Tuesday 19 June 2012

On The Buses

"45 year old male, unconscious, breathing unknown, life status unknown"

Public transport. We all use it at some point. Personally, I avoid it where I can. The price does not match the experience. If it's a train you have to pay an obscene amount of money to go minimal distances. For that money you get to stand up in a hot sardine tin, armpits in your face, rubbish on the floor, chewing gum on the seat, shoehorned in like battery hens and you are taken from A to B where you may or may not get pick pocketed. It's all part of the fun. Then you have the bus. It's still at least £2 just to go 1 stop up the road; again you have to stand, chavs aplenty line the aisle having conversations across the bus: 'yes bruvs', 'no bruvs', 'trust me bruvs', almost in three part harmony. The baby at the front is crying, the diva behind you is on her mobile phone and you sit there tediously moving through the traffic slower than walking pace. Then you have 33 sweaty school boys bundle on, block the exit and spend their entire journey throwing balled up paper at each other. On top of all of that you have the drivers. They have a warped sense of power and never smile. They think they own the road and I'm pretty sure they get their driving licence free with a Fisher Price 'My First Car' kit. And yes, we have to pay for these experiences. 

My feelings about public transport aside, it is my dealing with bus drivers at work which sends me into a blind rage. It's not the fact that they pull out on me without indicating, block the road when my sirens are blaring so they can continue their drop off and picks, or even flip me the bird because I cause them to have to move out the way for me. It's none of that. It's there bone idle, lazy abuse of the ambulance service every single day. 

6am starts are wrong; when you leave the house it is too early for breakfast and I generally ignore the alarm for so long that coffee isn't even an option. We checked over our vehicle, made a coffee and I put my toast in the toaster. JOB! Typical. About half a mile away the update came through:

"Patient on 84 bus in bus station"

I looked frantically around for something to throw in frustration. There was nothing. I suddenly developed fluent 'French' and filled the cab with all sorts of expletives. God knows what my blood pressure raised to but apparently my face was bright red. Admittedly I was pre-judging the job, but having done the same thing countless times I was fully prepared for what was about to happen. 

We pulled into the bus station and headed for the bus with its hazard lights on. In the cab was the driver, feet up on the dashboard, newspaper in hand and a COFFEE on the dashboard. As I approached, the door was opened for me. The moron behind the glass pointed upstairs and said:

"He's upstairs at the back"

"Can you take us too him then? Who's up there with our unconscious patient?"

The driver looked extremely put out but I didn't move an inch until he got out of his cab. I gestured for him to go ahead of us. As he started to go up the stairs the (not so fast) response car arrived. A patient unconscious and possibly not breathing gets a full works and highest category of call. The two vehicles have just cost the tax payer £1500. We followed the driver up and sure enough, at the back of the bus in the corner, was our patient, asleep.....

"When you called you said the patient was unconscious, he isn't"

"I thought he was"

"He's asleep"

The driver just shrugged his shoulders.

"HELLO, wakey wakey, rise and shine!!" I shouted whilst shaking his leg.

His eyes burst open with shock. What a rude awakening! He didn't have a clue what was going on! He had simply fallen asleep on the bus. He had been up all night and had waited for the first bus and had nodded off. Now he needed to go back in the other direction. He hadn't even been drinking! He was very apologetic for 'wasting our time' and headed off on his merry way.

"Don't worry fella, we all get tired, and it wasn't you who called us, apparently it takes an ambulance to say 'wakey wakey'!"

He laughed, I felt smug, my crew mate cringed and the bus driver frowned.

"It's not my job to wake people up, it's not my problem if they fall asleep"

"But it is the ambulances job to get your passenger off your bus?! Such a waste of resources"

"We are not allowed to, for health and safety"

"What?! You're not allowed to talk to people, say 'Hello' or 'Wake up'?!"

"No, they might be violent"

"True, best get a couple of girls to come and do it. Do me a favour; don't say unconscious and not breathing unless they are both of them. If they are unconscious and not breathing you should be looking after them, not reading your paper. Unbelievable"

With that, I grabbed my bag and stomped off.

Every single day these people are wasting time and money through sheer laziness and blatant lying. They don't even try. They look in their mirror and see someone still on the bus and call us. What if someone was actually dying? What if they were having a stroke, a hypo or worse, had gone into cardiac arrest and needed CPR?! Does health and safety mean they cannot help a member of the public, the paying public, when in need? This is not what an 'Emergency Ambulance' is for, this is not how the taxpayer's money should be spent, and most importantly, this is not a reason for me to miss breakfast and go without coffee. Now where in God's name is the nearest Costa?!!!


  1. I was a bus driver for 2 years, and I would never have done this. Probably explains why I got out as soon as I can 'cos most of my work mates would be like that.
    I once had a guy fall asleep on top deck late sat night. I tried waking him 4 times, I watch other passengers try too, but no luck. I knew he was only asleep but I was all out of ideas, when a police officer walked past the bus while I was stopped, a quick chat, he followed me up stairs. At first he just nudged the guy with his foot, then he shouted had shock him, still nothing, so he slapped him real hard! That worked :) and the officer escorted sleepy off my bus, pointed him in the direction of the taxi rank, said good night to me and off they went.

    1. I am extremely chuffed a bus driver has commented! You clearly were in the wrong job! If only more had your attitude. I know I can't tar them all with same brush but like everything I see at work, I dont see the drivers like you because they don't call us!!

  2. Why are bus drivers not all first aiders. Surely would be a great help.

    1. Becomes bus company's won't pay for it.
      It is a shame, Ive seen a few times when it would've been really useful

    2. Money vs necessity. Giving them training also means they are obliged to act and break their own 'hands off rule'. As DeltaAlphaEcho says, they won't pay for it!

  3. Bus drivers are tossers. However a hilarious article! And to be fair, more blogs like this to raise awareness of the Cinderella service an the abuse that we get from Jo Public without any consequence whatsoever!!

    1. Thanks for the comment! There has to be fines! How they will be implemented I don't know but somethings got to give!

  4. Maybe the Ambulance Service should charge the bus companies a nominal amount - let's say £100 - every time that a crew get called out to someone who is blatantly just asleep, or a bit drunk?

    1. Problem is they will claim they are not medically trained so won't know the difference between just drunk and genuinely unconscious! I just want the bus drivers to check before calling!

  5. It should be a legal requirement that bus drivers hold a valid HSE approved first aid certificate an the bus should carry a first aid kit! I once saw an elderly lady slip off the step as she alighted the bus and she caught her shin on the kerb as she fell and cut herself to ribbons. There was blood everywhere an the driver just sat tere with a blank expression on his face! I wasn't a first aider then otherwise I'd have helped but luckily there was a nurse on board so she was able to help until the Ambulance arrived (apparently it went through as an RTC so the police turned up too, and they ha to stand the water faries down - which probably didn't go down too well cuz they wouldn't have got to cut anything)

    1. Ive seen that before. Woman fall off bus translates to a bus vs pedestrian and every man and his dog arrives! You are right though, any person involved with transporting the public, bus drivers, train drivers, even taxi drivers should have first aid kits and basic training.

  6. I know this is an old post - I was Googling for something else when I came across it - but just wanted to say my dad'd a private hire (pre-booked only taxi) driver, and they *do* have to have first aid kits that meet a certain standard. Oddly I don't think they have to have the training to go with them! Though my dad does, just the qualification's not current - he taught me as soon as I was big enough to have some idea what he was talking about, and I got my own first aid cert at 18.


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