Monday, 31 October 2005

Links to Other Places.

Links to other places

are all now to be found on the right hand side of the main page.

Sunday, 30 October 2005

Running Engines at Bus Stops.

I presonally belive that any bus driver that leaves an engine running on a bus stop for more that at most a minute, company rule 2 mins max, should have an inspector park a bus outside his/her front door at 2 am and leave the engine running for the rest of the night.

I went into Brixham today. Brixham is on of our terminuses/termini (not sure which) and had 10 mins stand time. There was a bus, a 12, in front of me on the stop. He had his engine running, no problem, he was due out. Did he go? No.

Now it was a not unpleasent day for the end of October. Several people were sitting in the Square enjoying a quite chat except that the noise of the bus engine would have been drowning out any chance of there hearing half the conversation. After a couple of mins I dicided to see if the driver was having a problem, after all he should have been gone by now. No, no problem, just on his mobile dickhead. Sorry mobile phone.

For an other 7 mins. Bastard.

Sea Front and Engines Running

On Saturday I drove along the sea front. I know I always drive along the sea front but on Saturday I noticed that the waves were starting to come over the sea wall. It was almost high tide and the wind was from the east. This usually means that the sea front would be closed at some time around high tide. Sure enough, half an hour later someone got on the radio and announced to the world, well Torbay any way, which is almost the same thing, that the sea front was closed and we were on the new diversion.

The old diversion was my idea. It involved driving out of town on a nice wide road, turning over the ring road, also a nice wide road and back down an other wide road coming back on to our route in Preston. This missed out the section of the sea front that had waves crashing over it; it also missed out 7 bus stops.

Someone in Higher Management did not like this and invented the new diversion. This only misses out 5 bus stops. And the bit with the sea crashing over it,not even higher management are that dumb. It does involve driving the buses along fairly narrow roads at the same time as all the cars and vans and lorries that have also been diverted. While you are watching all these cars, vans and lorries plus the occasional bus coming the other way it is possible to miss, or should I say hit the branches of trees that have inconveniently grown out into the road way. Trees that line regular bus routes tend to get their branches genetically adjusted by the constant passing of 11 ton lumps of bus shaped metal, but we only use the diversion a few times a year. The trees down there don't know that one day their turn will come.

To cut a short story even shorter, when one of our more experienced drivers came in to work this morning he was greeted with a chorus of, "I love the sound of breaking glass."
So embarrassing

Thursday, 27 October 2005

Sun Set in Spitsbergan.

Shortly after midday today, Thursday the 27 October, the sun set in Spitsbergan. It will not rise again until late in February next year.

At the same time on Abbey Sands Beach here in Torquay people were sun bathing and children were playing in the sea. The Temperature was 18C. At 11:30 pm it was still 15C.

Given the choice where would you spend an early autumn break.

Or to put it an other way; should we be worrying about Global Warming?

Cars Parked in the Way

On of the problems we face from time to time are cars that have been parked that are blocking the road. The driver has just nipped out for a moment to the Cash machine, Take away, Doctors, Pub and have left room for all the motor bikes in the bay to get past but not an 8 foot 3 in wide bus. The usual procedure here is to sound the horn and then get a newspaper out and have a read. After a few minutes the driver will then get on the radio and inform control. One such incident yesterday went as follows:-

Driver, "Papa 12 to Yellow control."
Yellow control, "Go" (1)
Driver,"I am stuck in Midvale Road. There's a parked car in the way."
Yellow control, "Have you sounded the horn." (2)
Slight pause followed by the sound of the horn being blown twice coming over the radio.
Driver, very dryly, "That's an affirmative." (3)

Foot notes
(1) We don't go in for correct radio procedure, none of that over and out stuff here.
(2) It is of course illegal to blow the horn on a stationary vehicle unless to avoid an accident.
(3) 'Affirmative'; bus driver slang for Yes.

