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.


Captain said...

I used to give the little ones 'test tickets' but the company seens to think that an excess of them means your fiddling.

Now I don't bother.

SaneScientist said...

I have taken to stating the fare recently, because for some reason, the bus driver who takes me home each night always looks at me blankly when I tell him my stop (which is opposite one of the biggest landmarks for miles around). Ironically, he now recognises me and simply punches in £2.60. I'm sure he still doesn't know what that stop is called!