Tuesday, 30 May 2006

Number Plate.

Personal Number Plates

This one caught my eye the other day.

Shouldn't there be a question mark some where?

New Rest Room.

We have a new rest room. The company have spent some money here to make us all comfortable in bright, clean and new suroundings . The main idea behind it is it will hopefully save them some money as they will need fewer buses shuttling drivers down from the depot into the centre of Torquay during the day as drivers change over.

As usual when some thing new comes along there are people who say, "It will never work." Well all I can say is they said that about the steam driven car and personal jet packs and retiring at 50 and world peace.

Thursday, 25 May 2006

Running for Bus, Door Shuts, Bus Drives Away.

Running for bus, door Shuts, bus drives away. If that hasn't happened to you then you probably never use buses. Or you study time tables carefully and get to the bus stop in plenty of time. Or you have been lucky so far. Here are a few incidents that happened to me to day and in 4 of the 5 cases it would have looked to the poor sod left at the bus stop that the driver was just being a bastard. In one case he really was a bastard.

First case I stopped at Jury's Corner and dropped of a passenger and loaded an other one, quick glance in near side mirror, no one running for bus. So look in off side mirror and right indicator on. Several cars went speeding past before the first of about four 38 tonne heavy goods vehicles flashed his lights to let me out. Just as I started to move some one came running up and banging his fist the side of the bus. The choice was simple. I could stop and force the HGV to either brake hard or swerve to avoid running into the back of the bus. What ever he did the other HGV s behind would have had to do the same. Or I could pull away and avoid the possibility of 132 tonnes of hgv s and their loads smashing in to me and the bus.

Next there was a woman 25 yards beyond a bus stop running towards the bus stop. The bus was 50 yards before the bus stop traveling at 35 mph (in a 40 mph road) with a clear view of the road several hundred yards ahead. Now in my experience people running towards a bus stop do not always want the bus, they may be out jogging or in a hurry some where or just running for the fun of it. But in this case there were several clues that suggested that she did want the bus. One, and I am being generous here in my use of adjective, she was slightly overweight. Slightly over weight people tend not to run unless they really need to. Especially when they are this slightly overweight. The second clue was that she was pushing a baby buggy. Slightly over weight women pushing baby buggies don't tend to run for the fun of it. And third, she had her arm out. In my experience slightly over weight women pushing baby buggies don't go jogging with their arm out stretched. Not unless they are slightly eccentric and want to instill a love of jogging into baby at an early age and have a broken shoulder that require a plaster cast that forces her arm out at right angles to the body. Not something you see every day. Not in Torquay anyway.

Did the bastard stop. Go on have a guess. I'll give you a clue, begins with n and ends with o.

The next two cases happened in Paignton Bus Station. Now in PBS we have a company rule that once you have started to reverse of the stop you don't stop and pick passengers up. Saves confusion. Now before I do start reversing I had to start the engine, close the doors, switch on headlights and hazard warning lights and engage reverse gear. Then look round and check it is safe to go and if it is release hand brake and go. In both the cases some one who had been chatting to a friend decided this moment was a good time to get on the bus. Wrong, not a good time to get on the bus and neither of them managed it. Plenty of time to continue chatting.

The last incident was the same as the first when a women with a dog arrived a second after a car had flashed his lights and I had started moving. I do look to see if any one is running up at the last minute but there does come a point where you have to stop looking and are "Committed to Go. So it Goes

The second incident I described wasn't me by the way. I would have stopped gently and without fuss and proceeded on my way happy in my work.

New Duties

Some body up there hates me. By up there I don't mean up in Heaven where god lives, I mean Head Office, Exeter where GOD lives. One of his underlings has the job of, twice a year, creating new duties. Being a holiday town we have summer timetables which run from the end of May to the middle of September and winter timetables which run the rest of the time. This underling has to work out the timetables and then fit those in with all the 700 drivers duties. His job can best be discribed as getting as many buses on the road using as few drivers as possible. Most of these duties fit in fairly easily, the problem comes when he gets near the end when the bulk of the work is done. There are the odds and sods to be slotted in. Well this time he has looked at my rota, 12 Middles and dumped the crap he can't fit in any where else. A middle rota should contain duties that start after 9 am and finish before 8 pm. Our middle rota runs for 4 weeks which means 20 duties. Of those 20 duties 5 start before 9 am and nine finish after 8 pm. That means only 6 duties out of 20 are middles. that's 30%.

