Craig Liffen
February 2017.

What's it like to be a night bus driver?

1 answer

“There are less people getting on the bus at night than during the day, and less traffic generally, which is great for me. If you’re happy with peace and quiet then it’s the job for you. From Sunday through to Thursday it’s a calm job. At some points during the night on those days, the bus you’re driving will be empty, with maybe only one or two people on the bus between one and three am.

“The roads are quiet and the likelihood of having an accident at night is down to the person behind the wheel, in my opinion. Accidents don’t shoot up because it’s gone midnight. Some people aren’t built to stay up all night. I’m better at night, so it works for me – I’ve never had an accident at night and I think it’s a safer time to drive because of the sheer lack of volume on the road.

“You don’t need any specialist driving qualifications beyond the basic requirements either. A good night bus driver is someone who’s punctual, rarely goes sick and gets on with the job – the bus company want to be able to leave you out there on the road to get the work done.

“Violence isn’t as common as people would imagine. I think I’ve only had two fights on my bus in ten years."

“At weekends you have the party-goers and the drunks, but it’s not that bad. The people who get on the bus during on Friday and Saturday generally want to be there, so there’s a nicer atmosphere. Whereas people travelling during the day have to be on the bus to get to work so they’re less likely to want to have a laugh.

“If you can accept everybody being a little bit rowdy and a little bit drunk then you can have a joke with the customers on a weekend. Sometimes you might get a little bit of trouble, but nobody has caused me a problem personally. I’ve never felt scared or threatened and I’ve driven all over London.

  • Night bus driving: not as chaotic as you would expect. (Flickr)

“Violence isn’t as common as people would imagine. I think I’ve only had two fights on my bus in ten years. Both of them were alcohol fuelled and both of them were a group of blokes fighting over girls. When there’s trouble like that we call a Code Red – that’s an alert, which connects us directly to the police and they’ll come to the scene if required.

“Of course you do get people throwing up on the bus, but that’s not a nightly thing, in fact it would happen probably only once a month. That doesn’t bother me as a driver, and once it happens the bus has to go back to the depot for cleaning. It’s hazardous, so you’re not allowed to have it on the bus. It’s also better if it happens at the end of the night because then we get to finish early while the vehicle’s being cleaned up.”

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