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TfL trains drivers with game

Instructor can shove obstacles in their way. Sounds awesome.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Perhaps in reaction to the email I sent them the other day saying, "Please can you encourage your bus drivers not to swing close so I get clocked in the back of the head by the wing mirror when walking along Oxford Street," Transport for London has announced that in future London bus-driving trainees will be able to practice their trade on a pretty exotic-sounding simulator at Willesden Junction depot.

The simulator launches on November 22nd (popular date, that one) and let's the drivers loose on the streets of Firsdon, a made-up London suburb with a tube station, a bus station modelled on Walthamstow and a bus depot replica of Westbourne Park's. The sim replicates a full-size bus cab, and uses co-ordinated graphics through windscreen and rear-views to show drivers what happens on a real bus journey. Although whether it simulates the top-deck food-fights or the pikeys shouting at young mothers remains to be seen.

Trainees will be able to try out single (wimp), double-decker (manly) and bendy (compensatory) buses, taking on a variety of conditions from dense traffic to awful weather (which sounds like every bus trip we've ever faced, actually), and a Dungeon Master-style instructor will be able throw spanners in the works by changing traffic signals, opening car doors, and controlling peds, taxis and cyclists. There'll be full judder-feedback when trainees run up on a kerb and it ought to simulate the difference in handling on different surfaces, too.

TfL says that safety studies show simulators can decrease preventable accidents by as much as 43 per cent. Requests for further comment on the direct relation this will have to Tom-getting-smacked-in-the-face were, er, not made. You wouldn't want to mess with this lot. They shouted at me when I was 12. Although we would quite like a go on their simulator.

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