Friday, 15 June 2007

Faulty bus?

After leaving work, I boarded the bus on my usual route, but part way along, it developed a fault. Either something electrical, or something with the pneumatics - the rear door (pneumatically controlled) wouldn't register that it was closed. Its notification system was beeping every second, indicating that the door was open - but the door was clearly closed. The driver got out, pushed the manual door release, and pulled the door open, then went back to his seat and tried the door closer. The front door opened, and simultaneously the back door closed part-way. Then he closed the front door, and opened it again, bringing the rear door a bit further closed. Eventually the rear door was closed, and finally it fell silent.

He called up the depot (this route runs straight past one of Ventura's bus depots, and we were within a few minutes of passing it - very convenient), and arranged to change buses. (There's always the odd bus sitting around in the depot. Usually in working order, too.) Meanwhile, he drove on, moving passengers through the front door only - but every time the bus stopped, even if the front door wasn't opened, the alarm started. Opening and closing the front door silenced it, though.

When we reached the depot, we went into the driveway, where the replacement bus had been parked in readiness. (This is standard arrangement with bus changeovers.) Our driver, a tad miffed by this time but still committed to providing a good service, parked the faulty bus (877) with its door aligned with the door of the replacement (number 815) and but a short step away. All passengers stepped across, and then the driver took his seat in the new bus. Problem. The position of 877 meant that we couldn't get out.

The driver called out towards the depot, "Matthew? Can someone take this bus, I can't take this one out!" - and he sounded a bit disgruntled. Well, maybe not disgruntled... but certainly far from being gruntled. Nobody responded, though, so our driver Went back into 877, closed the front door, and moved it along. He took it forward about half a bus length, then yelled back towards the depot "Move it", and got back into 815.

Someone in yellow hivis, greying/whiting beard, wearing a cap, came out and took 877 in. Was this Matthew?

Buses 107 and 102 (coaches) came into the depot as soon as the way was clear (the two buses, aligned side by side, completely blocked the driveway). I think one of them, at least, had been blocking traffic on Centre Road.

Only now did our driver "boot up" 815, and we moved out. We'd left Cheltenham at 4:30; it was now 4:56. It's usually about a 10-15 minute journey from there to here. The half-hour journey from there to Oakleigh ended up taking about 40 minutes, which isn't too bad under the circumstances. We caught up time fairly well after a technical hitch.

No comments: