Tuesday 17 July 2007

Spooks in Bus Éireann

Bus Éireann has been infiltrated by a spook from private enterprise. An agent of one of the bigger private operators or perhaps a mid ranking hack at IBEC must have volunteered to go under cover. The agent's mission was to scupper any possibility that bus Éireann would provide a fast, decent expressway service. If the aim was to make bus Éireann look bad, by God it succeeded.

But how could such a spy pass BÉ's rigorous vetting operation? Perhaps he, I'm sure it was a he, for women are still rare in the bus game. Perhaps he answered an ad and sent in a cv ticking all the right boxes. Are you capable of completely ignoring the pleas of a desparately angry customer? Can you make up routes at random? Can you drive as the crow doesn't fly? Are you fond of long fag breaks? Are you certain that it bothers you not to rattle along empty when all customers have turned their backs on your apalling service? Yes to all of the above - you're in.

I'd guess our spy was code-named Thirty, for that's the number of the inane, winding, endless, treck from Donegal Town to Dublin, a dreadful adventure which BÉ calls "expressway". Our agent, Thirty, must have been asked to plan the route which, it turns out, Bus Éireann had recently taken over from a private operator. The private operator took three and a half hours. Thirty would add an hour to cripple BÉ's efforts to make their customer happy. Not only that, Thirty would play games with the routing. Lost villages would be rediscovered; main roads avoided. Better still, to keep customers awake the route would vary. The three o clock would run via Swanlinbar, the six o'clock through Derrylin. And so on. Oh, and Thirty knew well that travelling through Swanlinbar from Donegal to Dublin was the equivalent of going from Galway to Dublin via Sligo.

Now, agent Thirty had a sense of humour, and thinking his preposterous route would be vetoed by managment, he smiled to himself as he clicked send on the mail that proposed it. Oh how he folded with laughter when he opened his in-box the following day to see the mail "approved".

And when he phoned his real boss, IBEC or perhaps CityLink, with the news of his hilarious achievement, they too rolled with laughter, for they now knew that BÉ's attempt to heave its fat girth into the 21st century was well and truly over.

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