If you went to McDonalds and asked for a beefburger you would expect it to contain more than 30% beef wouldn't you; well maybe not.

I am thinking of sueing the company under the Trade Descriptions Act.

Tuesday, 23 May 2006

Passengers; don't you just love 'em?

I have said before and I will almost certainly say again that most passengers are fine. They queue up, get on the bus, say where they are going and pay their fare without any bother. Now and then they ask questions like,"When's the last bus? What time does the 85 run? Where do I get a bus to the Zoo? Etc etc. These are all part of the day's work. Now and then. and I do mean now and then there are odd ones, and like buses they seem to travel in threes and fours.

I knew to day, as soon as I took over the bus at Paignton was going to be a bunch day. As usual I was waiting for my bus to arrive in Paignton 5 mins before it was due. And as usual as the bus pulled up at the stop I explained to the waiting passengers that we were changing drivers and I would be as quick as possible. Some one in the queue made the comment that we were always changing drivers. Not so, there is only a 40% chance that if you are waiting on Paignton Bus Station for a 12 during the day that the drivers will be changing. This guy wanted to get on the bus straight away. Experience had taught us that it is always quickest to change drivers before boarding the waiting passengers. He still had a moan. As I was about to pull out someone came running up and I waited. They boarded and showed a megarider. Half way up Totnes Rd he came up and wanted to know why I wasn't going to Brixham. I explained the bus was a 12A and took the long way via Roselands to Brixham. He wanted to get of at the lights, no chance. The company does not like drivers letting passengers of the bus at lights.

Later a couple in their early twenties boarded and she asked for a child return to Torquay. The only way she would see 21 again is if she wrote "21" on a piece of paper and held it up in front of her. I just smiled at her punched up and adult fare. She decided to get an adult single. He then produced a Paignton Megarider. When we got to Cockington Lane they were both still and the bus and I had great pleasure in going up to him and explaining, politely, that Cockington Lane was as far as he could go using a Paignton Megarider. £1.30 please. It was even nicer when 3 hours later they got on the bus to go back to Paignton and he tried to use his megarider and I got an other £1.30 of him. She took one look at me and asked for an adult single. Nice things do happen if you wait long enough.

Still later a couple with a 3 year old child boarded. The male passenger bought a day rider and went and sat down. Mum also bought a day rider and the child tried to take the ticket. After mum had taken the ticket, and as I always do, I punched zero and c on the machine. This produces a blank ticket which the child took, happy he now has his very own ticket. A moment later dad appears wanting to know why I had charged the 3 year old child. How to explain that in a hurry.

Still even later 6 people got on the bus on the Harbour Side. The first passenger asked for a 55p ticket. We don't work like that here. You tell us where you are going we punch in the correct fare stage number and the machine works out the fare. So I asked where they were going. The station. Now there are several railway stations served by the 12/12A so I said, "Which station." Bewilderment. A brief discussion came up with Torquay Station. Fare stage 37, fare £1.10. They were only charged 55p on the way in. Did they mean Torr Station, that is 55p. No Torquay Station. When I got there and pointed it out to them they said, "No it's the Crest Hotel we want." Have a guess. That's right. It's next to Torr Station, bet you got it in one.

Last trip of the day runs from Newton only as far as the Harbour. When I got to the Harbour and stopped there was an other bus coming up behind me that was going to Paignton, told you bus came in bunches. I nipped up stairs to check there wasn't someone still on the bus that hadn't read the destination board and though we were going on the Paignton. There was. Happens a lot of the time. I explained that I wasn't going any futher but there was a bus just behind that was. He jumped up and dropped some money and by the time he had gathered it up the Paignton bound 12 had gone.

Still later, into depot, pay in, go home, open can of beer, collapse in front of telly.

Change to Summer Duties

Today is Tuesday and on Sunday we change to Summer time tables. On the 12/12A we get extra time in order to pick up all the holiday makers who flood down to the Bay every year. One problem is the new rotas. What will they be like? Will you end up in Newton Abbot at 15:20 and miss the school run or will you get there 15 mins later and pull away with 75 school children on the bus. Will you have duties that have a first half of 1 and a half hours and a second half of 5 hours 20 mins as happened one year. Or worse still, I am on a middle rota and one year there were 5 earlies and 9 lates and 3 Torquay Local duties included. I hate local duties. There is a local duty in Paignton that does 16 Foxholes and nothing else. On the 12 rota I generally do a round trip, have a break and then 1 and a half round trips and finish.

