The Big Drive

Next Big Drive: 25/08/17 Routes 5, 15 and 115

Every now and then, regular users of the chatbox come together and drive TfL routes on a simulator however all people are welcome. The route driven depends on what the group has chosen. If the chosen route is popular, such as route 507 (Victoria - Waterloo), then everyone will drive the route. Sometimes we will give our drivers a variety of routes to drive, as the theme may be a certain garage in London (such as Camberwell). When a garage is chosen, multiple routes from the garage (such as 185, 345, P5 and 360) may be driven, and you will be given a choice on what route to drive.

Drivers communicate to a chosen controller through a dedicated chatbox, which will be linked on the normal chatbox during the session. Controllers will regularly update you on where you should be, and whether to curtail or not in case of early/late scenarios.

Of course we'd like to make it even more realistic, so we even have blind mechanisms for The Big Drive designed thoughtfully, and courtesy of Unorm and Kieran.

Sometimes there will be cases where depending on the turnout that day, two schedules for the same route will be provided: a high frequency one and a low frequency one. On the day itself, Jacob will tell drivers what schedule to adhere to.

How to use the simulator:

Press start to activate the simulator. By doing so, you will automatically end up in Google's Complex in North America. To come back to London, type in the search bar in the top left hand corner the destination you desire to go to. For example, if you want to go to Victoria Bus Station, type in 'Victoria Bus Station'. You may land 'on top of a building' but it is easy to just drive back onto the road. On some searches, you may need to be specific. Such as typing in Edensor Road to do route E3 will more than likely not return the same one you desired. It's best to type the postcode or stop name just in case, like 'Edensor Road, W4' or 'Edensor Road New Chiswick Pool'.

In other areas, you may type in a specific location, but it sends you elsewhere in the same city. Chances are this has happened at Heathrow Central, which you need to type in 'Heathrow Terminals 1, 2 and 3' otherwise you'll be teleported to Cranford or Hounslow West.

Also remember to click on the bus, which is the longer vehicle icon underneath the search bar. This bus is supposed to represent 12m, so be careful in tight areas.

To move the bus forward, press 'up'. To reverse, press 'down'. To turn left or right, press the left/right keys. There are also indicators. The left indicator (facing forward from the bus' point of view) can be activated using '<', and '>' for the right indicator. To put on both indicators, or the 'hazard' lights, press 'H'.

There is also a speedometer. The bus in the most zoomed-in view is limited to 75mph. The schedules are written to suit someone driving around 20-40mph, if not 50mph. If this is your first time driving on the simulator, and you want to get to know the controls, why not try driving a simple route, like route E1 (Ealing Broadway - Greenford Broadway).

Sometimes on the satellite image there may be a road closure due to roadworks. If this is the case, find an alternative route to drive through, and avoid driving through the closed road - this procedure will be followed during the Big Drive.

In addition, if any road closures or diversions occur in real life, related to the route driven, we will also adhere to that as well as the aforementioned item.

How to use the blindset:

There are 3 types of blindsets that may be offered. They are designed by Unorm and Kieran. 
The manual blinds are manually (as the name suggests) scrolled down to your desired destination and route number. The smart blinds are electronically powered and require a green tick to be pressed to set a blindset. Use the left/right facing arrows to choose the route number, and the up/down to choose destination. On a kindle blind, use the kindle to set a route. Just press the hardware button (at the bottom of the Kindle). It will load, and will offer you a selection of routes. Press the route you desire. After, press the destination you would like, and the kindle blinds have been set.

The next Big Drive is on: 25th August 2017
Time it starts: 1900, however you're welcome to join a bit later if you can't make it that early
Will I need to register?: No - All you need it to turn up!
Routes: The route will be decided depending on how many people turn up, however if we have a healthy turnout we can have many routes
Click Here for a map of the 5
Click Here for a map of the 15
Click Here for a map of the 115

All routes will be operated by Stagecoach London, you are welcome to take out any bus on the routes

If a controller does not turn up for a route, then either LondonBuses72 or another person will be controller instead.

If you are unfamiliar with a chosen route, it's best to practice the route before the drive, and if you are still not familiar with the routing, please ask a member of staff on the blog. Also check out the TfL website and look for interactive maps on the chosen route(s).