I've been quiet for a while. Part of that is being busy and another part has been constructing some cardinal rules of tram driving. It's a list (so far quite large) of stuff they don't tell you when you're being trained and it's from a driver's perspective, so don't get crabby if you feel left out - you can leave a passengers perspective in the comments section if you feel that way inclined! If you can imagine a conversation between the new recruit and the battle-hardened sergeant in a war movie before the newbie gets killed.
1. There is a strong, positive correlation between passenger loading and the distance from the cabin to the defective door that won't open or close.
2. Accidents and delays will occur during the following periods
(a) On your very last trip before finishing.
(b) On your last trip before lunchtime.
(c) When all that coffee you drank catches up with you.
(d) Right next to the only parked car for miles, causing all those lovely patient cars to remind you of your occupation, instead of reminding them they're tools for driving on tramlines.
(e) The tram in question will be followed by fifteen of the laziest, most stubborn and surly tram drivers who would rather wait for mechanics than get out and see if they can help.
(f) When you have a collision, there will be an overwhelming temptation to snot the passenger who asks how long it will be without even asking if you're ok or offering help. Don't do it.
(g) Hit the brakes to avoid an accident, and passengers will abuse you for stopping too quickly. Vomit in front of them from the shock and they still won't be convinced. Crash, and they'll get stuck into you for making them late.
3. When you need to make up time, traffic will magically appear and every stop will be in demand. When you need to lose time, these same cars and passengers will magically vanish.
4. The smaller the gap between you and the parked car, the faster and riskier they will drive to make it through. And just to prove to the world beyond a reasonable doubt they are morons, only after they risk life and limb will they put their seatbelt on.
5. A line of perfectly patient, waiting cars will be turned into utter chaos as every car behind the appearing tram tries to cut it off. Those cutting in, even faced with an empty lane hundreds of metres long, will still cut the tram off (that has massive blind spots and can't steer) instead of going up further and risking the ire of fellow motorists.
6. The van turning right in front of you will always here your gong perfectly and take it personally. Unlike the taxi speeding past your open doors and narrowly avoiding the alighting passengers whom you were aiming it at.
7. You have not "seen it all".
8. When you make plans for your day off, the depot starter will wake you at 4am begging you to come in and work because all hell's broken loose. When you have no plans at all and are first on the list, everyone will turn up to work, everything will function properly and the phone will remain silent.
9. Everyone turns up to work on a day off and drives the wrong way by mistake. Limit it to once of each, and you won't stand out.
10. The busier the traffic traveling in the more lanes available, the more stupid moves the intending passengers will pull to make the tram.
11. The frequency of the trams will matter not to the suicidal passengers who have to be on THAT tram. The following tram could be one 30 minutes away or right up your clacker - they will run at you like it's life and death (which they make it). Parents will drag their kids through danger as well.
12. When cars stuff you up, you just have to wait it out. When trams stuff up motorists, they sometimes have to be cut out. Remember this.
13. When your tram develops a defect, you will look for the most complicated issue and solution. It's never the case, but you'll waste 10 minutes before you realise this, but so long as you look like you know what you're doing, nobody else knows this little secret.
14. School holidays suck when they're on because we have to try and lose time. They suck when they go back because of more passengers/traffic/angry 4WDs. There is no win.
15. That drunk, with breath like Old Spice, will eventually get up the front and talk to you, the trapped captive audience who now has to pretend to care so as to avoid "angry drunk Old Spice guy", who is nowhere near as cool or verbally proficient as "Old Spice Guy".
16. You will cop abuse from passengers. You might stop the tram to save kids from the burning orphanage, but there'll always be someone who sees past your second-degree burns and demands to know why the tram isn't moving. You can't change this.
17. If someone insults your weight (yes, sitting down all day tends to make you fat), don't ever say it's because their mother/father bakes them cookies after you have intimate relations with her/him. It will only sound awesome to you. The manager and other passengers won't think the same.
18. Passengers will sometimes ask what you consider to be "The Stupidest Questions in the History of Stupid Questions". Now you know how your trainer felt. However unlike you or your trainer, passengers don't spend all day on the trams. Remember this.
19. Passengers running for the tram think you waiting is fantastic. Those already on board think you suck for holding up their trip.
20. Yarra Trams is not responsible for every car accident, truck/bridge crash, burst water main, freeway closure, roadworks delay, wayside collision/fatality or event that can impact a service that uses the middle of the road. Somehow, after over 100 years of electric trams, this concept manages to elude thousands of people.