinking passenger enters the bus in a fury! Usually this person is not carrying an umbrella or wearing any suitable garments for the weather. The bus is late due to heavy traffic but the passenger seem to believe the driver went on a lunch break in middle of the tour without asking permission. Customer enters the door angry as thunder and lightning, and the first thing they do are to yell loudly and angrily at the driver for being late. Sadly this happens a bit to often. After 5 of those in a day with all the other stuff going on it can bring the mood down a bit. We drivers are also human, we also need a smile, understanding and nice treatment.
People not knowing and not thinking often demands to get onboard the bus at crossings and other places where it is no bus stop becuase they are late to the bus. As a bus driver we got plenty of laws and regulations to follow and if we break them and get caught we must pay, not the company. Using a crossing as a bus stop is not allowed. Among other things it is not allowed to hinder other traffic. Therefor a bus rarely stops other places than at the bus stop. This has also to do with travellers security. Bus stops are made to be a secure spot for the passenger to get on and off the bus. Other places are not as safe and therefor not used. Most people do not think of this but only see what they need there and then – to get on or off. Once a man knocking on the bus door at a light regulated crossing got so mad when I denied him to enter there that he hit so hard in the bus door that I got afraid it would break. Ugh!
At a big connection point you always have those who arrive to late to the bus. Even though the bus is already late they demand to get on even if the bus is already on the move on its way out of the bus stop. And how do they do that? Well, they walk out in front of the bus that is already on the move and there they plant their feet in the road and do not move. They hinder the bus from departing! If the bus driver ignores this and show that the person is in the way of the bus by very slowly moving an inch at the time, person gets angry at the driver and calls in complaining! And this is a passenger being late to a bus behaving like this, and a person that sometimes even is late to a bus that is already delayed – adding to the delay. I could understand it if the bus left to early from the station. But this? It is crazy! Ugh! I wonder what would have happened if someone tried that stunt at an airport? They would probably get arrested.
I just wonder what make some people think such behavior is ok on a bus and to bus personell? Would they do that on a flight too?
I am not hanging out any specific person or company here. This is about things in general. And I know that most bus drivers could sign this blog with their names since they have all in one way or another experienced such themselves. Have a nice thoughtful day!