The second problem is they start on Sunday, that's 5 days away and still the new duties haven't been posted. I just don't know what I am doing next week. This happens every year so I am used to it by now but the company know we are going on the summer running months in advance and we still don't get the rotas until the last minute.

The picture above I took while I was in Byron Bay which is the most Easterly place in Australia. At my sisters suggestion I sent it to the local paper, the Gold Coast Bulletin. They are considering it for publication. What's to consider, it's a great picture.

Friday, 19 May 2006

Duck Football

Up in Roselands there is a family of ducks. Mum Duck and her 3 little ones. A single parent family I have to report, either that or Dad Duck spends his days out working hard and I have misjudged him. Anyway one day last week when the sun was shinning they were all out in the garden playing football with mum as the referee.

One of the little ducks must have been upset by one or more of her decisions and shouted that well know, to referees that is, saying, "Get your eyes tested, Ref.

So the next day when I went past there is mum having her eyes tested. Probably the only ref in the history of the game to actually go and get his/ her eyes tested.

Brunel's Bus

Just a picture of a bus.
Named Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Engineer.
A local lad.Sort of.

Thursday, 18 May 2006

Parking Attendants Banned from Bay Pubs

Now this doesn't happen every day. A pub land lord has banned all parking attendants from his 5 pubs in Torbay. Seems he got a parking ticket.

First a bit of background. In the Bay we used to have Traffic Wardens who almost never issued parking tickets. Sounds fine, park anywhere you like and no chance of a parking ticket. Well not exactly true. You had to get up early to find some where to park as most of the spaces were quickly taken up by local traders who liked to park out side their place of work all day, who wouldn't? Problem was when the shoppers got into town they just parked any where, bus stops, pavements, on bends, blocking roads. The traffic wardens spent most of their time wandering round smiling at people. The council, God Bless the Council, decided to bring in NCP to run parking inforcement. NCP 's Parking Attendants now issue lots and lots of tickets (some say too many, but not me) and now it is much easier to drive round town and to find parking places in the One Hours Parking Bays that before were full all day with the same cars parked for hours and hours. Illegally.

Anyway a Mr Thornton parked out side one of his pubs in Union Street. Under a sign which said "No Parking at Any Time." Now you can load and unload under such a sign but it would appear that our Parking Attendants are a cynical lot. They do like to see some loading or unloading going on. Other wise they get the idea that you aren't actually loading or unloading but are in fact Parking. And they issue a ticket. £60 but pay in 28 days and you get let of with £30.

Seems Mr Thornton was loading but got distracted and answered his phone. When you are talking on the phone you are not loading. So you must be Parking. Under a sign that says, "No Parking at Any Time."

An other point, if you click on the link below it will take you to the local News Paper. If you want, type in 'parking' in Search and hundreds of items, some dating back over a year will appear. All remark on how many tickets NCP have issued so far and complaints from some that they are too Draconian with their powers and praise from others for clearing the streets of illegally parked cars. Every body who lives in Torbay and drives a car must have heard of NCP or smoke pot 24/7. Mr Thornton must have known NCP are in town and he was parked in the centre of town. What exactly did he expect?

An other point, on the Herald Express' web page readers are invited to comment on news items. Some items get no comments, most get 2 or three, some time as many as four. Last time I looked there were 20 comments. Go there and make a comment. If you feel like it.

The Herald Express.

Supermarket in St Marychurch.

A couple of days ago our council held a meeting regarding one of the options of what to do with the old Town Hall in St Marychurch. To put you in the picture, this town hall has been disused for some time. It stands on the main road out of Torquay to Teignbridge and Dawlish at the junction with Manor Road. The main road is not very wide and Manor Road is even narrower. There are plenty of shops about but some one, Tesco I think wants to build a supermarket there.

