Wednesday, March 14, 2012

End of an era.

It is another end of an era driving coaches under contract to the nationwide company. Until today drivers have used the microphone to talk to passengers, giving them information about the coaches and their journey. It was up to the driver what they said and we were encouraged to deliver announcements in our own personal style rather than a faceless jobsworth. I and many other drivers found it really easy to deliver off-the-cuff announcements that were friendly, efficient, personal and covered all the necessary safety information. We felt that passengers appreciated our announcements because they were never the same, the content changed over time and it was obvious that their driver was not reading from a script. It was a great system because it was adaptive and could be tailored to that unique journey - at that very time - rather than be generic. The driver then had a free platform to announce the score for that day.

A long time ago, drivers were stopped from writing about the nationwide company on the internet. Now that ban on free speech and freedom of expression has been extended to the driver's microphone announcements. The nationwide company claims this is to achieve consistency across the network!

From today, drivers MUST read out aloud on the microphone, word for word, with no variation, a script found in a bound folder. When the driver has spoken these scripted words he MUST press the button to launch the automated safety message from a nagging woman. There are a total of 12 scripted messages in the bound folder that the driver MUST use. Every time a passenger boards the coach at a later stop, the initial starting message and the nagging woman CD must be used.

So much for progress and the end of another era, which will be repeatedly announced by the nagging woman CD.
Feel sorry for the passenger that gets on at the beginning of a 20 stop journey. I can hear the complaints now.
Me too but I have no option as the folder declares

"Coach departing from an interim stop - on time (only when new customers have boarded)"

- any driver would face disciplinary action for ignoring this instruction.
I'd just ignore it. The brand new coaches that went into service in my old regiment have had the different pre-recorded announcements and drivers have been given the 12 different statements to read out and no one is taking any notice. The nagging woman's 'welcome aboard' announcement is being played once per journey and the driver does the rest himself. Until someone says something to you, I'd carry on with business as usual.
The folder and CD have met with a mixed response among the drivers down on the farm. When I told my line manager how tedious the repeated announcements and CD playing was on cross country multi-stop routes, he just smiled and said "Why bother, they have not thought it through."

So now I just use the folder and CD as tools that I can use which results in a lack of consistency but avoids any announcement becoming tedious or repetitive.
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