Now here’s a story from 1988 which I thought had been consigned to the memory archives only to be resurrected under the Postaday2011 Challenge. I hope this tale will never be repeated…..but you never know!
I used to catch the bus to and from work in the late 1980’s and one particular driver had an obvious penchant for alcohol. You could smell the fumes as we boarded the bus homeward bound but strangely non of the regular passengers said anything. 😦 To explain his driving technique as erratic and too fast is an understatement and many a time we were forced to cling on to our fellow travellers to avoid falling off the seat and I am still friends with 2 people who experienced the following traumatic event-say no more.
One winter’s evening the driver in question drove into the bus station in a Double Decker. (Noooooo 😦 ) Needless to say, all the regular passengers sat downstairs and those unknowing souls who thought they’d just get a better view of the journey home scurried upstairs to fight for the front seat.
To cut a long story very short at each roundabout it was like being on a roller-coaster and we fully expected the bus to tip over. Passengers were screaming on the top deck but couldn’t come down stairs without risking life and limb! They had to pick their moment and soon downstairs was full to capacity with no one left upstairs at all.
People often ask why I didn’t just get off. I think I was in shock and so just sat there waiting for the worst to happen and it almost did. After picking up the lady who was sitting next to me off the floor after one particularly round-roundabout, the driver approached the next one far too fast and we ended up mounting the kerb, ploughing through the black & white arrow road sign indicating that you should go round the roundabout and not over it, narrowly avoided a cyclist in the process who flung himself into the hedge for safety, and came to a standstill in the middle of the refuge.
Undeterred, the driver swore a lot, checked out the bus and started it up again. We limped off the roundabout and it was clear that there were bits of bus undercarriage scraping the road but the driver seemed oblivious. He carried on down the hill, building up speed again and almost rammed the van in front who was clearly going “too slow”. At this point, my survival instinct eventually kicked in and I made him stop and let me, and my fellow lady passenger off the bus in the middle of nowhere. No mobiles in those days so we walked to the nearest building which happened to be a pub and phoned home for someone to come and fetch us.
Once home I burst into tears (delayed reaction!), phoned the bus company and the police and the next day was informed that the driver had been arrested, charged with drink-driving and had been sacked.
That is the strangest thing that’s ever happened to me on a bus!
The photograph above is the very roundabout in the story and every time I drive round it I remember that journey.