These pictures should help the council decide that such an idea is not exactly a top class option. Pull the place down and make a park would be a better idea. Anyway I came round the Post Office Roundabout yesterday and this taxi, the grey estate car, stopped in front of me blocking the road. The Lady taxi driver knew she was blocking the road but probably thought that she could load her passenger and be gone in a few seconds. I mean how hard is it to open the door, get passenger in the cab with her 4 bags of shopping find out where she wants to go and GO. Been there, done that, haven't got the T shirt though, gave it to Oxfam.

What she didn't know but soon found out was that passenger didn't just have the 4 bags of shopping she was holding but that other 20 bags were waiting on the pavement 10 feet in front of the cab and the whole exercise took about half an hour. Four minutes really but I bet it felt like half an hour with the whole of Torquay coming to a dead stop. Such incidents happen at this junction regularly and the shop these people had come out of isn't exactly big. In St Marychurch there isn't room to build a street level car park so this sort of thing will be a common occurrence. God help the 30, 31, 32, 34, 66, and 85 bus drivers as well as every other driver driving round St Marychurch once this supermarket goes up.

Please Torbay Council, build a park, after all we don't have to many parks in the Bay.

Tuesday, 16 May 2006

Please Let the Bus Out.

Yesterday I drove 18071 on the first half of my duty. Nothing really wrong with 18071. It pulls away briskly, the steering is light and the brakes work. The seat is comfortable and its no great stretch to reach the ticket machine. The bell is loud enought to be heard without scaring me half to deaf and the doors open and close fairly quickly. The radio is easy to set up and the mirrors have a good view of the road behind. But I don't like driving this bus. Come to think of it I haven't liked driving this bus since last October. Before that this bus was as unremarkable as the rest of the deckers we use on the 12/12A route

What happened in October that makes me uncomfortable with this bus. The catch that releases the drivers window broke off and now it is impossible to open the window. Now, if you have read your Highway Code some time in the last 40 years you will come across a section that says, "Please let the bus out from a bus stop if safe to do so." Yes I know there are bus drivers out there who think that car drivers HAVE to let buses out and just pull out no matter what. And there are car drivers out there who would sooner die than let a bus out in front of them and now and then these two come into contact; violently. Happened in front of Mojos pub on the sea front on Sunday. Front of car and side of bus buried deep in each other. Me, I like to put the indicators on and put my hand out the window and wait until some one lets me out, usually indicating by flashing their lights. At this point I will pull out and give them a little wave by way of thanks. Shows what a nice, friendly bus driver I am. In 18071 this is impossible as the window wont open. So to the 37 drivers who let me pull out Monday lunch time and only got a quick flash on the Hazard Warning Lights; Sorry. Very impolite of me but not my fault. I still feel bad about it though.

I know this problem has existed since October as I sent a Memo to the Engineering Manager re this window about 3 months ago and he wrote back and assured me that a new window had been ordered in October. If you had a new car and had to wait 8 months for a replacement part would you be happy or would you be on the phone every other day wanting to know where it was and what the Daily Mirror would make of the fact that you had bought a £120 000 vehicle and were still waiting 8 months later for replacement window.

Monday, 15 May 2006


I work every other Sunday. I usually don't mind working Sunday except for the fact that I have to start at about 08:00. I don't normally get out of bed before 08:15 so I am not in the best of moods when I get to work. I usually perk up once I am out driving but to day was different. My mood went down hill steadily. This Sunday some one decided to do some road works in Higher Union Street. So we had a diversion; two bus stops weren't going to see a bus all day. So, using experience to guide me when I got to work I asked if the bus stops had been posted so some poor sod wouldn't spend most of the day waiting for a bus. Given past experience I know people have waited over an hour at bus stops that should have been posted. They just though the bus was a little late.

Before I had finished the question I was assured that the stops HAD been posted. A little later in the day I heard on the radio that one of them hadn't. 50% success rate.

Anyway, out onto the Bus Park to get my bus.

Not a lot of room here, we could do with a bigger bus park.

The first 12 into Paignton is still arriving 2 mins after the first 12A has left(12A's Run every hour on a Sunday) and still nothing has been done about it. I have been moaning to management since September about this. Still new rotas out at the end of the month; maybe it will change, I live in hope.

Still no drinking water in Paignton Canteen. I used to make my own coffee until I found out the water in the kettle came from a tank in the roof. I was off ill for 3 days, which was how I found out. So lunch time coffee out of the machine.