Tuesday, 25 October 2005

Late Running

Today, I, along with most of the 12/12A bus service spent most of the morning and much of the afternoon about 30 to 40 mins late. The reason for this late running? The Council. When in doubt always blame the council.

The council have got some contractors replacing the traffic lights at Tanners Road/Dartmouth Road/ Penwill Way junction. The contractors switched of the lights that they are replacing and erected temporary lights. Part of the problem is the junction is staggered. Dartmouth Rd is the main road and normally the traffic flows two ways. Not with the temporary lights. We have a four way set of lights installed and traffic is back over 2 miles and drivers are driving through side roads in an attempt to find a way round the delays.

Do the contractors care? A better question would be have the contractors noticed? An even better question is, have Torbay Council's Highways Department noticed. If they haven't then their head office must be in Exeter. If they have noticed then why haven't they had a word with the contractors and said, "Get the traffic flowing a bit better or get the hell out of Torbay."

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks, probably the most famous bus passenger in the world died today aged 97. R.I.P.

Monday, 24 October 2005

Half Term and the Weather

This week is half term. Most of the schools in England and Wales are closed for a week and it is a chance to take a late holiday. It is also a chance taking a late holiday at this time of the year. Twenty years ago when I was teaching in a comprehensive school in Salford we came down to the South West in a camper van and had a complete week of glorious sun. We stayed for two days at Waterside Holiday Park in Paignton and enjoyed every minute.

This year people are not quite having the luck we had. This afternoon I pulled into Paignton Bus Station which is next to the train station and a family of 6 boarded the bus for Waterside Holiday Park. I always feel guilty, as though it is some how my fault that I am charging these rain sodden people to get to a caravan park where it looks like they will spend the next week playing monopoly and eating tons of chocolates like the advert that has been appearing on the TV recently. Today it rained all day but the forecast for the rest of the week does get better and when the weather is nice at this time of year the Bay can be a good place for a holiday without the crowds.

Sunday, 23 October 2005

Safety in the Depot.

Now and then, about twice a month I do an early turn. The two big differences between early turns and my more usual middle start are having to set the alarm for some ungodly hour like 5 in the morning and having to go upto the bus park and get a bus out for myself. Usually I just walk down from the depot to the main road and take over a bus. If you are a passenger this can be a pain. Just when you think that you may even get to your destination on time the bus pulls in and an other driver gets on and has a meaningful conversation about traffic, the latest scandal, how usless the boss is, the fact that one of the two drivers has 3 weeks holiday coming up, some really interesting comment one of the drivers made to an irrate passenger in Paignton Bus Station yesterday; you know the sort of thing that Easteners script writers have been using for the last ten years.

I digress, when you take a bus out of the park this is what should greet you as you walk into the park. Buses all facing forward and ready to go. You don't just get on the bus and drive away, first you do a visual check, make sure all the wheels are still on the bus and there are no tramps sleeping on the back seat. That sort of thing, then in the bus and away, full of enthusiasm, ready to greet your passengers with a cheery 'Good morning' and take them safely and speedily to their destinations.

I say should greet you, and for a week it did. The cleaners are supposed to reverse the buses into the park so we can safely drive them out. The boss insisted and I took a photo the next day of the fruits of his insistance. Yesterday when I went to work I took this photo which shows all the buses were facing the wrong way. I get shouted at for walking 10 feet without my yellow jacket on and the cleaners can park 30 buses the wrong way round and no one notices.

Wednesday, 19 October 2005

Safety In Paignton Bus Station.

A few weeks ago a man came into the staff canteen on Paignton Bus Station. He was not happy. You could tell he was not happy by the fact that he was frothing at the mouth and shouting at, or near, the top of his voice that the company was a disgrace and didn't know how to run a prolonged drinking session in a brewery. I have changed the wording slightly here as one or two nuns read this blog. There were a few drivers there and we all agreed with him. Well you tend to agree with some one who is clearly several yards over the edge. ( Yah Tony, you go to war if you want).

