A bus driver

There are more and more rules being set to limit the use of cell phones by drivers of public transport. This video spurred Metro an american transport company to introduce a one strike rule (if seen using a cell phone once immediate dismissal will ensue).  The case below shows that communication between drivers has a long history and did not start with the mobile phone.

J. started to drive buses in 1985.  He always has his mobile phone with him and, when he is working, he will make his personal communications during the breaks (the long ones at the terminus – here he tends to use the vocal channel more than the written one –, the short ones at the main bus station, if he is not chit chatting with his colleagues) and sometimes when he has to wait for the lights to turn green or has to wait at a bus stop for people to climb in… He thus is always “connected” to people even though – in his own words – in a responsible way: being concentrated while driving comes as number one priority.

“It depends: when you are at the terminus, you’re all alone. So I usually use this time to call back or write and SMS to people who have tried to reach me, because I don’t answer to the phone while I’m driving. But when we’re at the station, I usually chit chat a few minutes with my colleagues… But we also write SMS to each other… For example if we passed by one another and something happened or we just want to say hello, well we use this channel. Before, we used to use the bus’s radio but they changed policy about its usage… But it’s true that we used the bus’s radio channel a lot! Sometimes you would hear “silence on the line!” and someone would answer “wait, I still want to add something…” and it never ended! It was terrible! (He laughs). But like in other places, things have changed… But we still communicate a lot, using our mobile phones… I think it’s also because our work is very social… We are in contact with loads of people.”

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