It would seem that we have made a difference.
TfL have sent urgent communications out to their bus drivers, on the Back of our emails about driver behaviour and attitude.
Suddenly it couldn’t be more different. The buses now stop in the right Place and the driver gets out of his ‘locked behind Perspex’ cabin and asks me if I’m ok, and where I want to get off.
One said ‘ there’s been a wheelchair user that’s been receiving bad treatment around here, and we’ve all received messages that we have to be very helpful ‘.
The thing is that when the drivers get out and speak to you, suddenly it becomes human contact, with words exchanged and eye contact made, and then it’s a ‘ relationship ‘ and trust is formed. I NEED to trust the bus drivers to be helpful to me. I’m completely at the mercy of their attitude, and when it’s positive, it’s lovely.
And it’s a 2 way thing – I think it’s nice for them too to hear us say thank you. Everyone likes to feel good, and a few words delivered pleasantly, or the receipt of praise, is a powerful thing.
I’d actually talked to ( Baroness) Tanni Grey- Thompson, The Wheelchair Olympian, who sits on the board of TfL ( well she wouldn’t be standing on any boards, for sure ). We chatted for about 20 Minutes the other day. She said that the bus drivers get lots of abuse from people, and possibly that makes them tend to be prickly when it comes to ‘ customer service ‘. I completely understand that, of course.
Next time you catch a London Bus, do smile at the driver and say something cheerful. It may make his / her day?