Any way he wanted to know who he had to write to to complain so we told him. Complains Dept, The Bus Company, Devon. We assured him the Post Office knew where it was and would deliver his letter no problem. As he calmed down a little I took a chance and asked him what it was that had upset him so much. I was prepared to try and explain if I could the reason for him waiting half an hour for a bus that should have been every 15 mins or explain why he had had to mortgage his house to by a return ticket to Torquay or even that the toilets were closed because they had been used by Class A drugs users and the police had asked us to close the toilets as the could not find the man power to police them.

But it was none of these. What had happened was he had turned up for a bus just as it was pulling away and was upset that even though the driver had seen him waving she had carried on reversing away from the bus stop and refused to pick him up. Now it is a company rule that once a bus has started to reverse the driver may not stop to pick passengers up. See Photo. I would imagine that any bus station in the country where buses reverse away from a bus stop would have the same rule. This is because we don't like having accidents, not because we don't like passengers. O.K. I know that there are some bus drivers out there that don't in fact like passengers and every passenger must know at least one such bus driver just like there are lawyers and estate agents out they that are unloved and unliked by their clients.

In a bus station once a bus has started to reverse it has right of way. All other buses stop until the reversing bus is out of the way. Think what would happen if a bus suddenly stopped and picked up a passenger. The driver waiting would get fed up waiting and drive forward just as the reversing driver decided to move. Crash. Lots of glass in bus windows all over passengers in bus. Not nice.

Well a couple of days ago I saw and other reason for not stopping once you have started reversing. I was on the Bus Station platform waiting to take over a bus after my lunch break when I noticed a bus on the stop had just started to reverse It had gone about a foot when someone waved and the driver went off his head and stopped and opened the doors. Passenger, aware that this was a rare favour hurried up to the bus and in his haste slipped on the wet floor. He hit is shin on the edge, very hard edge, of the platform and his head on the safety bar on the door and ended up lying in his best suit on the damp and dirty floor of the bus.

Remember: There's always an other bus, eventually.

Footnote to this. When I drove in to the Bus Station yesterday I noticed a couple walking in the bus reversing area without a care in the world. Just as they walked behind a bus it's reversing lights went on. It is very difficult to see directly behind a bus from the drivers seat and fearing for these two idiots lives I blew the horn as loud as it would go. The other driver heard me, as did every one within 200 yards. Except for the mad couple who just carried on walking as if they were in the safest place in the world. Which thanks to me they were.

Tuesday, 18 October 2005

Kingskwerswell Bypass

If you are heading for Torquay you will almost certainly drive down the A380. You will arrive at Penn Inn roundabout on the outskirts of Newton Abbot and think,"Oh good. Nearly there." The kids in the back will be clamoring to see who sees the sea first and you will be thinking of a trip down to the hotel bar for a nice relaxing drink. Then you will make it to the other side of the roundabout and notice that the traffic is moving, but only just. By the time you get through Kingskerswell on the way to Torquay,( 2 miles, seems like for ever) the only question on your mind will be, "Why the hell don't they build a bypass round this place?"

A good question. If you are a friend of Tony Blair could you please have a word with him and ask him if we can have the money. Tell him is he cuts short the war in where ever it is we are at war by only one day he will have enough money left to build us a bypass.

For the past seven years to my knowledge the County Council and Torbay Council have been trying to get the money from central government. They apply, central govenment says, "Looks fine, plans are OK, and it does look like you need a bypass. Could you do an indepth traffic survey to show the auditors?" So the councils do the survey and send it of to Whitehall who put it on a shelf in one of their offices in the Falkland Islands.

Six months goes by and the council ring Whitehall and ask what progress the application is making. Whitehall say, "We'll ring you back." The council have heard that one before and say, "No. We will hang on." Two weeks later a cleaner in the corridors of power notices the phone off the hook and hangs up.

