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The Canberra Times, 4 March 1946. via Trove

To: The Editor, “The Canberra Times.”

Sir. –It was intensely interesting to read of the condemnation of a Canberra ‘bus driver, as reported by a correspondent, “Not That Again, Please.” I have been living in Canberra six months now, after some years in Sydney, and as I average between 30 and 40 miles each day on buses here, I feel I can say a few words in defence of our transport personnel.

Firstly, there is no comparison between Sydney drivers and conductors with those here. I have yet to ride on a Canberra bus that is driven as roughly as those in Sydney. To me, the spectacle of drivers here, waiting until elderly persons are seated before they move off, is nothing short of amazing after years of metropolitan travel. I also notice that no matter how full a bus is, they will always stop for waiting passengers.

I think there is nothing more annoying than to have a crowded or near crowded bus fly past, leaving you gnawing your finger nails in frustration because you feel certain that you could have scrambled on somewhere. Of course, Sydney drivers have a severe time table to adhere to, consequently, by pulling up when crowded to let more passengers on would undoubtedly make great difference to their schedule. But I amagine (sic) buses here have a time table to keep, and obviously, by pulling up at every stop they find themselves hard pressed to keep to a time table.

The only way to regain lost time, of course, is by speed, or the alternative, not to give a hang and let everyone be late home from work. After an estimate of the mileage of Canberra buses since their inception, in proportion to the number of accidents they have had, I have every confidence in their drivers’ ability.

If our friend were to converse with bus crews, he would find they have three different classifications for their journeys, i.e., fast, normal and slow. A driver who is unfortunate enough to find himself with a crowded vehicle on a fast run, and after leaving a shopping centre, either makes no attempt to regain lost time, arrives late for his next journey and lands everyone home late for tea, or endeavours to regain his lost time and by doing so brings dirty looks and uncomplimentary remarks regarding his driving to his person.

I suggest bus crews here treat the public too kindly, that they be sent for a month to work on Sydney buses to undergo a toughening up course, and on completion they will be hard-bitten, rough maniacs, and will no doubt reduce persons like our correspondent to nervous wrecks, plaintively crying out for the drivers they once condemned.

Yours, etc.

T. R. BILLINGS. Kingston.

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