Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The National Express book club.



Oh what a buzz in the newspapers this video and story has provoked! Gail shook her copy of the Sun newspaper at me, look she said, a National Express bus driver reading a book whilst driving. Oh, I replied looking at the photograph, that's strange as the driver is not wearing a grey National Express uniform shirt that you are so familiar with ironing. That made my alarm bells start ringing because National Express are very hot on all their drivers wearing the official and current uniform across the group.

I then went online and found the video and story . It does seem rather odd that no complaint was made directly to the bus company and the passenger was more interested in uploading his video footage onto You Tube. The driver has been suspended and will now face disciplinary action. This story was covered on Asylum UK which generated a lot of user comments including...

Wednesday 21 April
by Blogger

That wasn't a book, it's the 'Route' pamphlet all drivers are issued with which shows the route each bus takes. I'm not saying the driver should have been reading it, but the headline and script makes it seem the driver was engrossed in a paperback when he quite clearly wasn't. Been there, done it etc etc.

Wednesday 21 April
by Wayne

the point is he is looking over his route so he doesnt go the wrong way, bus drivers are under massive pressure to get to complete a route in a very short time (ask any bus driver). we all do things we shouldnt or could get in trouble for at work, fortunately for us there isnt some little grass filming us on the sly.
did the sh*tbag with the camera feel in danger? then why not complain to the driver? no! he felt safe enough to film the driver for his youtube channel. so the man made an error of judgement and because of some sly little dipsh*t he'll be soon unemployed. i wouldnt be proud of myself had i got a man sacked, much better to have the balls to raise your objection there and then. this little nugget with the phone would have filmed anything entertaining ie.. a mugging, a beating, as long as he doesnt need to get involved that is

...Over on News Arse they do a nice satire entitled "Poorly paid bus drivers forced to read ‘books’ when on duty". Dave Simms, a bus driver from Coventry, said, “Yes, I’ll admit that seeing this type of behaviour on film is quite embarrassing.”
“But you have to remember that bus drivers don’t earn very much, so often a ‘book’ is the only thing we can afford to read when we’re on duty and bored witless.”
“Sure, we’d all like to be looking at an iPhone, but until we’re paid what we genuinely believe we deserve, that will remain nothing more than a pipe dream.”

The incident is set to lead to further calls for pay rises throughout the transport industry, in the hope that reading materials can be brought up to date across the board. A representative of the Transport and General Workers Union said, “It is shameful that a worker providing such an essential service for the public must resort to entertaining themselves in such a demeaning manner.”
“In case you hadn’t noticed, the year is 2010, not 1970.”
“We now have eBooks, the Kindle, smart phones, and even the iPad, and yet still our members must entertain themselves on monotonous journeys using a series of printed pages bound together in chronological order to form a coherent story.”
“It’s the election issue that nobody wants to talk about, and so I would remind the main parties that the bus driver vote is there for the taking - by anyone offering an iPhone.”

...So, I wonder how this story will pan out in the days to come? It does seem rather odd to me. This driver was not wearing the National Express uniform so he must be very new to the company indeed. Maybe he is one of the many East Europeans that bus companies are so keen to employ, rather than give British drivers a pay rise. I am reluctant to believe that he was actually reading a paperback. I think he was probably glancing at the "bus company documentation" as he worked through his duty, information that he needed immediately to perform his job. If he kept this documentation open with his fingers, then he would not need to turn through the pages when he needed to glance at it again. There is a big difference from glancing at a page to reading a book. Everyday bus and coach drivers have to glance away from the road to read things, things that are necessary to the job, like the dashboard with all those gauges and the speedometer, plus all those road signs with lots of words written on them. You never know what is going through the mind of a bus and coach driver as he drives along the road. Okay, he will not be reading a book but maybe he is reading every advertising billboard or mentally undressing every pedestrian? Bus and coach drivers do not have tunnel vision, we look around at different things, that is how we avoid cars pulling in front of us from side turnings and across lanes. Oh no! The bus is going forwards and the driver is looking behind in his mirror!

It will be interesting to know how his disciplinary interview goes but I will be surprised if it becomes public knowledge. What is nice about book reading at National Express is the quiet room in the new Birmingham Coach Station. This quiet room is just right for me to read a book during my rest breaks in Birmingham. There are 3 comfy chairs to sit on with a reading light above each seat. What a surprise I got yesterday afternoon when I went in and there was a woman driver talking on her mobile telephone! I sat there reading my book with my temper slowly rising as this woman continued talking in the quiet room. Thankfully she finished her telephone call, got up and left the quiet room leaving me in peace to read my book! I did not have to challenge her over her disgraceful behaviour in the quiet room but it was getting close, very close, less than a minute in it. Oh yes, drivers within National Express do indeed enjoy reading books, whether they drive buses or coaches. I wonder if there is a link on the company website to the National Express Book Club or if it will be featured in the next edition of Drivers' Update?
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