Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Happy Birthday from Denmark!!

Popular bus drivers - Christchurch has always had a good reputation for good bus drivers, good service.  I catch 20 - 30 buses on a quiet week, so I'm encountering all firms, many different drivers, a few them old mates, some new friends, most strangers. There's always the odd exception but I think this tradition of good service is still very much alive.  Most people call out thanks to the bus driver when they get off a bus in Christchurch, for good reason.

Driving the same route mostly, albeit in rotating shifts, or driving the same route/same trips every day allows bus drivers to get to know regular passengers, and vice versa. Indeed the short empathetic conversations of "how's yer Bert's lumbago?" variety with diverse people, and hugely diverse types of people, is one of the big stimulus factors, can make for a richly fulfilling day. In the old days with greater public transport use and more stable neighbourhoods this often meant passengers knew each other better as neighbours and would discuss things including bus drivers at their stop. This led to more than a few presentations for popular bus drivers - here in Christchurch,1957, Albert Gardenbroek found a conspiracy of passengers on the Sumner route lead to a decorated bus for his coming marriage. Twenty nine passengers signed a birthday card and put money in the hat to buy Albie and his wife-to-be a wedding present - a mantle clock. (Not because he ran late the passengers assured The Star photographer who took the snap above - he always managed to deliver his passengers "in The Square exactly at 7.54 am"). Albie himself went on to clock up about 55-60 years Christchurch city bus driving, only possible since the compulsory retirement age was abolished.

However it would be hard to beat the popularity of the driver in this U-Tube from Denmark - how passengers responded when they found it was their favourite bus drivers birthday (thanks correspondent John for forwarding this one)

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