Eventually some one in Whitehall will dig out the files and ring the council and say that all things considered you can have your bypass. Oh, just one thing. The traffic survey is out of date, could you do a new one. Six months later, new plans and new survey are sent to Whitehall who say, "God you do need a bypass. Why didn't you ask sooner. We have just spent all this year's money. Apply again next year, with a new traffic survey of course and we will pass your plans on to the different department to deal with (meaning give some one else a good laugh at your expence)."

It now looks like the Bypass, because of the cost, £80 million, will be built in stages. The whole thing will be no more than 3 miles long. How can you build a streatch of road 3 miles long in stages. Lets face it, the only way we will ever get a bypass is if we go and steal one from some where. Given this fact, isn't it time that the Councils, Torbay and Devon County had a look at making the existing road easier to drive along. A fly over at the lights would be cheaper then a bypass but would look a bit of a mess. Pedestrian underpasses went out of fashion years ago as did pedestrian bridges. but anyone who drives along the road (me, 9000 times in both directions in the last 7 years) will tell you the main problem. Jury's Corner Traffic Lights. Now is the time to start experimenting with these lights. For starters they could time them to change a lot less often for the traffic on the main road. On Tuesday morning I drove from Penn Inn to Jury's Corner. Should have taken 5 mins max, it took 20. When I pulled out of the stop at Priory Ave, which is 300 yards from the lights, they had changed 3 times before I got to the lights. Once past the lights it was 40 mph all the way to Scott's Bridge where the speed limit drops to 30. It's always the same when the road is slightly busy, crawl to Jury's Corner, fly once you are passed.

For latest item in Herald Express click here.

Sunday, 16 October 2005

Thing we have to put up with (Part 2).

This is a lady having a smoke in her car in Borough Road in Paignton. Borough Road is not very wide and really is unsuitable for double decker buses. But people get on buses to get to work, do their shopping, go to school, down the pub, visit friends, annoy the bus driver plus a 1001 other usful things. On my left is a truck unloading goods. We need trucks to unload goods. If they didn't the consumer society would come to a grinding holt.

Any way this young lady was in the way. She was not going to move so I could drive past and get all my passengers to school, college, shops, home, doctors, friends, pub etc. Why should I move for you? Was her response. Well dear lady, you are not moving for me. I can sit here all day for all I care; I still get paid. It's the people on my bus and the people waiting to get on my bus down the road and all the people behind me that you are moving for.

Any way once I had taken here photo she moved. She must have had visions of her picture on the front page of the Herald Express with a head line " Was this you? Did you cause traffic chaos in Paignton on Wednesday? If So Why?".

Friday, 14 October 2005

Two wasted trips the Newton Abbot.

On Thursday I made a mistake. Now regular readers will not believe this statement, having gathered from previous post that I am the prefect bus driver.
But I did.
This is what happened. A young lady got on in Torquay and asked for the Willows , a shopping complex on the outskirts of Torquay. She also asked if I could tell her when we got there. I explained that the bus did not got all the way to the Willows but that it was a ten minute walk after she got of the bus. She paid her fare and sat down.
Now I don’t have the best of memory for thing like remembering to tell people when they have arrived at their destination. I like to think about other things, such as driving the bus and what I am going to post here each evening. So I have a trick; I press Zero and C on the ticket machine and a piece of ticket roll emerges from the machine with “Not valid for Travel” printed on it. A paper feed we call it. This I stick on the ticket machine with a piece of blue tac I keep in the cash tray for just this propose. From then on each time I issue a ticket I remember “The Willows”. Bit like a knot in a hankie.
But before I could do this 4 people got on the bus and wanted to go to Paignton. By the time I had explained to them that the bus did not go to Paignton and where to get a bus to Paignton I had forgotten about the Willows and only remembered when the poor young lady came up to me in Newton and asked if we had reached the Willows yet.
This was definitely a “Hole in the Ground” moment. Eventually I dropped her of at the Willows 40 mins later than she should have got there. Mia Culpa, mia maxima culpa.

