A life on the Buses

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This page is to give you some idea of the service that is run by companies such as Cardiff Bus in the big cities. Although I have only worked for Cardiff Bus, why would the problems that are faced by that firm be any different from any other busy city anywhere? They all have traffic, thousands of passengers and road accidents.

So what makes a good bus service?

This is a difficult one to quantify, but the bus service is something special to a lot of towns and cities. They carry far more passengers than the railways, and if they closed down then the roads would be even more clogged than they are today.

For instance Cardiff Bus carries something like 25 million passengers a year. How would they all get where they are going? By car? The roads would be grid locked in a couple of days.

To make a good service, all most passengers require is a clean, comfortable, reliable service, so that if they go out for a bus, they expect it to turn up on time.

That is not always as easy as it sounds and a lot of vagaries can stop it. For instance, what if the driver is sick? What if he has a urgent problem and has to dash off home? What is the bus breaks down?

What about factors that cannot be foreseen such as an accident further up the road between two cars that has nothing at all to do with the bus company? The weather has a lot to do with service, as does staff problems and a hundred other things that I have not got time for here.

What does make a good service is the professionalism of the staff to cope with these problems. The drivers that will go that extra mile to help the passenger, and will run the bus even if they are late to get their passengers back.

The Radio Controllers who sort out the problems that occur when breakdowns happen and the traffic backs up. The Allocations staff that find drivers to cover work if someone goes off sick or has other problems.

The service engineers that get out in all weathers to repair the broken down bus. The Inspectors on the bus station that have to cope with irate passengers when the bus does not turn up.

When big cities like Cardiff have major events such the recent FA cup or the big Rugby internationals then the city is closed by the police and we have to find other places to use as inner points.

This is sorted out by staff in the 'backroom' that never get seen but organize the timetables and drivers schedules, without which we could not function.

Cardiff Bus employs over 750 staff, of which 550 are driving staff. The rest do all the work that big companies could not exist without such as maintenance, payroll, timetables, the Inspectorate and managers.

The next page is about the staff that drives the vehicles. Click on the link to see it or click on The Bus Driver

The Bus service

The Bus Driver