this tour life

the bus rules.

April 22, 2015
by

So, you’ve found yourself on a bus (coach) tour. Welcome to living in tight quarters with 10 other people and very little privacy. Now you’ll need to know how to properly conduct yourself in your new home. Knowing the unspoken code of the road will help keep you safe and hopefully make your coworkers not downright resent you.

First and foremost, this is your home on the road. It needs to be treated with the same respect you give your own place. Unless you’re a miserable slob, if that’s the case treat it way better than your own home.

the driver

Learn your drivers name they are a part of the team- and its just polite! The driver is not your maid; cleaning up your mess is not part of their responsibilities nor is it anyone elses.  The driver is there to drive the bus and do light maintenance, not to clean up your 4am Cheetos fight. Remember that at the end of your day, the drivers day is just starting. Check in once in awhile to see if he/she needs anything. Keep your driver happy! The Driver is responsible for more than just getting from point a to point b, ever try to sleep while someone rides the rumble strip? Not fun.

When the bus makes a stop, like at a truck stop for instance, let someone know when you are leaving the bus. You can leave something like your show pass on the jump seat so the driver knows someone has left. You definatly do not want to get left behind- although if you do it would be wise to have the drivers mobile number in case everyone else on the bus is sleeping. Which leads us to another important rule- Bus call. Be on time when the bus is scheduled to depart, don’t get “oil spotted” (left behind).

etiquette

Remember that you now share a very tiny apartment with around 10 other people, so normal roommate etiquette applies  ×1000. Don’t leave your stuff lying around, especially in the bunk area where someone could easily trip in the dark. Tour busses have loads of hidden storage, explore and use it. If you are lucky enough to not have a full bus (12 people), the extra bunk(s) become the “junk bunk” for overflow bags. Luggages goes into the allocated bays which are located underneathe or towards the back and are accessed from the outside of the bus. Be sure to grab the things you may need before the bus starts on its way. Its probably gonna be a long ride.

At all times make sure the bus is locked whenever you exit or after you enter! If you go into one of the luggage bays make sure they are locked after you are finished. This is the responsibility of everyone on the bus. Whenever leaving the bus be conscious of where you are when first opening the door- If the bus is parked on the street you need to be aware that you maybe stepping out into traffic or there may be other obstacles… like people.

You are responsible for who you bring on the bus. Guests should be cleared with the other people who live on this bus. These guests need to be aware of the rules and act accordingly.

No Slamming doors! People may be sleeping… Euro/UK drivers usually have a bunk on the bus for daytime sleeping and you may have a second driver as well for long drives since one driver is only legally allowed to drive for a specified number of consecutive hours.

 

buses in the U.S are usually broken up into 3 sections for passengers.

bus_layout_3

1.)The front lounge.
2.)The bunk area- two rows stacked 3 high on each side.
3.)The back lounge.

U.K/euro busses are usually double deckers with the kitchen, lounge and restroom down stairs and the bunks(3 rows stacked 2 high) and a secondary lounge upstairs. The same rules apply.

The front lounge

generally has some seating, an ice chest, TV’s, a small kitchenette with a booth and a restroom. Some buses have a slide out on the drivers side to expand when parked up. If someone buys some special vegan gluten free item and writes their name on it, feel free to make fun of them, but don’t eat their stuff. Classic roommate no no. Typically, drinks store in the drawers under the front lounge couches, and cold drinks can go in the coolers (beer!).

The restroom is not a general use facility. It is for LIQUID WASTE ONLY. The septic maintenance on chemical toilets is too costly and frequent to justify. Any toilet paper and feminine products go in the waste basket and anything else should wait until the bus stops to refuel. If that is not an option you can ask the driver to stop or as a last resort you can stretch a plastic bag over the toilet. I repeat, this maneuver is as a last resort only. Try not to be gross, ok?

Any water from sinks on the bus should be used for washing/rinsing only. Use bottled water to brush your teeth. Note personal hygiene is that much more significant when in such close contact. Though some buses do have showers they are almost never in operation. You’ll need to shower in the venue or a day room at a hotel, if provided, when venue showers are nonexistent.

When your tired go to your bunk, do not fall asleep in common areas. If you do you will probably wake up with a sharpie illustrated face.

bunk area

Your bunk is your sacred space. It’s often the only place you can go to get a break from the madness. As far as choosing a bunk- first come first serve. If you are joining an existing crew ask what bunks are available. If you need to have a lower/higher bunk for any reason advance this with the tour manager, hopefully they can accommodate you. Try to avoid, tempting as it may be, making phone calls from your bunk- especially when others are sleeping. We can all hear you baby talking with your girlfriend/boyfriend and it’s obnoxious. Your bunk is probably outfitted with a flip down TV that is more useful as a place to hit your head rather than a source of entertainment.

Speaking of hitting your head, make sure you orient yourself with your HEAD TO THE REAR of the bus. If the driver has to brake aggressively you could receive a serious brain or neck injury IF YOUR NOT LAYING FEET TOWARDS THE FRONT.

The bunk area should be kept cold so as not to incubate germs (info here). Getting sick on tour sucks, getting the whole crew sick is hell.

Quality of sleep is drastically affect by the temperature (info here). The optimal temperature varies from 65°F to 72°F with 68°F being what is best for most people .  Use a blanket if your cold, don’t touch the thermostat.

Useful things to have in your bunk:

– Earplugs

– Water

– Headphones

– Book

the back lounge

This consists of seating, closet space, an ice chest and usually a television with video game console. The use of this area depends on the tour. Sometimes its for phone calls and meetings, other times it is just overflow from the front lounge. It all depends on the collective personality of the people riding on the bus.

Most importantly, remember that you were hired as a professional and you should conduct yourself as such. Everyone likes to have a good time but don’t over do it. Don’t be the person that pukes out the top bunk. Don’t be someone who gets so drunk and mistakes someone else’s bunk for the urinal (true story). More often than not people get fired not for poor job performance but for poor behavior.

Hopefully this helps you to stay safe, stay liked, and stay employed.

-cody the roadie


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