A Commuter Journal (22/06/2011)


I’ve been thinking for sometimes about writing a commuter journal. But I had gone against it to protect my privacy. Today though, I’m going to write one about my journey from Mt Ommaney to Cultural Centre on board service 460 leaving Mt Ommaney at 1.20ish pm.

Today I’ve just finished the last component of examinations in my courses for this semester. I decided to visit Mt Ommaney Library since it has the widest range of comics among other BCC Libraries that I have visited so far.

I don’t want to visit library in the northern suburbs because I’m not familiar with the area. To my disappointment, there were only two good comics (by my standard) available. Money wasted on service 453 earlier – public transport fare increased earlier this year.

After checking out the two items, I waited for any bus that would bring me to the City/Cultural Centre (no difference to me – it’s just a matter of walking).

I thought I was going to get services 453/454, instead 460 from Inala arrived. Strangely though, no other passengers at Mt Ommaney boarded the bus except me. Thinking that 460 is an express service (not BUZ), why not give it a try?

By the way, I wouldn’t even try to visit Inala (not alone). Brisbane’s notorious suburbs. Plus Logan, the Bogan City.

After leaving Mt Ommaney Shopping Centre, the driver (I believe a lady in her 50s or early retirement age) lost her direction whether to pass or by-pass Jindalee DFO. She asked for help from the passengers. Not a frequent user of western suburbs buses (those that starts with 4xx), I couldn’t offer any answer. A passenger at the back (I was seated at the front seat behind the front door, my fave seat) replied ‘left’ as in by-pass Jindalee.

It doesn’t stop there. In the Western Freeway she once again lost direction. Whether to keep continue driving along the freeway or turn left. She decided to turn left without help and wished she were right. Well, welcome to 444 Moggill BUZ area. She was right.

Up until Indooroopilly and Toowong, she was fine. She lost her plot again after Coronation Drive. She decided to use Go-Betweens Bridge instead of William Jolly. The bus was stuck on the corner of Merivale and Melbourne Streets.

She didn’t know what to do. I thought this is going to be one long journey. Then a 196 bus driver suggest her to go straight along Merivale St (perhaps following service 202 route). But she insisted in turning left to Melbourne St but the road is simply too narrow for the bus (not to forget bus lane at the street). I guess she isn’t familiar with the South Brisbane area. I heard loud sound like something’s breaking from the back while she was trying. Not sure whether it was a pole or the bus.

I believed at that moment she freaked out – almost cried as well I guess. She decided to turn right after so many tries following services 192, 196, 199 & CityGlider routes along the street. I can’t remember which one but it was either Manning or Cordelia Streets where she turned right into afterwards (again).

In the end the bus made its way to the intersection of Merivale & Hope Streets. She completely lost directions here and asked Queen Street Bus Station for help. She got help and was asked to make a similar route to 192, 198 & CityGlider around there.

What I heard from the convo between her and QSBS was she was asked for the bus registration and her employment number. She made her way back to QSBS but I dropped off at Cultural Centre.

Services to Inala and western suburbs that use QSBS are located at Platform B. But she was asked by operator to park the bus at stop C2 (service 170) and report herself to traffic controller (located at the back of Platform C).

When I alighted, I noticed the windows at the rear left of the bus was almost shattered. Luckily no passengers were seated around there (or perhaps they had moved?). She apologised to me (the only passenger alighting at Cultural Centre) about the delay and the ‘wild ride’.

I couldn’t care less. I don’t need her apologies. Everyone makes mistakes. Perhaps if I were in her position I would freak out as well (Don’t ask me to be a bus driver, we’ll never get to the destination since I can’t brake!).

A few weeks ago there was a story on Seven News Brisbane about a service 170 crash near Southeast Busway. It was revealed Brisbane Transport bus drivers were only given training for two weeks. It’s very short compared to southern capitals (Sydney & Melbourne).

Whether Seven News claim is correct or not we can debate that here. And whether there should be more training provided we can also discuss it here.

I’m not in favour of the introduction of Adelaide’s O-Bahn so that bus drivers wouldn’t lose the plot. I don’t think that would help at all. But the fact that there wasn’t any map in her folder worries me (whatever map – service 450/453/454/460 route maps in particular).

I’m hoping for the best from her. I hope she doesn’t get the sack. May be she should be employed on shorter routes such as 105/107/108 or those feeder around Mt Ommaney to Indooroopilly.

I understand being a bus driver for service 199 or 109 is different to service 130/140/150 or 310/330. 460 is a particularly long journey (let alone service 250 from City to Redland Bay).

All the best for the driver.