To day, Friday, it was a lady’s purse that made the trip to Newton and there was a happier ending. I dropped some people in Fleet Street in Torquay and one of then handed me a purse which she had found on the bus. I am always upset when this happens, some poor soul has lost some thing and probably needs it now but it may take two days before they get it back. Anyway I dropped the purse in my bag to hand it in when I finished my duty at 16:30. It was now 13:30. However 15 mins later an other driver got on the radio and asked if any driver who had left Torquay in the last 20 mins had found a purse. So I was able to tell the driver that I would be back in Torquay in 50 mins and be able to reunite the purse and owner.
A happy ending, I like happy endings.

Thursday, 13 October 2005

Guess Who Got on the Bus To day.

Yesterday he had an out of date Day Pass, to day he had an out of date Weekly pass. When I pointed out that the ticket expired on the 9th he looked surprised and asked me the date. I told him and he got of the bus. So on the radio once again and the next driver took the pass from him and over the next hour and a half I heard reports of him walking towards Paignton. 5 miles. And if you were in the Bay to day you will know that the rain was a lot more than heavy.

I just love a story with a happy ending!

Wednesday, 12 October 2005

From a Local Paper

I am 17 years old and was terribly disgusted with the bus ride from Swieqi to Sliema on bus number 64 on September 29 at about 1.45 p.m.
The number of unacceptable acts by the driver himself on such a public service are embarrassing to say the least.Before the bus left he asked the last person who got on the bus for a cigarette; she kindly enough offered him one. Unexpectedly the bus driver stopped the bus and got off to smoke. However, while doing so, the driver also went to do his "business" behind the bushes close to the bus stop.
Before returning to his seat, he rudely enough spat in front of all, locals and tourists alike.Then he came back on the bus, still smoking his cigarette, with hardly any windows open for some fresh air. Finally, he threw a paper and his cigarette butt out of his window while driving.
To finish off the bus ride, he decided to gargle and spit out for one final time. In addition, he was in conversation on his mobile phone throughout the trip.
When is public transport ever going to improve? And where are the transport authorities to check these things out?___________________________________________

Before the company have a fit I should point out that the local paper is the Times Of Malta and not the Herald Express.

Tuesday, 11 October 2005

First Day Back at Work

Tuesday, after having been away for nine days, it was back to work. 5 mins after I had started it was like I had never been away.

Not much happened really.

In the morning a young man got on the bus in Paignton and half showed me what appeared to be a pass and started to walk down the bus to find a seat. Something about the way he did it suggested that all was not right so I called him back. I would have called him back in any case as I like to make sure that all tickets and passes people show me are valid. This some times upsets some passengers but in the end it is their money I am protecting. When someone steals some thing from Tescos they are really stealing from all the other people who shop in Tescos. When someone steals a bus ride they are stealing from the people they are sitting next to on the bus.

Anyway, the pass, a Torbay MegaRider was dated 10 Oct 05 and to day is the 11th. I pointed this out and the young man protested that he had bought it earlier in the day. I gently told him that as the ticket was out of date I could not carry him. He still maintianed that he had bought it that morning. I suggested that he take it over to our Travel Shop, handily situated in the bus station, and they would tell him what to do. I was much to polite to tell him what to do. And company rules forbid me from telling him what to do.

He got off the bus and wandered in the direction of the Travel Shop but as I drove out of the bus station I noticed he was heading back towards the bus stop to try his luck on the next bus. So I got on the radio and warned all following bus drivers to watch out for him. I wonder how long he stood there before digging into his pocket and paying his fare like the rest of the passengers.

In the afternoon after my meal break the bus I was taking over was 20 mins late but no problem, so was the bus in front of me.

Monday, 10 October 2005

Back to Work

Well I have just had a weeks holiday and by good fortune Sunday and Monday were rest days. But it's back to work to morrow.