Coffee machine was Out of Order so round the corner to the coffee Shop in Dartmouth Road. £1.10 for what turned out to be totally undrinkable dark coloured water. I ended up with a Pepsi.

Rather glad when the shift ended.

Fleet Walk Claims Another Victim!

On Friday there was a collision between a bus and a pedestrian. Fleet Walk is as you can see a pedestrianised street in the centre of Torquay. It's very nice to walk down Fleet Walk with the shops and plenty of room to spread out. Problem is about 35 buses an hour drive up and down Fleet Walk during the day. Us locals know this and watch out for buses which have a company rule that they must drive at less than 10 mph. They must also drive with their headlights on which I think doesn't make a blind bit of difference. If you can't see an 8 foot wide 14 foot high bus then having it headlights on isn't going to help. Also we are not allowed to sound our horns except in an emergency. We can not give a little toot just to warn people we are there. That makes sense, there would be horns going off all day. So people have to watch out for us. Locals do, they know we are there but Holiday makers don't and there is nothing in Fleet Walk to warn them that there could be a bus two feet away from them.

Every one but the council say why isn't there a bus lane marked out so people walking down the Walk can see at their feet the words "Bus Lane." Or even "Dirty Great Buses Drive Down Here, Probably Running Late, So Watch Out."

The gentleman involved in the accident wasn't badly hurt and went home after a check up at the local hospital. I have no information on the state of the bus, or driver. The last time there was an incident involving a bus and pedestrian was over four years ago.

Click here for the Herald Express write up.

Friday, 12 May 2006

Would You Park Your Car Here?

Can you park your car here?

It is any day between 1st May and 30th September and it is some time between 8 in the morning and 6 at night. Can you park here?

Well of course the answer is YES!

Surprised? Lets face it all you have to do is pull up at the side of the road, put the hand brake on, either select a gear or leave it in neutral, switch the engine off, get out, lock the door and walk away. And you've parked here. Under a sign that says no parking. Very clearly says no parking. The other day I was stuck in traffic and I tried to explain to some one that his family's day out to the beach would end in tears if he left his car parked here. He took not a blind bit of notice off me and shepherded his wife and kids across the road to the beach.

And look who turned up.

Wednesday, 10 May 2006

Advertising "Works"?

Seen on a bus shelter,

On the left the people that run the adverts on the bus shelters trying to convince passers by that "Advertising Works."

On the right, probably the least effective advert ever to appear on a bus shelter in the Bay since some one wrote, "Say No To War" in paint on a bus shelter in Paignton just before Our Tony went looking for 'Weapons of Mass Distraction'. Well, lets get it right, he didn't go looking. He sent our brave boys to do the actual looking.

Redundant Signs

The sign on the lampost warns drivers about loose chippings in the road and asks them to drive at 20 mph. Very nice of the council to show such concern. Problem is the work was done in February and it is now May. Time for the signs to be long gone.

So last Friday I emailed the council and asked if they could be taken down. On Tuesday all but this sign were taken down. I think some one in a truck drove along at 20 mph and just grabbed each sign as they passed. Saves any traffic hold ups, which is good.

Problem is they didn't remove the gaffer tape that had been used to hold up the sign.
So an other email to the council.

Tuesday, 9 May 2006

New Improved junction at Belgrave Road.

They, the council that is, are changing the junction at the Sea front and Belgrave Road. This was only months after they spent a few weeks resurfacing the whole area. At present they have only got as far as erecting temporary traffic lights. I am not sure what they are going to do but it is a class one important junction for the 12/12A, X46, 200, and 30 routes and any long tail backs from this junction to the Harbour will also effect the 31,32 and 34 routes around Torquay. This evening for some reason the lights were moved back towards the Harbour and a long tail back developed instantaneously. I hope the council spend a lot of time looking at the traffic management arrangements put in force by the contractor or we are in for a slow moving 3 weeks.

What am I saying, when did our council ever care about traffic management. We are in for a slow moving 3 weeks.

Learning and the Union

The Union and the Company have come together and are offering to improve drivers IT skills. Today was the open day, several IT instructors were in the canteen at Paignton getting drivers and other staff to sign up. The deal is attractive, you spent an hour of your time and the company will let you spend an hour of their time improving not just your computer skills but also English and Maths.

I was tempted to have ago at improving my computer skills but in the end I decided that there aren't enough hours in the day as it is. Sounds like a good scheme though and good luck to all who sail in her.

