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Sunday, 11 July 2010

Hot staff


There's been some comment across at the Omnibuses blog about whether bus drivers should be allowed to wear shorts in hot weather. It's timely as again we are enjoying some hot weather in UK. And I know you can put forward a case by asking staff and passengers on a hot day what they think. (They'll give you the obvious answer).

I am against drivers wearing shorts because, as I have said previously, I am also against airline pilots wearing jeans and T-shirts.

Same reason - it looks unprofessional. Our passengers rely on us to do our jobs safely, professionally, and diligently. Our drivers have to convey that by their knowledge, demeanour, behaviour and appearance as well as their driving skill. A smartly-dressed, clean and tidy driver already gives passengers a good impression which makes them feel comfortable and assured.

There is the question about whether a driver is able to do his job if he is uncomfortable. Clearly he can't and we have made phenomenal progress since he was required to sit in his heavy 'military' wear alongside a big heat-generating engine. Now he has a cab with automatic transmission, power steering, fingertip controls and on most modern vehicles purchased in recent years - cab airconditioning.

For the avoidance of doubt I have no trouble driving a bus for a full shift in my uniform trousers, shirt and tie. Firstly I make sure what I have fits properly. Obviously if anything is too tight that is uncomfortable so it has to be the right size. Secondly I think about my eating and drinking requirements in and around the shift to make sure I am alert, hydrated and capable of doing the shift.

I have the cab aircon on and the cab window SHUT so that the cab stays cool, and I turn off the sources of all known heat like the saloon lights, cab lights, etc.

The cab is the bus driver's office and he deserves to have it properly laid-out, clean and with all the features working. It is sad to have to say that when we find a cab full of old newspapers, cigarette ends, food, litter etc and with features (like the cab aircon unserviceable and unreported) there is no one to take responsibility for this than the driver.

So, my message is, let's raise our game. Look smart, have a healthy eating/drinking lifestyle, be well turned-out and use the equipment as required. And if we raise our game we'll have more satisfied passengers and more revenue.

Am expecting a big reaction!

The ultimate way to stay cool at work - wingwalking here with the Breitling team.

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5 comments:

  1. A postman in uniform issue shorts looks no less professional than one in uniform issue trousers. The Royal mail was the guinea pig and surely others should learn from that.

    Add to this the large numbers of buses that do not have cab aircon - how many provincial buses have it? - and in FirstGroup how many provincial opcos are even allowed adequate new buses these days? They suffer from the direct effects of the sun all day and that is uncomfortable.

    Despite your reasoned arguments is this not another case of British stuffiness meaning we dress traditionally for inappropriate reasons and ignore the 'advice' we could learn from other countries?

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  2. Leon,

    Really can't agree. Surely you've seen how smart drivers can look in Germany, Spain, Switzerland etc - much better than many of our UK drivers in long trousers.

    I can't see why there should be any objection at all as long as they are smart.

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  3. It's not the shorts that are the problem, it's what's between the shorts and the ground that causes concern!! Legs like Gandhi and all manner of unsightly combinations of shoes, sandals and socks!!

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  4. "For the avoidance of doubt I have no trouble driving a bus for a full shift in my uniform trousers, shirt and tie. .......... I have the cab aircon on and the cab window SHUT so that the cab stays cool, and I turn off the sources of all known heat like the saloon lights, cab lights, etc."

    Give me such a cab with aircon and not only would I wear the trousers, shirt and tie but I'd wear a jacket as well if you wanted me to! But, what percentage of the First provincial bus fleet (fare stage work buses, not Greyhound etc.) have aircon in the cab? That's a serious question which needs answering in order to conclude the validity of your 'no shorts' reasoning. Do you have ANY 'regular' buses in your Southampton fleet with aircon - as a passenger I've never encountered one.

    I know the Stagecoach fleet better than the First fleet and in this fleet the brand new Dennis Enviro 300 buses have aircon but not in the cab! The cab is screened and the cooler air from the rest of the bus only gets there by "leakage" into the cab. In five and a half years with Stagecoach I've NEVER driven a 'regular' bus with an aircon outlet in the cab! Are First very, very different to Stagecoach in provincial towns?

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  5. Totally agree with your comments, Leon. We need to present a professional image. Those who really want to wear shorts for the 2 or 3 hot weeks we get every year should get a job as a delivery driver. Highly skilled Professionals should look as they sound.

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