“I love the day to day running, managing to keep everything moving on the road. Sometimes I’ll cover one of the staﬀ that does night shift and books out all the vehicles. He starts at midnight and books the whole ﬂeet out through the night. I help on my usual duty sometimes but I’ll cover him if he’s oﬀ as I quite enjoy doing it!
There are two of us and its like a giant jigsaw, we have a tablet with a giant parking plan and type in where every bus is parked. Obviously we have certain buses that need to go out and back in at certain times due to servicing and inspection so the parking of them is crucial. If one bus is half way up a row, its like a puzzle trying to get to it to get it out!
A lot of the buses are branded at Caledonia so they tend to sit together so that makes things a bit easier but the basic ﬂeet can be challenging as there’s only so much the shunters can do because they’ve so many buses they need to fuel and shunt.
Sometimes there’ll be one buried in a certain row that you need for a certain schedule and sometimes you end up having to move the buses out the way and ﬁnd somewhere else to put them so that one bus can get out on a particular run! I like allocating each bus to each run and when you see the buses out on the road you know you made that happen! But honestly I love all parts of my job! If I didn’t work in the bus industry I think I would have worked on the trains. When I was younger it was always a thought in my mind but it was my second choice as I always wanted to work on the buses, from being a really young lad its always been my passion. Public Transport has always been my interest so what was a hobby is now a job!
I think coming out of the pandemic there will be people that might never use the bus again because their circumstances have changed but there is also the opportunity for people who have never used the bus or rarely used might think “I could do that diﬀerently now”. I think there is a fear that we will never get back to 100% but I do think there is an opportunity to get new people especially with people doing mixed oﬃce/home working and deciding not to run cars.
There’s going to be a fair bit of change in Caledonia depot as we see more electric buses come through. We’ve got 2 just now with a further 22 planned for the end of summer. And I’m really excited to hear the latest news of further funding for more electric buses over the coming years. We are already the largest depot and we’ll be the largest depot with the most electric buses!”