Thursday, 15 November 2007
As my route to college would normally involve catching three buses either way, the college has employed a local bus company to provide transport to college for those in my area. This service has largely been good, with only the single instance of a bus that was half an hour early to mar the reputation.
On Wednesday however, the bus was involved in a small accident with another vehicle. This was not due to the driver of the bus (Admittedly from secondhand evidence, as I was away at an English Language event), but due to the other party.
What I have found unnerving, however, is the events of this morning.
Half an hour after the bus should have arrived at my stop (the first on it's route), it was nowhere in sight. So I rang the company. I was told there had been an accident, and it was a good idea to arrange alternative transport. No problem, as another of the four of us at the stop had phoned his parents for a lift. He was happy to offer the rest of us a lift also.
We went in the direction the bus would have come from, and the tailbacks were horrendous. And I then saw why. Three fire engines, so many police cars I lost count, and the double decker bus lodged firmly into a railway bridge.
The photo at the bottom of this article outlines the extent of the damage. The bridge had acted as a tin-opener, peeling the roof off. As we went past, and for the rest of the day, I was preoccupied. The double deckers usually take a different route to avoid the bridge. This was obviously a new driver. But it happened in the mroning, with no passenger. If this had happened in the evening, there would have been 70-odd 16-18yr olds on that bus, and for those in the front half of the top deck it would have been game over.
It's a sobering thought. The bridge had a sign warning it was only 13ft high. The bus would have had a sign stating it's height somewhere in the cabin. And it still happened.
For the first time, I was nervous about getting home that noght. Thankfully we were provided with a single decker sardine can coach, which would be able to fit under the bridge anyway.
I am appalled and scared for two reasons: Firstly, I could have been killed if that had happened on the return run, and secondly, because when I pass my test it will be people like this I have to share the road with. And if they can merrily plough buses into bridges, would they think twice about performing some other similarly stupid manouvre?
I don't think so.