18 July 2010

Mobile phone usage

Contributing writer 'GWB' blows the dust off his keyboard and considers two local bus service scenarios and the manner in which the driver has handled each.

On a recent bus journey, I and my fellow passengers were subjected to what I describe as the scourge of the modern-day bus passenger: music being played out loud from a 'personal music device', which on this occasion was a mobile phone. People - generally teenagers or disaffected twenty-somethings with an axe to grind - seem not to care that the entire bus (in this case the upper deck) could hear Snoop Doggy Dog being played incredibly loud. Where were the headphones? They still come with every new mobile phone and offer a far superior stereo effect!

People just can't be bothered bringing such weighty, cumbersome lengths of wire with them. By contrast, we've all sat near someone listening to music through headphones and have been able to hear the bass or even the lyrics, but at least they've been considerate enough to plug them into their phone.

However, in a shock move, up came the driver. In a manner that was completely faultless he effectively stopped the music within seconds. No threats, intimidation or incomprehensible dialogue spoken at 100mph. He stood at the top of the stairs, looked in the direction of the music player and his possy and said nothing. After five seconds it soon became apparent that something was wrong, to the point that the live band at the back turned their music off, only to see what was occurring. The driver said "Can you keep the music off or plug some headphones in, please", to which a rather nervous response was, "Err, yeah, sure". The driver concluded: "We don't have a licence for you to do that so we don't allow it. Thanks."

After awaiting acknowledgment of his final sentence, he headed off to his cab. The music never started up. As the miscreants alighted, a fellow passenger told me that one actually apologised to the driver. Perhaps more ought consider using minimalist language while politely 'facing-off' the mobile music studios. There are a number of legitimate reasons why drivers might not though.

While clearly this driver's opinion of using a mobile phone in such a manner was pretty low, the driver of a First Manchester bendy bus's thoughts of mobile phone usage was even lower, following the YouTube clip that I've recently found online. Essentially, the video maker was incensed that the driver refused to use the manual ramp, located under the front step, to assist the person in an electric wheelchair to alight. There are a whole host of questions that need asking and answering here and I can't help feeling that the budding Manchester Evening News correspondent could have handled things slightly differently.

Anyone who's ever used a bus will know that all bus drivers act and behave differently. All bus drivers know that every passenger acts and behaves differently. Never more so has this been in evidence!

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