Sunday, September 18, 2011

Things they don't tell you during training Pt 2

Yes, it's time for Part 2 of the epic lessons I've learned.

21. Some passengers think there's some sort of magical place where extra trams, buses and staff wait on mass standby for the slightest interruption. Like some sort of Lasseter's Reef, the fact that it doesn't exist will not prevent them from demanding it appear right before their eyes (Truth is, bus replacements aren't usually arranged unless the delay will last a long time AND the bus companies can spare drivers and buses). They also expect that every tram driver be able to communicate with every bus driver. If soldiers are still getting killed by friendly fire, you know they're expecting too much.

22. Don't be rude to passengers. One of them might just be the Transport Minister. Whoever that is this week.

23. You might complain and belly-ache about the most dangerous place on the system for years and see hundreds of near-misses, but someone at VicRoads in an air-conditioned office earning four times your salary can knock it back in a split second because nobody actually gets killed or injured. Any normal person finds this

24. Pedestrians and motorists will try all sorts of crazy shit in front of a 30 tonne tram. Replace it with a 30 tonne truck that has steering, and they won't go near it because it's "dangerous". The tonne of feathers/tonne of lead riddle still hasn't penetrated.

25. Allowing a car to turn from a side street into your lane will see it stop shortly up ahead and hold you up to turn right or practice reverse parking. For what feels like an eternity. No good deed goes unpunished. Cars with no idea what's in front of you will wildly attempt to overtake you and hit the anchors when they realise it's not you holding them up - it's the cars in front of you. They're dicks. Nothing you can do can ever change this. It's just like physics, the class that most of these motoring morons skipped.

26. The same people who stand and block doorways are fully aware of the dangers of cholesterol and engage in diet and exercise, yet fail to appreciate their efforts on hardening the tram's arteries. 

27. Every year the same things happen for specific events, such as Anzac Day, Moomba, etc. Notices will go up on trams, at stops, in papers, online, but passengers will forget this and it will be all your fault. Similarly, there is a strong positive correlation between the complexity of what you're about to ask your passengers and the time since they last used public transport.

28. Passengers from out of town will love you for being courteous, informed and well-presented. The passengers who live here and see you every day want you to die.

29. The louder, longer and more inane the mobile conversation, the closer they will stand to the cabin. They struggle with their conversation and the task of finding their stop. This in itself is evidence to ban their use in cars. Don't think it has anything to do with them wanting to be obnoxious dickheads. It will make you long for the days of really short and expensive calls.

30. A woman applying makeup on your tram as you move is perhaps the highest unsaid compliment you can ever get. Don't be an arse and test the emergency brakes. However, feel free to screw up the day of someone using nail clippers on the tram.

31. Appreciate the fact that this is a rare job where gorgeous people will chase after you and thank you for stopping. However when things go wrong, all these beauties will become ugly as all hell faster than you can say "bad news".

32. Pedestrians on the road will step into the path of a 30,000kg tram to avoid a 900kg car travelling at the same speed. Similarly, a car turning into traffic will let the 900kg car go only to cut off the 30,000kg tram once again travelling at the same speed. The single most terrifying aspect of this is that these people are required by law to vote in elections. This will explain quite a bit.

33. You think the lights will change to red, so you wait it out like a good driver and it stays green forever. Touch the accelerator and it'll change from orange to red literally at the speed of light. The same law applies to doors - leave them open and there'll be no passengers and the light will stay red longer. Close them, and like Tony Montana at the end of Scarface, you'll be fighting them off. And you won't have a little friend there to make your defeat look cool.

34. Passengers will reward your display of landing a tram smoothly with the front door right at their feet by waiting for it to open and then promptly walking to the next door. Or the door after that. On an empty tram. And then they'll come down to the cabin and have a go at you for running late.

35. By all means be grateful if passengers approach you to pay a compliment. However, be prepared to grit your teeth when it's something like "It's so easy to understand you. Much better than those foreigners" or "Great to see an Aussie doing your job". They don't seem to understand that "those foreigners" are your mates. Or that every tram driver happens to be "an Aussie".

36. Sunday's paper is great for public transport news, but not so great for circulation figures. And yes, those two facts are related.

37. Whenever there's trouble, AOs will be waiting precisely two stops down the line after the troublemakers have alighted. Also, AOs are rare as hen's teeth on Saturday night when there's the most problems with drunks and trouble. Come Sunday morning, when it's double time for pay and the biggest threat is the church-goers, you need to fend them off with sticks.

38. The company has a list of problems. The union has a list of problems. Drivers have a list of problems. These lists are like Swanston, Elizabeth and Spencer - always full and slow moving, but never meeting up.

39. The less important the message, the louder and more frequently the "bionic bitch" will make on-board announcements. The very important messages won't even get mentioned.

40. If you drive on a a route shared by another depot, they will never announce disruptions to that line on your tram over the radio. The only way you will find out if there's a problem is when you pull up at the stop and passengers have found torches and pitchforks.

4 comments:

  1. Tick to them all. One more. The runner for the tram who catches your eye and you wait for will break in a huge smile once they realise you are waiting for them.......and then slow to a dawdle.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very very true, Andrew. However, that smile turns upside-down when you close the doors!

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  4. My driving teacher taught me that driving protectively and securely will definitely diminish the danger of being in a mishap and all the more essentially in a genuine or life undermining pile up.

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