Monday, July 04, 2011

End of the picnics.

Ah, it was good while it lasted but the leisurely picnics will end from Monday 11th July. Down at the farm today, Stewart gave me a new list of duties to start next Monday. Our lovely leisurely rest breaks in London will come to an end. It was great being able to park the coach and walk to any one of the London parks for a lengthy rest break. Sitting there in the open air, among the many tourists as you ate your lunch and read your Kindle. Those were lovely refreshing rest breaks which were a perk of the job and gave you a spring in your step as you walked barefoot through the parks. Even if you hit severe delays on the way up to London, because you had a decent rest break built into the duty, you were always able to depart from London on time.

Now the Nationwide Company has decided to rearrange their diagrams and all coaches coming up from Cardiff are having a quick turn-around in London Victoria Coach Station. There are a lot of timetable alterations which do not affect the drivers that much. What affects the drivers is the loss of those leisurely rest breaks and on many duties we will be down to the bare legal minimum of 45 minutes. The other duties will be down to 60 minutes rest before driving for another 4 hours to 4 hours 30 minutes.

So the leisurely picnics in London parks have gone but as normal the Nationwide Company has not thought this through. They believe that if you publish a timetable with unrealistic running times, it will work like clock-work, because it looks right on paper! But in the real world our journeys take a lot longer than advertised. The result of this is that the coach arrives into London late, the driver picks up the litter that the ignorant passengers have dropped, then he starts his bare legal minimum rest break of 45 minutes. The advertised Departure time has come and gone, with the passengers still waiting. The driver finishes his break, loads the coach and departs the station late. The passengers are unhappy because they may have stared at that coach for 45 minutes before they were allowed to board. So much for customer service. What were reliable departure times will become a lottery. This brings back memories of the mid 1980's working the Bristol to London services for the Nationwide Company. Whenever you pulled onto London Victoria Coach Station, Andy would bellow at you "What time are you going?", as the service always had an insufficient turn around time in London. Things have not changed much in the last 30 years working under contract to the Nationwide Company.
Is It the nationwide company's decision or our very own operator who have made this choice??
Either way I cannot see our Stephen rushing his 45 minute legally required rest break:-)))
It is the Nationwide Company's decision to alter the diagrams - even our colleagues from the Southall mosque have had their diagrams altered in this service revision.

I shall not be rushing my 45 minute legal rest break. I have no time for drivers who pervert the law and do any work whilst their tachograph is recording rest. Same applies to Birmingham.
It is fortunate that the derogation that permitted the further reduction to 30 mins in VCS (and a number of other locations in the UK) was dropped a couple of years ago, too.

Agree with you regarding the reduced layovers. 45 mins seems a little near to the bone. We used to arrive at xx20 and depart at xx30 the following hour as a minimum. By the time you got into Departures it was xx30 and allowing a 45-min break took you to xx15, when you would start to load. This was barely legal as it is.

1420 - arr VCS arrivals
1430 - arr VCS departures
1430-1515 - legal break
1515 - load
1530 - depart
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