Reader’s letter This is a debate entry, written by an external contributor. The post expresses the writer’s views.
When I started driving the bus, motorists were advised to leave the car and travel by public transport to get there on bad days. Today, the call is a home office for those who can and a car for those who have to. You can’t rely on public transport. What happened?
When I started driving a bus for a private bus company 30 years ago, the bus company was responsible for the route running in an area. They proposed bus routes that were approved by SL (Greater Oslo Lokaltrafikk) and ordered buses in consultation with the drivers.
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The buses were adapted to the routes and route departures with extra equipment the buses could use. They were equipped with proper spiked chains that could be used on snow and ice. The buses were often produced in the Nordics, built for Nordic conditions. Blue. insulated with plenty of room for chain use. And the buses had different lengths for their use.
We had e.g. articulated buses with engine and drive in the middle, and not in the trailer as the latest articulated buses have. In addition, it was installed on-site. And if the conditions were so bad that it was difficult for certain types of buses, the company could switch to more suitable buses.
Can be expensive
Today, the bus companies often only have 1 to 2 types of buses that must go on the routes determined by the client. It may cost the company NOK 5,000 in fees to the client per departure that is driven by another type of bus. So when the conditions are bad for an articulated bus with the drive on the trailer, the companies do not have other bus types to deploy. The route will then be set.
A route is otherwise considered set if not everyone stops are served. This means that difficult driving conditions on parts of the route make it as expensive and difficult as driving the rest of the route, as a notified suspension can cost the company NOK 15,000 per departure. A price that is the same if all or part of the route is cancelled. The companies save fuel costs by canceling the entire route.
Ask the drivers
Due to road/driving conditions, I have arrived just before the bus departure which stands on the platform and unloads passengers. The bus I drove should have left 10 minutes earlier and will also have the next departure starting 10 minutes later.
Before, the companies solved this by leaving the bus standing until it was on schedule for the departure. Now you have to drive right before the next departure starts and arrive late to the next departure and to the next departure, because otherwise it costs the company NOK 30,000. This can be perceived as early departure of the passengers, but are delays that propagate in the present to be resolved due to fees from the client.
The public transport service is about to be destroyed by fees, poor and cheap solutions and buses.
When will someone contact the drivers again to get input on good solutions?
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