Let me first start this off by putting on the record that it was pretty much mission impossible to find a bus driver to have a little chinwag with me. I found that hard to believe as there are roughly 9,000 vehicles operating in London. But I have to respect the do not disturb while driving sign, so the only logical solution was to travel to Camberwell bus garage. OKAY, yes most drivers blanked me, literally received the cold shoulder and one lady sincerely promised, “I’ll be back in a minute”…. a rainy tumble-weave hour later, I clearly got the message that she will never return. Understanding the daily stress from dealing with unruly passengers and traumatic London traffic could be a factor, so wasn’t offended that they weren’t in the mood. Cause Lord knows I’ve witnessed many a bus journeys where the bus driver literally shutdown the bus due to disorderly people. But hey that’s their prerogative. Those situations are to be expected in the trendy streets of one of the highest crime rated places of the dirty South (London, that is).
Luckily for me TFL must have a good service at this moment and I managed to get a few words with a 25 year old by the name of Fabien. Having just finished his extensive shift on the 185 bus route from Victoria to Lewisham, I instantly noticed his French accent. “Yeah you noticed, I came here for University and done my studies.” I bet like me your wondering why he stayed, “I met my wife here and decided to say” he says with a grin from ear to ear. His main girl was the main reason for Fabien being on road for 6 years now. “At first, I just needed money”, where living in Central London is beyond ridiculous with it costing on average £750 to rent. As there’s never a shortage of Bus drivers this was an obvious first option for him. Bus driving services are always on the hunt for new recruits due to half of all UK bus trips taking place in London. “But” he says with an upbeat tone in his voice. “now things have changed and yeah I’ve grown to like it here.”
London like most capitals are known for pretty high crime rates with a 27% escalation this year but Fabien is not phased by these National statistics and informs me that “I don’t really get any major trouble on my bus, it’s very rare and I’m very lucky”. However with the digital revolution looming upon us Fabien and other bus drivers have other troubles ahead. This has come in the form of robot bus drivers. Fabien’s eyes widened with disbelief in his voice saying, “this is impossible, how and why do they have robot driving buses?” Well it’s been around for some time now with other countries in the world already adopting this concept and we will be the next to follow suit in five years. “If I have to lose my job because of robots I don’t mind, I will just find a new job. There are so many things you have to take in account when driving a bus. And I don’t think robots can do what I do” I would have to agree with Fabien and would like to end on the note of: robots are coming for your job, so what are we going to do about it?