I have been on buses in other towns and cities a lot of late. One thing I have noted is that people sit in their seats until the bus has come to a halt at a stop. This doesn’t happen much in Ludlow. Passengers in our town, many elderly, stand up well before the bus stop despite the “Stopping” sign having been illuminated. This is dangerous and completely unnecessary. Passengers should remain seated until the bus comes to a halt at the stop. It is time to ditch this dangerous habit. We don’t want anyone injured. We want our bus services to run smoothly for the benefit for everyone in our community.
I have been thinking about this issue for a while. I travel on Minsterley Motors 722 service in and out of Ludlow town centre most days of the week. The drivers are excellent. They know their customers and where to drop them off. All the passenger needs to do is press the bell and the “Stopping” sign lights up. This also flags up on the driver’s dashboard and the bus stops at the next bus stop or dropping off point.
However, many Ludlow passengers feel the need to stand up and approach the bus door while the bus is in transit. This is dangerous and unnecessary. There is no need to stand before the bus halts. The safest thing to do is to stay seated. If the driver must hit the brakes to prevent a road accident, it could lead to a standing passenger being badly injured.
I have spoken to passengers about this. Their motives in standing while the bus is approaching the bus stop are mixed. Some do not want to delay the bus. But even when our buses are delayed in traffic, local drivers will always ensure there is enough time for people get on and off the bus in the safest manner.
Another reason given is that, “we have always stood up before the bus stop”. I reckon this habit is mostly an age issue. I am old enough to remember having to pull a string on the ceiling to get the bus to stop. The string was replaced with a strip bell which was also on the ceiling. Too often if you were not near the door, the bus failed to stop. Too many times in my young days I heard the driver cry: “Didn’t hear the bell mate” The “Stopping” sign came in the late 1970s. It is a much underrated innovation that made huge improvements to the quality of a bus trip. But we don’t seem to have adjusted to this innovation in Ludlow.
The inspiration for this blog post comes from a bus journey in Ludlow yesterday. The bus driver insisted that a passenger sit down for safety after she had rung the bell around 250 metres from the bus stop. The bus driver was correct. The A49 junction ahead needed split second decision-making. If the driver needed to stand on the brakes it could have been dangerous.
The day before I was travelling on buses in Bristol. No one in that city stood up before the bus had come to the halt. It has been the same on buses I have travelled on in Shrewsbury, Northampton, North Wales, Liverpool, Chester and many other places in recent months. Passengers simply signal they need to get off at the next stop and the bus comes to a halt. Then they stand.
It is time to ditch the dangerous habit of passengers in Ludlow standing before the bus comes to a stop. We don’t want anyone injured. We want our bus services to run smoothly for the benefit for everyone in our community.