While I have been away the fares have gone up to cover the rising cost of fuel. Those of you who ride on our buses will know that lots of fares end in 5p. Return Torquay to Paignton used to be £2.75. The problem with this is that holders of the Devon Wide Concessionary Pass pay half fare. Half of £2.75 = £1.37 and a half pence. The government got rid of half pence coins back in the 70 s so the fare is £1.37.

Passenger tenders a five pound note. Driver has to fish about in his cash tray for 1p coin, 2p coin, a10p coin, a fifty pence coin and 3 one pound coins; all of which takes time especially as the cash trays only have 4 compartments so some compartments have to contain coins of different value.

Here was a chance to get rid of copper by rounding all the fares up or down to the nearest 10p and helping us to spent less time giving out change and more time on time. However today I went for a ride on a bus into Paignton and soon realized that lots of fares still ended in 5p. Maybe when the cost of fuel goes down and the fares are reduced they will take this radical step of getting rid of fares that end in 5p.

Sunday, 9 October 2005

Bus Driving in Malta

Sunday, October 9, 2005
<>by Mr Alfred Brincat, BA (Hons), MMAA, Birkirkara.
It was service with a song on bus no. 45.

The bus driver offered a free disco throughout the journey; he wanted to make sure that even those as deaf as doornails would not miss the entertainment and played the music at the highest volume possible. It was so loud that no one could hear themselves speak and so had to shout to communicate with those sitting shoulder to shoulder with them, so pandemonium ensued.

At times the driver could not hear the bell and only stopped after passengers shouted at him to do so. At times there were more than 16 standing passengers, so by the time one fought one's way down the aisle the bus would be half a kilometre away.

Down the winding Mellieha hill, an elderly lady rang the bell and the driver stopped within metres. The lady told him that the bus stop was further along but he told her rudely that she had to alight there. Funnily enough, the driver stopped at the next bus stop anyway, even though no one wanted to get off.

Must have been trained by First Bus_
__________________________________________ This article may also be viewed at

Saturday, 8 October 2005

Funny story from Wales

I came across this story in A Policeman's Blog and though I would like to share it with you.

Drunken prank led to armed siege
Oct 2 2005
Nathan Bevan, Wales on Sunday

IT SOUNDS like a storyline from an episode of Shameless.
In a series of mishaps which TV's mad Mancunian Frank Gallagher would be proud of, what started out as fun in an all-day drinking 'bender' on a deprived council estate ended in a 12-hour armed siege and someone shot in the groin by a rubber bullet.
This week 39-year-old Dominic Peck, from North Walk in Barry, was beginning a two-year prison sentence after admitting false imprisonment and making threats to kill. He also faces the prospect of having his injured left testicle removed.
Story continues