Monday, 8 May 2006

Roadwork and the diversion

On Sunday the council had planned some roadworks on the Dartmouth Road. This meant that all the traffic has to go over the Ring Road. The ring road is mostly one lane and has a major problem. The major problem is Tweenaway Cross. Much of the traffic that had been diverted needed to turn right there. The right turn traffic is controlled by the lights and on a Sunday there is not normally much traffic turning right so not much time is allowed to turn right, usually 8 or 10 vehicles. By 11 O' Clock on Sunday there were a hundred vehicles waiting to turn right and the tail back was so long that they were blocking the traffic wanting to go straight on. Result, 1 hr and 5 mins to travel what usually take 20 mins. Now it isn't as if this situation is new. This diversion was in place in January when 5 weeks of road works had been carried out and the same thing had happened each Sunday. So with this in mind you would expect any forward planning, imaginative council would have done some thing with the timing of the lights. Well a forward planning, imaginative council probably would have but Torbay Council seem to take great pride in not being accused of being a forward planning imaginative council, or maybe they just weren't planning to drive from Brixham to Paignton on Sunday.

A bit further down the down the road an elderly couple boarded the bus. She went and sat down while he dealt with the servant, sorry bus driver. He held up two of the new Devon Wide Over Sixties Passes. Free travel but you have to tell the servant, sorry bus driver where you are going. Which he did in the sort of loud voice one uses on the servants, sorry bus driver. He mentioned some obscure road which I had never heard of. I told him that I had never heard of this road but before I could ask for a clue as to its where abouts he he turned and told the rest of the bus that I didn't know where I was going. I decided that it might be a good idea if I got my
"A to Z" out and looked the road up while he continued to complain to the rest of the passengers that it was impossible to get the staff these days. He then informed me that all the other drivers knew where it was. Journalists hate the person who first said, " No Comment." I hate the first passenger who said "All the other drivers." Anyway I should have known better but I told him once again that I didn't. He informed me it was on the main road. But not which main road. Finally he lowered himself to tell me it was near the medical centre. But not which medical centre. "All the other drivers know the medical centre." This could have gone on all day and although I was enjoying myself I had to remind myself that the bus was running 50 mins late. So even though it is against the rules I issued the two tickets to Torquay. He then asked me, "Where are my tickets?" I pointed at the tickets sticking out of the machine and resisted the desire to ask why all the other drivers hadn't shown him where the ticket come out of the machine. He looked at me blankly for ten seconds and then instead of just pulling the tickets out of the machine as any experienced traveler would he used both hands and tore the tickets out of the machine.

He got off in Torquay so I had issued the correct ticket. I hope he enjoyed his first bus trip.

Cars on Bus Stops

This car was parked on the bus stop at Castle Circus, usually I don't bother about cars parking on bus stops. I just pull up next to them, unload, load and go. The reason I don't bother isn't that it doesn't piss me off. It does, but even if by careful, reasoned, well thought out and presented argument (or even the half brick in a sock type of argument) I manage to show the cretin driving this car that parking on bus stops is unlawful and does not help me in my job or old dears get on and of the bus in safety and comfort, there are still 27 million other cretins just waiting to park on a bus stop. (1) But yesterday I was a few seconds early and so decided to take a photo just for the hell of it.
Next second the car is driven off at speed. Maybe the driver thought I was going to send the picture to the police or maybe to the Herald Express and get them to spread his car on the bus stop all over the front page. He did shout some thing about only being there a few seconds and that I was a ...... and a ....... . Isn't life wonderful.

(1) There are 27 million and 9 moterists in this country, so you must be one of the 9 who aren't queing up to park on the bus stop.

Saturday, 6 May 2006

Torquay Saved at Last Moment

A big day to day for our local football team, Torquay United. All season through they have been in the relegation zone. And this wasn't just any relegation zone. If they went down they were out of the Football League. We were in a similar position last year, when Torquay were in Division One. On the last day of the season Torquay needed a draw to stay up. Even if they didn't draw if any of three other teams lost then Torquay would not be for the drop. Well last year all the results went against Torquay and the dropped down into Division Two. This year as I have said the spent all season down in the bottom 4. Then a few weeks ago a new manager and a new attitude. Last week end they went to Carlisle who were top and beat them. All they needed to day was a draw, a win would have been nicer but loosing would have only sent them down if Oxford won and three other teams also won or drew. With odds like that in their favour what do up expect.

