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Life in the Bus Lane

Submitted by on November 27, 2012 – 8:06 pmOne Comment

Life in the Bus Lane is the second volume of short stories written by First Bus bus drivers. I flick through the book and stop at a page and start to read – ”While driving I often think of suicide”. That’s it, I’m never going on First Bus again.

You get on the 135 dreamily looking out of the window and realise that the bus has begun to increase in speed, lamp posts flash past. The bus just makes the next set of lights and all the time the speed of the bus is increasing. You look around to see if any of the other passengers have noticed this unusual event. The 135 making steady progress, not plodding along stopping every two minutes for a breather. My fellow passengers seem unconcerned. That reassures me for a moment. But the next set of lights are on amber and he has no intention of stopping. The speed of the bus increase, it doesn’t slow even slightly for the lights. We are travelling very fast for a bus, I notice a cyclist a little way ahead, the bus swerves but keeps on accelerating.

Cheetham Hill Road is not built for speeding buses, it’s not built for speeding anything. The pot holes, uneven ground and debris from the regular crashes make speed a very turbulent experience. The other passengers may think that a thundering First bus is a thing to welcome, I don’t. A bus stop looms, passengers stagger to the exit doors, being tossed from side to side like pyjamas in a tumble drier. As they cling on for dear life the bus refuses to stop, now they worry. ‘Stop’ she shouts, ‘Stop’ I shout. What the fuck are you doing? Too late, the bus careers headlong into a semi, ploughing through the garden wall, wiping out the family cat, smashes into the bay window destroying the new installed double glazing, plummets into the front room squashing Mrs Hilton and her nephew Aubrey. The first floor collapses onto the deadly bus, flinging Mr Hilton from his bed where he had been watching Red Hot channel’s ‘Busty girls from Brazil’. He lands, erection still in hand, plop, on the top of the now mangled bus.

This isn’t an extract from the book, I didn’t read past the word suicide. Just the thought of suicidal public transport drivers scares the living daylights out of me. The damage that could be done is unthinkable. Most of the people I know travel by bus or train. Suicidal bus drivers running amok in Manchester would cause devastation on a unheard of scale. Would the health service cope?

Why would First Bus publish such a book? Is it a warning? Is it a dare? Is it a threat? This publication is the second volume, I’m thinking the first volume is a bit more cheery. But I wouldn’t know because I am not able to get hold of a copy.

I know people can get a bit down at work, I often want to drive an axe through my colleagues’ heads. But a train or bus driver can wipe out people a score at a time. This is worrying. I’m definitely going to check the happiness level of my bus driver each time I get on a bus. “What number are you?” Anything below a three and off that bus. The Tories are cutting mental health provision. Not a wise move.

One Comment »

  • Elsie says:

    May I point out the following from First Buses’ rather implausible Soviet-look campaign Save Manchester? –

    ‘First buses are the people’s transport. They run frequently so there’s always one on its way – and you’re never very far away from a bus stop.

    And you can forget battling your way through traffic – relax, send a tweet or expand your mind with the daily paper.

    Our drivers are your comrades and are only too happy to help with journey advice, timetable information or if you don’t have the correct fare’.

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