Friday, 26 February 2010

One very good Ventura Knoxfield driver

Ventura Bus Lines, Knoxfield depot. Home of Melbourne's bus route 742, which I use morning and evening (unless I take the almost-parallel route 693, operated by Invicta) to get to and from work. For those who don't know the geography, grab Google Maps or similar, or just bear with me; the specific locations don't matter all that much. Route 742 sometimes dips underneath Centro Oakleigh to go directly to the station, and sometimes arcs around Hanover, Atherton, and Station Streets. (It depends on whether the bus is terminating at Oakleigh or going on to Chadstone, but again, immaterial to this account.) In the arc there are three bus stops: one partway along Hanover, one at the corner of Hanover and Atherton, and one midway down Atherton, at Eaton Mall (tangent: it is so named because it used to be Eaton Street before it was made no-traffic, but it's singularly appropriat because the mall has a large number of eateries...) All buses then go to the Oakleigh Station Bus Loop.

Yesterday, I was on an arcing bus, which I like because I can disembark at the first Hanover St stop and go shopping - it's the most convenient way to maintain my supplies of soft drink (aka soda, to my American readers) and cheesy snacks for at work. I was short on snacks, so I hit the "next stop" button and prepared to disembark - but the driver didn't stop. This is unfortunately quite normal - a lot of drivers miss that first stop - and as we ran past it, I reminded the driver that I'd wanted that stop. (The usual course is for the driver to then stop at the other stop on Hanover, which entails a longer walk for me but still lets me go shopping.) He said no, there's no stops here. I pointed out the signage, and he said they were stops for other routes, but not for this one. We unfortunately had a bit of an argument, and I ended up departing the bus (at Oakleigh Station, and unable to go shopping) in something of a huff, giving the driver a dirty look rather than my extremely usual "Thank you" as I departed the bus.

Today, he changed all that. I boarded the bus as usual, and the driver - yep, the same guy from yesterday, I believe, although I've not a good memory for faces - said, "I owe you an apology". There are not many bus drivers who are prepared to apologize to their customers (aka passengers), and as far as I'm concerned, this turns the incident completely. I wish I knew his name, so that I could thank him formally, but whoever you are: Thanks. It's good to know that Knoxfield drivers do not all fit the negative stereotype!

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