Nae Clippy The Day …

… in other words “Pay the driver people” …  Thinking back to the customer service posts I made – this is a major failing for the bus company, six days a week on one route the passengers pay the Clippy (Conductor/ress).  On Sunday on some of the buses on this same route passengers pay the driver.  This means passengers board the bus and haver in the door way not sue whether there is a Clippy or not OR they march straight past the driver and get grumpy when called back.  The drivers try to make light of it, smile when they hear the same response for the humpteenth time that day … how difficult would it be for the bus company to have a sign that goes in the door of the Driver’s cab to let folk know?

Sorry but sloppy business practice really irritates me.

In the good news department my friend with the Lucky Pebble had found dropped coins this morning … the pebble that keeps on giving!  I didn’t catch the usual bus back – I expect I will get quizzed next week as to why – so I will have to wait to find out whether there was more luck to be had at the Bingo.

There were two reasons I did not catch that bus; I saw who would be driving and more importantly it was such a beautiful day on the beach I didn’t want to rush home.  After several days of feeling out of sorts I was very content today.  The driver this morning asked if I wanted to get off a little ahead of the bus stop and I said no because that would mean I had to walk! I went on to explain that I am close to walking 40 miles a week at the moment and he laughed and said well that would have been 40.001 miles then!

When I arrived at West Haven it was to find a mountain of smelly, fly infested seaweed dominating the beach eugh!  I turned towards East Haven first and navigated round the back of the piles until I got to clear sandy beach and set off walking.  The tide was well out and there were lots of shiny pebbles, shells and odds and ends across the beach.

In the rock pool I

In the rock pool II

Birds foot prints and the whelk shells = fine dining for gulls!

Decorated Stone

I had company for part of the walk after two dogs (staffies) had hijacked me and invited me to join them and their person.  We chatted about what I look for on the beach and what I want to do.  He told me he was making a mosaic out of collected beach combings and would love to find a fossil on the beach.My collecting today was mainly sea glass.  I turned back at the burn I normally paddle across when coming in the other direction.  I walked back past the front of the seaweed pile at Westhaven and around the corner towards Carnoustie.  I needed a rock close by as an anvil so I settled for the end of the rocky defence wall and found a little sandy cove there.  By this time the sun was out and it was surprisingly warm.

I did some wire wrapping, drank my earl grey tea and watched the waders; all the while pushing my bare feet into the damp sand!

A waders ideas of paradise

The tide was not due to be right in until 17:00; I left at 15:30 an the tide had suddenly advanced across the rocky flats in the space of just 20 minutes or so but there was still a sandy beach for folk to walk on.  The only disappointment today was the pubic toilet in Carnoustie was labelled “not working” and the town map does not show where there might be other facilities!  I caught a bus back to Dundee and popped into the shopping centre to use the facilities there, since the bus station toilets close mid afternoon!!

My returning bus was Temperamental Madam 99 … she was late having struggled with hills all day and as we left Forfar to Kirriemuir she started making a new eerie whistling wailing noise – hope she is back in the garage to get properly fixed before she has a major strop and stamps all her wheels at the same time!  My third significant conversation of the day was with the driver who told me about an unexpected bereavement; one of those conversations where there is not a great deal one can say other than “I am sorry you are having to get through this”

What it does remind us though is that the drivers are people and have lives; I often hear passengers complain about a grumpy driver or the bus windows being dirty; they have unrealistic expectations.  I know passengers who do expect the bus service to be run just for their benefit and never mind anyone else; unrealistic expectations.

When the bus runs late, say because 99 is having a strop, people automatically complain to the driver (as Weather Guru put it the other day “the driver doesn’t hide round the corner waiting just to be late”).  The drivers on the Sunday service without a Clippy deal with repeated comments and misunderstandings.  In Winter when the roads are salted the outside of the windows is covered in a greasy film within seconds of leaving the depot – they were clean when the driver signed on; there is not time to clean all the windows between journeys and even if there was it would be wasted effort as soon as the bus sets off again.

95% of the Local Driver team are great (professional, polite, try to keep to time, drive with care) and the new fleet has made a huge difference to reliability.  This is not the case at other depots and we are extremely fortunate in the depot we have.  The Drivers need the passengers and good vehicles and a management that works; Passengers need competent polite drivers and good reliable vehicles with realistic timetabling; Management need both drivers and passengers to keep running bus services – we should be round the table talking instead of whinging and complaining!

I forgot to share this on Friday – I love to see birds of prey and part way through the journey on Friday morning got the opportunity to see a buzzard up close and personal through the bus windscreen.  I took off into the path of the bus, realised i’s mistake but seemed to be being drawn towards the bus and at the last second managed to turn in mid air and fly away – awesome.  The Driver’s view must have been particularly awesome; normally calm and composed he did have a little veer to the side when confronted by the buzzards underside!  Sadly no picture – it was all over too quickly but great driving and great flying too.

My day drew to a close with Dog being his special self – I have the only dog on the planet who asks to go outside just to watch fireworks!  I know all the animal charities tell you to keep your pets safe, etc but every year he is the same he whines and carries on until I let him out and then he sits down to watch the fireworks (I think it is his gun dog instinct that tells him Pheasants will need collecting!) anyway he is back in now and it is almost bed time so perhaps he will be dreaming of the pretty colours he has seen.

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About nonehpets

I have an interest in how interior design and adapting a home to support living independently for longer can be complementary. The blog Life Long Design is part of an holistic plan for establishing a social enterprise which will offer the people of Tayside opportunities to explore Telecare and the wider scope of assistive technologies. Enabling individuals to make more informed and responsible choices in the care and support they need in their independent living. I am also keen to see public transport more widely adopted and sustainable rural bus services in particular supported. The Blog Travels with a Megarider shares my journey to find serenity in my life as I make that transition form employment to social entrepreneur. One of my methods in increasing serenity is to travel as many miles as I can on a fixed price bus ticket and explore my own local places of interest. Places that I used to go past and had never stopped to look at; places of peace and tranquility; places where I have had some wonderful conversations with complete strangers. I would like to share with you a response to when I described that one paragraph in an e-mail made it sound simple: "Believe me, Cathy, it does not sound simple. You are taking on an incredible challenge for all the right reasons. It is ambitious and admirable - the sort of project that can change lives, including yours." He is right it is ambitious but when did we every achieve anything by settling for the status quo and ignoring what doesn't work for people? So I would welcome your company from time to time on this journey either simply as a reader or if you are brave enough adding your own thoughts to the comments as you feel moved.

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