But last night mum-of-two Amanda Lacey, the woman he was said to have held captive at gunpoint during the tense stand-off, told Wales On Sunday the whole thing was just a drunken prank gone horribly wrong.
"I'd split from my boyfriend at the time and was sleeping on people's settees," said Amanda, whose friend introduced her to the 6ft 4in on-off labourer, who offered her a place to crash.
Having been there for three days, Amanda, now living in nearby Woodstock Close, said that she'd started that Sunday morning with a trip to the shops for drinks.
"I offered to go for Dom because he couldn't be seen because there was a restraining order on him from entering Barry, but his flat is here so what was he supposed to do?" she said.
"We had about nine litres of cider and there was a bottle of sherry left over from the night before.
"So we just sat there drinking and watching the telly."
Then at 11am there was loud knocking at the door of Peck's three-bed, second floor flat.
"Me, Dom and another bloke were sitting watching a dating programme on the box when we heard this banging.
"It was the police shouting, 'C'mon Dom, open up we know you're in there'. I think they'd come because he'd breached the order.
"At which point he turned to me and winked before shouting back, 'F**k off, I've got a gun and a hostage'.
"But he was only joking - we were all hammered to be honest."
As all went quiet the trio thought the officers had gone, until Amanda got up to look out of the window.
"I peeked out and saw they'd cordoned off the street and there were armed officers in all the neighbours' gardens with their guns pointing at the window.
"At that point the other guy with us panicked, jumped out the window and did a runner.
"What we didn't know was that he had the keys on him and the front door was deadlocked - we were locked in."
During Peck's trial at Cardiff Crown Court, the jury heard how he had yelled to police that he had an arsenal of weapons in his flat and was holding a knife to Amanda's throat.
"Apparently, he said he had a Glock 9mm pistol and a shotgun, but I can't remember him saying that," she said.
"As for the knife, he may have had one from the kitchen but he never threatened me with it. He was a big bloke who could look intimidating but he was a friendly giant really."
Then at 6pm, having been drinking all day, a worse-for-wear Amanda stood up at the window.
"I looked down and there were all these little red dots floating around on my chest - it was the laser sights from the police guns.
"I was really scared and when Dom saw that he really lost his rag - but we were both really drunk by then.
"He threw a big axe that he'd bought - I think he'd got it to chop down some trees - through the window pane. Glass went everywhere."
Amanda added that she could remember the police desperately calling up to her.
"They wanted me to jump to safety. I said, 'That's two floors down, you must be joking!'."
She said that she phoned 999 on her mobile to explain to police that she wasn't being taken hostage, she was just locked in.
"I didn't have much talk time and got the police to ring me back," she said, "but before I could say I wasn't in any danger my battery ran out."
Things reached crisis point just before midnight when a smoke canister came flying in through the window.
"Dom pulled me by the arm into another room but then the door was kicked in and about 10 officers in riot gear with shields came storming in," said Amanda.
"They pushed me into one room and Dom into the bedroom.
"I heard a bang and screaming.
"Dom had been shot by a rubber bullet the size of a baked bean tin."
Now, eight months on, his council flat taken from him, a jailed Peck waits for an operation to remove his injured testicle.
"He's written to me and phoned me a couple of times," said Amanda.
"He's not very happy at all about what's happened to him."
And to show there are no hard feelings on her behalf, Amanda is willing to offer Peck a place to stay when he gets out of jail.
"Yeah, I'd put him up on my sofa any day," she said.

Thursday, 6 October 2005

Elected Mayor for Torbay

Here are some links to web sites of some of the candidates for Mayor of Torbay.
Remember the person to vote for is the person fittest for the job; i.e. Boss of Torbay Council.

Robert Crawford

Julien Parrott

Ian Oxley


Susie Colley

Information on other candidates (those without web sites) can be found here

Tuesday, 4 October 2005

On Holiday

I am on holiday at the moment, just for a week, so far I have done almost nothing and if past experiences are any thing to go by when the week ends I will still have done almost nothing. During the summer I was walking down Union Street and overheard a brief moment of a conversation. It went like this, him, to her, "All we do on holiday is walk round the bloody shops." That all I heard. Now my idea of a holiday is that it is a rest from work but some people seem to think that a holiday is wasted if every minute isn't spent doing some thing. Looking at the Pyramids, climbing Ayres Rock, looking at every picture in the Louve, white water rafting down the Grand Canyon and in the case of the couple I overheard, and many like them looking in shop windows in Union Street. Don't they have shops in Rotherham?

I've heard of the work ethic and that's fine for work. But not on holiday.

Monday, 3 October 2005

Changes to the 12/12A

A note has gone up on the buses to the effect that the company has listerned to feed back from passengers who have not been totally 100% behind the 12A service and that changes will be made to the timetable from Oct 16th in the hope of improving the service.

