First week back at work – Day 1

So as with most coach drivers across the country, I’ve recently found myself with very little to do other than sit at home wondering when we might be back doing what we do best. The current Covid19 situation has decimated 95% of coach operators which are generally family run, just like ours. Some big names have left the scene but the majority of operations are effectively shut down with very few having much to do.

Then just the other day I got the text from my manager asking me to come back. It might only be for a week but it’s better than nothing! Of course I’d always been in touch as we look forward to taking on more contracts – and try out some new ideas – in September. Until then though, we are all on furlough with the little work left being shared out between those of us on full time contracts.

It’s great to be back! Many of the fleet have been laid up for 4 months…

This week it’s my turn to be back in the driving seat, literally. After 16 weeks off it felt amazing to be back doing what I’ve (nearly) always done in my working career.

So I’ve got 4 days work this week, and it started today with a nice easy school run, to one of our regular schools. It was a mix of three different routes to take the small number of children to school who were in today. Talk about being eased back in gently!

Allocated the ‘new’ Mercedes Tourismo in our fleet for today’s short trip

After checking the coach over I left the depot at 0720, a time I’ve not seen for months! I’ve got used to getting up late so it will be nice to get back into a routine… all too soon I was dropping the few kids (all 7 of them!) off at school and then back at the depot little over an hour later. With three hours to wait until the return run – they must only do half a day – I set about starting to rewrite all of the destination lists to include all of the new routes that we have from September.

It’ll be nice to have the entire bunch of college services that I used to drive in my previous job back under one roof as it were. Coatham have picked up 4 additional routes to a local college so we will operate 12 routes from September. It’s testament to the hard work of all of us to make it work and to our management team for putting the investment in to enable this expansion to happen.

One of our PSVAR ready Levantes having undergone a transformation during this quiet period. We’ve got two of these, both rebuilt externally and internally during summer 2020.

Time seemed to fly and soon it was time to go back to the school to do my return run and take the same kids home again after their easy day. Again it took little over an hour and then it was the end of my first day too. After disinfecting the seats and touch points on my coach of course. During this unusual period we’ve all stepped up our cleaning procedures including daily ‘fogging’ of the coaches. I’ll try to get a picture of that as it’s certainly something new!

I’ll try to do a daily blog of this week so check back to see what else I get up to. It’s certainly a varied week looking at what’s currently planned. I’ve been watching a number of ‘blogs’ on YouTube and just wish I had the confidence to talk to a camera. For now you’ll have to put up with a written blog…

Until next time, drive safe!

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