Monday, 31 January 2005

All of Jan 2005

Monday, January 31, 2005
Local Hero
In the week or two after the Tsunami people began turning up at their workplaces with cardboard boxes with slots cut in the top and the words"Please Give Generously" written on them in Felt tip pen. Local Heroes all. Thousands up and down the country and hundreds of thousands round the world. Each helping to boost the amount of money reaching those who need it and giving all of us the chance to give something and feel good about it.
This is Pauline, a bus driver in Paignton who for the last few weeks has been Stagecoach Torbay's own Local Hero. With the help of a few other drivers she has collected lots of money which the Company will match £1 for £1 to double the amount. The Money will go to help children inSri Lanka. Well done Pauline and all who helped.

Sunday, January 30, 2005
Engines are still running
Recently a letter appeared in the Local Paper, the Herald Express.It was from some one who lived near a bus terminus and he was fed up with bus engines being left running for several minutes while buses were waiting time.This is a problem and my advice is not to phone the company but write and include in your letter a note to the effect that if the matter is not resolved shortly a letter would be sent to the Traffic Commission asking them to look into the matter.I try not to leave an engine running while I am waiting time mainly because I once lived near a Bus Terminus and know first hand the disruption to normal living caused by a bus engine is similar to having a DIY enthusiast or a budding Rock Group living next door.There are notice in the Office saying that engines must be switched off at Termini, so come on drivers, switch your engines off. With a bit of luck they won't start again and you can miss a couple of trips while the fitters get to you.

Parking in Torquay
From The Law West of Ealing Broadway
(A Magistrate's Blog)
Unexpected Nasties
For a while now courts have had the power to disqualify from driving for any offence, rather than just endorsable traffic offences as previously. The higher courts are ruling from time to time on how far this can go, but disqualification is eminently suitable if driving is essential to the offence, such as fly-tipping rubbish, kerb-crawling to pick up prostitutes, or illegal taxi-touting. We dealt with a couple of fly tippers the other day after they were caught on video dumping ten tons of rubbish in a quiet street. Apart from hefty fines and costs we disqualified them for three months apiece, which took them and their lawyer completely by surprise.
Ed's note:-
As driving is essential to parking a car one way to stop people parking illegally would be to Ban them from driving for a week for parking on a yellow line,a month for parking on a Bus Stop and 6 months for parking on the pavement.. There wouldn't be many cars left on the road in Torquay if this happened.

Saturday, January 29, 2005
Mike Keeting
Mike Keeting has been a controller at Torquay for many years. He was there when I started in 1998 and gave the impression that he had been there since the days of horse drawn omnibuses.
to day he left.
The Company recently decided that it had too many controllers and Michael gallantly flung himself forward and said if you make me a good redundancy offer I will volunteer to be one of the controllers to go.
I know he had a habit of upsetting drivers now and then, me included, but he will be missed.
He has plans to move to Spain in the near future.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005
In the Pub
Imagine being Me or Tony Blair or David beckham or George Bush and having a day off. After you have done those bits and pieces around the house and felt confidant that you had not left the washing up in the sink and you had changed the cat lit tray and taken the overdue library books back, what would you do? Well I know, lets nip down to the pub for a quiet drink.
Imagine George, whilst checking the place out for terrorists. "Hi George, Liked your speech, when ya gona invade Iran?"
Imagine David, franticly checking the place out for photographors. "Hi Dave, Like your wife, when ya gona learn to take Penalties?"
Imagine Tony, Without much hope, checking the place out for wmd's. "Hi Toni, like YOUR HOLIDAY VILLA, WHEN YOU GONA GET STABBED IN THE BACK?"
IMAGINE me, checking the place out for a decent pint. "You're a Stagecoach Bus Driver aren't you. When's the 18:21 from Newton going to make it the Harbour like it should?"

Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Is this bus jinxed
In March last year we took delivery of 23 Transbus Trident Double DECKERS. When the first of those buses was being driven down to Torquay a motorist lost control of her car and side swiped the bus at 60 mph.
Four months ago a drunk driver in a Jag came round the Penn Inn Roundabout at 60 mph and lost control and smashed into the side of the bus stopped on the bus stop.
Yesterday a bus and a tipper came in to contact in a big way. (see below for full story. Click here for some photos)In each case it was Bus Number 18078.
Passengers survived a freak accident in Brixham when their double decker bus was sliced open by a tractor in two sections.Occupants were treated for shock after the tractor's metal bucket ripped into a top section of the bus before a lower deck was punctured by the vehicle's giant back wheel. Glass and metal shattered on impact as the bus's momentum dragged the tractor a short distance before it toppled over and wedged itself between a lamp post and brick wall of a garden.One witness said after yesterday afternoon's bizarre accident in New Road: "It's a miracle nobody was badly hurt."Faye Vandenberg, 19, and Verity Markey, 16, also saw the drama.Faye said: "We couldn't have been more than a metre away. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was all a bit of a blur. After the smash we went to see if everyone was OK."She added: "The woman bus driver was really upset. She looked really shocked by the whole thing. There was an elderly woman who was on the bus together with a girl who was sitting at the back. We went inside the house opposite and helped to make tea for them all. We did what we could."Verity added: "I'm just glad there weren't too many people on the bus. If it had happened a little later on then it would have been packed full of Bus Crash in Brixham GREAT ESCAPE From the Herald Express18 January schoolchildren."Tractor owner Dave Berlyn, from Marldon, was reducing tree sections into chippings when the accident happened just before 1pm.His nine-year old border collie, Nell, was the only occupant in the new tractor when the accident happened."She was in the front. She always comes with me to work. I was around the back at the time and I just turned around and it wasn't there any more. I got Nell out straight away," he said.He added: "Thankfully there was an opening at the back window. She was scrabbling around trying to get out and I just reached down and picked her up. The engine was going when it happened. But there's an auto cut-off and the tractor stopped. Nell was fine. She didn't seem bothered about it at all. It's lucky really. Another few feet and I would have been standing there."Two fire crews from the port were at the scene within minutes to separate the wrecked vehicles and mop up the spilt diesel.They also managed to right the tractor and remove its huge wheel which had been buried in glass at the back of the bus.Station Officer Steve Connor said: "When we got here all the passengers had got off. Everybody seemed to be OK. There were just a few scratches. I am very pleased with how the operation went.We used cutting equipment on the back of the bus as we were unable to free the wheel. We weren't sure when we released the bus whether or not it would tip over. We train for these kinds of things and use all different scenarios. It could have been worse. There are normally a lot of people who use the pavement. And the bus route is busy."Stagecoach boss Chris Hilditch said: "This was a very nasty accident."He said the Bayline Trident bus would be repairable."Somehow the bus came into contact with the tractor which ripped into the lower aluminum section of the top deck. The bus's forward momentum then pulled the tractor around and pushed it against a lamp post, causing it to topple over between the post and the bus," said Mr Hilditch."I know the driver who is an excellent employee. It must have been very upsetting for her and the others involved. Fortunately no one was badly hurt."A police spokesman said the accident happened at 12.47pm.He confirmed that no one was injured, although two passengers on the bus were treated for shock.It took nearly three hours to clear wreckage from the scene.Congestion built up as police diverted traffic as several attempts to move the bus was made.The police spokesman said details were still being gathered about the cause of the accident, which may have involved a third car.

Friday, January 14, 2005
If you are a bus driver then Titan is a type of double decker bus. If you are a Greek scholar then he is some kind of Deity but for the next few days Titan is a Moon of Saturn, probably the most famous moon around at the moment.
The European Space Agency sent a probe to Titan which landed with pin point accuracy after a journey of 7 years. It has sent back over 350 pictures of the moon, plus loads of other interesting data. Titan is 750 million miles or 1 and a quarter light hours from Torquay. Well done all concerned.
Shame the company can not get the 18:21 from Newton Abbot to Torquay every Monday to Saturday. Newton Abbot is 6 miles or 0.000032 light seconds from Torquay.

Thursday, January 13, 2005
Mars Rover
No, it's not an all day bus ticket. It's a machine that roves around Mars. I was looking at that Iceberg that's set to hit a Glacier in the Antarctic on Saturday, pictures from NASA. I had a quick surf and came across this item about the Mars Rover:-
Between Day 292 and 298, Spirit completed its studies of the rock called "Uchben" and drove west about 2 meters (almost 7 feet) to a rock called "Lutefisk."
God, that's fast. Almost 7 feet in 6 days.

Eye Test
To day I went to the options for an eye test. I have recently noticed that things in the distance were looking a little blurred and having to slow down to 5mph at every bus stop just to see if any one was there has been getting a little inconvenient. Well I ended up with my first pair of glasses. The optician said I would only need them for distance work and as I walked round town this afternoon I could notice a slight improvement. I could read number plates at 45 yards instead of 30 yards.
Then at Half eleven at night I went out and looked up.
So many stars, Bright, sharp pin pricks of light had replaced fuzzy things that had been there before.
Worth every penny.

Saturday, January 08, 2005
High winds

Friday 7th January 2005
The wind speed picked up as the day went on. We have wind speeds of up to 50mph forecast for overnight and early in the morning.
We had a junction on the boundary of Paignton and Brixham that is known as windy corner and it is well named. I went through at 6pm and it was very hard to keep the bus in a straight line and the wind has got stronger as the evening worn on. there are 15 more buses due through windy corner to night, I hope they make it OK.
Out side in the back garden it sounds like an express train is going though.
Up in Manchester where my brothers live the speed is forecast the be 70mph with gusts up to 95 mph.
An other sign of Global Warming or just one of those evens that happens

Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Gone Quiet till Easter
Christmas and New Year have gone, the children will all be back at school to morrow and only the most hardy holiday makers get down to Devon in January and February. So for the next couple of months it will be quiet on the buses.
Just about to get a pay rise though. At the moment we are on a 39 Hour contract. I do work on average 39 1/2 hrs a week, not counting overtime. From this month we are all going on a 41 hr contract so I will get an extra one and a half hours pay without having to work extra for it. Nice one Stagecoach; and the Union. Thanks very much. I hope no one notices.
Brixham Car Park has been closed and will be pulled down after having threatened to fall down several times in the last few years. How any one could have built such a mess right in the town centre of what the Brochure discribes as a quaint Fishing Village is beyond me. I think Money and large brown envelopes must have been involved. Lets hope the next effort is an improvement.