I don’t normally make a big fuss of things as I am quite a tolerant person, however the other day I had a couple run ins with ACTION BUS drivers. Both incidents occurred at the same intersection within 1 hour of each other. One face value they may seem trivial, but I think it demonstrates an underlying negative culture that ACTION Bus drivers have toward pedestrians.
Let me first set the scene of incident number 1. As you can see from attached photo I was wearing a highly visible bright yellow top, not for fashion reasons but because of having just stepped off the construction site I was working on as project manager of multimillion dollar residential development. Being on construction sites you quickly learn not to take your safety for granted and so keep your whits about you even with all the safety systems in place as required by OH&S laws. Its now a habit of mine which has saved me countless times when visiting overseas lesser developed countries.
The location of the first incident was as shown in the attached photo, is the eastern corner of Northbourne Ave and Allara st. leading into the civic bus interchange at around 12:30pm on Tuesday 20th August 2013. So you can imagine there would be a lot of pedestrians busily walking to get there lunch.
After checking the pedestrian crossing lights were green, I was just about to cross the intersection in a southward direction toward the Sydney building when as my foot began to touch the asphalt of the road an ACTION bus began turning the corner off Northbourne into Allara and with out hesitation continued on its way narrowly missing me. Had I been relying on the traffic lights to guide me through the intersection alone I would have ended up in the direct path of an on coming bus. Scoreboard would have read game over 1-0 to ACTION. However I did check both sides of the road before crossing and I did see in my peripheral vision the ACTION Bus. I didn’t notice if its indicators where being used, but I did stop myself in my tracks just in case the driver did choose to not make way for me, which he didn’t with out hesitation knowing that I had right of way on multiple fronts and that I was now standing on the side of the road looking to cross it.
Incident number 2 occurred at 1:10pm, at the same intersection on the same day but this time I was heading in a northward direction. Having lost all faith in the bus drivers competence with the basic road rules I thought I would check if it was an isolated case of diminishing IQ. Noticing that all lights at the intersection were red and there was no moving traffic only a stationary ACTION bus waiting at the front of the intersection to cross Northbourne in an westerly direction I began to cross the intersection knowing that it was dangerous to do so, but ultimately relying on my own senses and awareness to get me across safely and not the pedestrian lights which had so dismally failed me earlier on. As I was crossing the intersection the traffic lights for the Bus turned green, by which time I was in direct path, two metres away from the frontal impact zone of the bus. To my astonishment, even while wearing my bright yellow top , I noticed the bus lunge at me. Either the bus driver had not seen me, which I find hard to believe or he was blind as a bat. Intimidation also crossed my mind as the driver may have hoped I would scurry off like a scared rabbit. Either way in my mind I was ready for the drivers intimidation and I just froze, pulled out my right hand, palm facing forward towards the driver in a gesture to halt the drivers mad lust for pedestrian blood. Then I calmly continued on my way to the other side of the intersection by which time the driver of the ACTION bus had continued on his way. I did catch a glimpse of the bus number, something like a 457 was imprinted on the side, but i cant be sure.
From this short experience it can be shown that it is evidence of a sour culture festering with in the ACTION bus organisation. I felt intimidation, lack of empathy, disregard for the road rules from these drivers. I for one don’t feel comfortable in letting such people transport my children to school. There needs to be a shake up and the first heads to role should come from the top.
The day that public transport becomes fully automated (don’t be surprised if we see it in our own life times, its just around the corner) can’t come soon enough.
Please ACTION clean up your act, for the sake of the children at least who frequent your services.
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