Hopefully these changes will be radical, along the following lines:-
1) A 12 leaves Newton for Brixham every 20 mins
2) A 12A leaves Newton for Torquay, Paignton, South Devon College and Brixham every 20 mins, 10 mins after the 12.
This will give all passengers who board in Newton a 10 minute service all the way to Torquay and Paignton. Those few going beyond Paignton will only have a 20 min service, they will have to read the timetable and remember their bus departure times to save themselves a 19 min wait.
3) A12 leaves Brixham every 10 mins, one going to all the way to Newton and the next bus going only as far as Torquay.
This will restore the 10 min service out of Brixham for almost every one catching a 12. Those people traveling from Brixham beyond Torquay will need to check time tables to avoid 19 min waits. Those traveling between Paignton and Newton will have a 10 min service as they can catch either a 12 or 12A.
4) A 12A to leave Brixham for SDC, Paignton, Torquay and Newton every 20 mins.

This is not a prefect solution but it would restore the former 10 min service for almost all of our passengers and it would still provide a direct bus route to the college.
Even better if the number 3 was restored to serve Roseland and the 12A went from Paignton to the college along the direct route via the ring road.
I live in hope; also know as Cloudcuckoo Land.

Sunday, 2 October 2005

Ticket problem in Brixham

On Friday this dear sweat lady boarded the bus with an other dear sweet old lady and two kindly gentlemen. She carefully handed me a ticket, helpfully proclaiming it to be a Weekly Group Ticket.(1) It was a weekly group ticket but it had expired the day before. I gently and sorrowfully explained to the poor lady that the ticket had run out and she would have to pay to travel. The silly old bat wasn’t having any of this. “It’s a weekly ticket, we can use it.” she proclaimed. “I bought it last Friday.” I again explained that it had yesterday’s date next to where it said “Expirery Date.” and this meant that she could not use it. By now the queue behind her stretched twice the length of the bus and my chances of leaving on time were vanishing faster than glaciers in Greenland. But still the witch didn’t seem to understand that the ticket was no good. So I tried some thing simple, I said,” You bought this ticket on Friday, that’s the first day, Saturday is the 2nd day and so on till we reached Thursday the 7th day. To day is the 8th day, so the ticket has run out.”
The Hag from Hell then tried a different track, “The driver I bought it from said I could use it for a week.” I agreed but told her the week was up, patiently counting on my fingers to try and prove to this Handmaiden from Hell that if she bought a weekly ticket last Friday then by this Friday it had expired, ceasing to perform any task other than as bookmark or as is more usual, litter. Still Satan’s mum refused to be persuaded, still insisting that a) invading Russia was a good idea and b) it was a weekly ticket and she had her companions could travel to Paignton.
I by now was conscious of growing unrest in the queue behind, something had to be do. “I am sorry dear lady,” I tried, “but the only way you are going to get to Paignton on this or an other bus is to give me £8.40.” (2)
Death stared me in the face! But the power of the Medusa must have waned over the centuries and I survived, just. Eventually she managed to locate her companions on the bus and explain the situation to then. She had better luck explaining than I had when I had tried to explain to her. One of her male companions took about 2.607 seconds to leave the bus, telling everyone within earshot ( most of Torbay and parts of Newton ) that I was trying to rob poor innocent people and he would sooner walk to Paignton. (3) After much scraping about in pockets and purses £6.30 was produced and slammed down on the cash tray. Then I could board the rest of the passengers, about 45 of them by now, and leave 10 mins late for Paignton, Torquay and Newton. So if you are waiting for a bus and it’s late and you ask the driver why it’s late, don’t be surprised when he says,
“Road works mate, sorry.”

(1) Weekly Group Tickets are a bargain, up to five people (or 4 people and a dog) can travel on all Stagecoach buses in Devon for a week. (4)
(2) £8.40 is the cost of 4 single fares from Brixham to Paignton, I wasn’t soliciting for a bribe.
(3) The walk to Paignton can be quite nice if you follow the coast, but it is 5 miles.
(4) A week is 7 days and the ticket starts on the day you buy it.

P.S. Due to a rise in the cost of fuel the above fares are now out of date until the cost of fuel returns to its former level. Some hope!