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There are two types of bus drivers in this world (or at least in Lancaster): the jolly, grey-haired, ‘tar luv’ type and the type who seemingly find it impossible to be anything other than miserable. Usually this kind of thing doesn’t particularly grind my gears (excuse the unintentional bus-related pun) – I am fairly used to wondering why certain members of ‘customer service’ staff were ever employed, but some Lancaster bus drivers really take the biscuit.
There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground with Stagecoach staff in this city. They are either friendly to the point where it makes your day (granted, it doesn’t take a lot) or are rude to the point where they ruin it. Last week I had a job interview, starting at 9.30am. I arrived at the constantly crowded bus stop on Common Garden Street and much to my delight found that I was just in time to hop on a number 3. I half ran, half walked towards the bus to make sure I didn’t miss it but as I approached the doors they shut. The bus was still stationary and filled with students who were pointing at me, so I knocked on the glass door, thinking Mr Bus Driver would open them and let me on. Instead he just looked at me and shrugged his shoulders. So I knocked again. By this point I was not only feeling totally humiliated but I was also starting to panic about making it in time for my interview. As I was knocking, the bus driver started up the bus, accelerated and drove off into the distance leaving me stood outside New Look looking like the biggest idiot in the world and feeling like the angriest.
I get the impression that some bus drivers in Lancaster will go out of their way to cause inconvenience to students, whether it is driving off when they know someone is running to catch the bus, refusing to allow payment without correct change (I actually witnessed a young chap trying to buy a return with a £5 note and the bus driver made him get off and try another bus) or just being downright rude and miserable when ‘serving’ the public. I may be wrong, but aren’t bus drivers and staff in similar roles paid to slap a smile on their faces whilst they serve their customers?
Riding the ‘peasant wagon’ is bad enough without being greeted with a grunt when you get on, flustered, windswept and let’s face it, usually drenched head to toe with Lancaster’s finest rain water. In my opinion Stagecoach need to sort out its staff (apart from the approximately three lovely 50-plus drivers who manage to convince me that they absolutely love their job, even if they don’t). “Have a nice day” isn’t a hard sentence to say now is it?