It has been revealed the Government’s new Public Transport White Paper will set out strict guidelines for bus drivers in order to drive down standards of service and comfort on Britain’s local bus network.
Transport minister Justine Greening explained the rationale behind the new legislation, “It is apparent that in the last few years, Britain’s bus drivers have been becoming increasingly cheery and helpful. This is not what being a bus driver in Britain used to be about and it’s time we addressed this before bus journeys become too tolerable for passengers.”
The paper sets out a number of measures aimed at achieving an 80% drop in levels of customer satisfaction by 2016. The Centrepiece of the legislation will be a set of expected behaviours, known as the ‘Grim 5,’ that Britain’s 30,000 bus drivers will be periodically assessed against. These are:
1. Staring blankly at people with no indication that you can actually hear them
2. Moaning about people wanting too much change
3. Moaning about people giving them too much change
4. Getting out and having a quick fag while people sit waiting for the bus to set off.
5. Generally mumbling and not even having the common courtesy of most five year olds.
The results will then be collated and published in league table form so that customers can see how well the drivers in their local area are underperforming.
Ms Greening said that the local bus networks could gain much inspiration from the practices of many of the national operators. “I have travelled on a few National Express coaches recently and I was always impressed by how little I enjoyed the journeys. In particular their drivers were consistently some of the most irritable and obstructive people I’ve ever met. My dream is to see this rolled out a local as well as national level.”
Timothy Riley, managing director of the ‘Firstbus’ travel network was optimistic that his company would respond well to the new guidelines, “Our business has always had two main objectives. Firstly, to provide an unreliable and unpredictable service and secondly, to employ the most morose anti-social staff we can find.”
“We are doing well with the first part but clearly we are not always fulfilling the second. These new guidelines will give us the impetus to go forward and provide our customers with the truly dreadful level of service that we aspire to.”
Mr Riley was however keen to stress that any recent rise in standards should not be used as excuse for a witch hunt against the majority of those in the profession. “It is important that we don’t demonise our drivers, many of whom have been quietly providing a cheerless and insulting service to the public for many years. Whilst we acknowledge that there is room for improvement it’s imperative that we don’t let the laudable actions of a few good apples overshadow the quite dismal bus experience that many of our drivers already deliver’
We spoke to Luton based bus driver Alan Travers who commented “Ain’t you got anything smaller? This is a bus not the bleeding Bank of England. Trying to pay a £2.80 fare with a £20 note? Honestly pal, what planet are you from?”