If it’s possible to be kidnapped by a bus driver, then tonight I was indeed kidnapped by a bus driver. This was about 20 minutes after he nearly knocked me off my bike on my ride home.
I’ve had a near miss with a First bus once before and the complaint I made then, with precise details of the bus and the driver, got me nowhere so this time I was determined to gather evidence to support a more effective pursuit of this particular knobhead bus driver.
I was just setting off from a green light at the bottom of Silk Street in Salford when a 93 bus drifted across the junction and ended up right behind me after going through a completely and utterly red light. Obviously I wasn’t best pleased with this and words were exchanged. I couldn’t understand what he mouthed at me, but he also took a hand off the steering wheel of his 14 tonne vehicle to give me the bird. Looking over my shoulder I memorised the number of the bus, part of its registration and a rough description of the driver: white, 40-ish , bespectacled and bus driver ugly. As I progressed along Great Clowes St collecting my senses, letting my blood pressure subside and watching out for other traffic he turned left along Lower Broughton Road.
Now I knew that the 93 runs through Prestwich Village so I thought I’d meet him later, catch the rest of the registration plate and see if any of the passengers on-board would back up my version of events. The next 15 minutes gave me time to properly calm down and once at the bus stop near the end of St Ann’s Road I calmly locked my bike up, took off my distinctive hi-viz and helmet and checked with the people at the bus stop if any were waiting for the 93. A girl in her 20s said yes and I asked if she would witness what was going to happen next. I promised her that I was going to neither swear nor threaten the knobhead bus driver but I guessed he might make fictitious claims as to my behaviour. She didn’t say no but clearly wasn’t too keen to get involved (who could blame her) so I didn’t press her for her contact details ahead of whatever was going to happen next.
10 minutes later the bus pulled up, I let the other 2 passengers on and then said to the driver “Remember me?” He affected a confused and gormless expression (which came easily to his ugly face) which continued as I explained the circumstances under which I had met him earlier and he stuck rigidly to a defence along the lines of “It wasn’t me”. I can’t remember exactly what was said but at one point he closed the doors, turned the engine off, picked up his radio and said he was going to call the Police to which I responded “suits me”. He then decided not to call the police and said “Let’s go for a ride then” which is when I would argue the “kidnapping” started. He was a bit flustered by now and was threatening to either drive to the closest police station or straight to the depot in Bury. I wasn’t bothered either way. As we made our way along Bury New Road I walked down the vehicle asking if any of the dozen passengers were on the bus at the bottom of Silk St. Lots of blank expressions and nobody was willing to back me up. So I wandered back to the cab saying that sadly it looked like it was just my word against his.
He pointed out that I hadn’t paid for the last 300 metres worth of journey and I said that I didn’t want to go anywhere anyway so he had “kind of kidnapped me”. We had reached an impasse, both respecting the fact that the other had neither resorted to violence nor bad language. He was going to have to stop to drop off a passenger soon but decided he would end the embarassment ASAP and stopped the bus straight away. He asked if I wanted to get off, I said yes and walked back through the village to my bike.
I will report the driver to First Buses for running the red light but don’t expect anything will happen, however this time will threaten to contact the police if no disciplinary action is taken. If any of the local cycle readership can share experiences or success stories reporting knobhead bus drivers I would appreciate it.
Life’s never dull.