Sorry, they did manage a draw so the are still in the Football League. Twenty out of 24 in Division Two, 86th out of 90 in the Football League.

For Tables Click Here

Thursday, 4 May 2006

A Couple of disappointments

A Couple of disappointments at work yesterday. I worked a rest day. Not an unusual occurrence in the bus industry. A few drivers have left recently and a few are of sick and a few on holiday and duties would not be covered unless some body volunteered to work their rest days. True we get paid extra as does the tax man and passengers don't have to stand at bus stops wondering if their bus is going to turn up (sic) so every one wins. I drove a 200 service which is the Open Top Bus. It operates all year round, the weather is so good down here in the Bay we can. That wasn't one of the disappointments but it did lead to the first.

As you can see in my photo, I have captured a shot of mist coming in of the sea and covering the north end of the bay. I missed a much better shot than this. The 200 comes down Penwill Way which is high up over Paignton and has a good view of this end of the Bay. As I came round the corner I had a birds eye view of the mist creeping over Torquay. The view only lasted a couple of seconds and then was gone, hidden behind the houses. No where to pull in and take what would have been the star shot in BBC Devons Photo Gallery.

Two hours later when I went round again the mist had mostly gone and the photo had gone with it. Shame.

The other disappointment came when I finished. Retirement for me is still two and a half years away, longer if I have any thing to do with it. I have a few hobbies, taking photos, going to the pub (on my days of I should add) and blogging about bus driving. Oh yes, and bus driving. If I retire there will only be going to the pub and taking photos. I'll soon get bored with 2000 shots of the inside of the pub.

Now a couple of years ago the government promised a bill that would make it illegal to discriminate against some just because they had reached retirement age. I found out yesterday that the wording had changed slight and the bill had had it's balls cut of. It now reads that it is illegal to discriminate just because of age.(1) Unless you are over retirement age then you can be fired without mercy.

(1) Lawyers must be rubbing their bank balances with unadulterated joy(2) because:-

Q) How in God's name do you prove something like that in a court of Law?

A) Hire better, ie more expensive lawyers than the other side.

(2) Lawyers must have framed this law.

Wednesday, 3 May 2006

Notice on the Wall at Work.

While I was away some one put this notice up on the wall at work. As you enter the depot it is there in front of you. Most of the items are common sense, watch out for moving vehicles and pedestrians and proceed with extreme caution are the sort of top class advice I would expect the company to give anyone entering a bus depot. Ten miles per hour is fair. At that speed even an 11 tonne bus will stop in 10 feet (3m). Dipped head lights I'm not so sure about. At night fine, but in the daylight, bit iffy. I drive down Fleet Walk in town with dipped headlights, company rule. I also walk down Fleet Walk on my days off on the way to the pub and I find that I can see buses just as easily, being big vehicles, with or with out the lights on. The one about Hi Vis clothing is a bit redundant, everyone who works there knows they have to wear hi vis jackets. A visitor who arrives without a hi vis jacket is now forced to stand at the entrance waving franticly until someone comes out and lends him said jacket. That some one can now tell him to report to reception. No major problems so far though. My big concern is with the top line. STOP.

A similar notice went up in Paignton Bus Station with the word STOP at the top and I have only ever noticed one driver stop at the entrance to the station and I don't any more since a First Western X80 almost ran into the back of me. But the problem is it says STOP. The problem is there is no need to STOP. As you enter the depot, and the bus station there is a clear view all round. What is the point in stopping? The notice says STOP, so I will. But will the driver behind expect me to stop when both he and I can see it is clear to proceed? I sure hope so!

Monday, 1 May 2006

Someone Died Here.

I don't know any of the circumstances involving the fatal accident that happened here in the early hours of May Day morning. Only that as I left the depot on route for Brixham a controller warned me that the Dartmouth Road may be closed and that I may have to divert.

I don't know if the driver, who suffered fatal injuries, took one chance too many or if some one else took that one chance too many or if he was just unlucky. All I do know is that the spot is now marked, and will be briefly marked by the damaged undergrowth at the side of the road and the sand put down to dry out the oil left by the accident. A small reminder to us all as we drive past.