Friday, 29 September 2006

Cockington Village

Cockington Forge

Cockington Village is one of Torbay's many attractions and to day in the interest of customer care I paid the place a visit. It dates back to and was mentioned in the Doomsday Book and is a small village that has retained thatched roofs and old world charm. Click here to read what BBC Radio Devon has to say about the place.
When I first arrived in Torquay and started driving a bus the driver who showed me the 12 route on my first day pointed out Cockington Lane and mentioned that Cockington Village was down that way. I had never heard of Cockington but soon realised that it was a place of interest when holiday people began asking me if we went there. The roads are a bit to small for double decker buses but I was able to tell them that they could either catch a mini bus which did nothing but run between Torquay and Cockington from outside the Pavilion or they could catch the 12/12A and get of at the Livermead Cliff Hotel and it was but short walk. For the first couple of years I must have told hundreds of passengers it was 10 minutes. Then one day I took a couple and droped them of at the end of the lane."It's up that lane, about 10 minutes." I said as I pointed at Cockington Lane.
About three hours later I picked them up on the way back to Torquay and he told me off and explained it was more like 20 minutes. So I now know it is about 20, or even 30 if you dont hurry. Which is what I tell the passengers. Also it is a nice walk, reasonably flat and tree lined with birds singing in the trees with the occasional bench if, like me a rest is required. So to all those people I misled I am sorry, but I am sure you all enjoyed the trip to Cockington.

For a few more photos from Cockington just click here

Thursday, 28 September 2006


Cockington Forge

Cockington Village is one of Torbay's many attractions and to day in the interest of customer care I paid the place a visit. It dates back to and was mentioned in the Doomsday Book and is a small village that has retained thatched roofs and old world charm. Click here to read what BBC Radio Devon has to say about the place.

When I first arrived in Torquay and started driving a bus the driver who showed me the 12 route on my first day pointed out Cockington Lane and mentioned that Cockington Village was down that way. I had never heard of Cockington but soon realised that it was a place of interest when holiday people began asking me if we went there. The roads are a bit to small for double decker buses but I was able to tell them that they could either catch a mini bus which did nothing but run between Torquay and Cockington from outside the Pravilion or they could catch the 12/12A and get of at the Livermead Cliff Hotel and it was but short walk. For the first couple of years I must have told hundreds of passengers it was 10 minutes. Then one day I took a couple and droped them of at the end of the lane."It's up that lane, about 10 minutes." I said as I pointed at Cockington Lane.

About three hours later I picked them up on the way back to Torquay and he told me off and explained it was more like 20 minutes. So I now know it is about 20, or even 30 if you dont hurry. It is a nice walk reasonably flat and tree lined with birds singing in the trees with the occasional bench if, like me a rest is required. So to all those people I misled I am sorry, but I am sure you all enjoyed the trip to Cockington.

Tuesday, 26 September 2006

The Long way to Torquay

One of those little things to day that always leaves me a little upset. For two reasons, the first should be obvious, the second slightly less so.

On Paignton Bus Station there are two bus stops for the 12. One is on stand M and goes to Brixham, takes 20 mins. The board above the stop clearly states that this is the stop for Brixham. The other is on stand Q and goes to Torquay and Newton Abbot. The board above stand Q clearly states this. The trip to Torquay takes 20 mins and all the way to Newton is an hour. To day I pulled in on stand M on my way to Brixham and lots of passengers got on. Most of then had some kind of ticket, either a day or a weekly ticket. A few bought tickets. When I got to the terminus at Bank Lane Brixham the passengers all got off except one lady. I asked here where she wanted, "Torquay." She had waited at the wrong stop. She now had a journey of 40 mins on top of the 20 she had already been on the bus.

Please; if you are not sure, be brave, ask the driver where the bus is going, we won't bite, well most of us won't any way, but you could save your self loads of time......

Part of the problem, which I have mentioned before is the fact that when I depart Newton Abbot for Brixham I have on the front of the bus the number 12 and Brixham in large letters. Scrolling across under this is 'Via Torquay and Paignton.' When I get to Paignton and pull up on stand M it still says 'Via Torquay and Paignton.' I have already been to Torquay, but it still says Torquay. Bit of a problem here.

Monday, 25 September 2006


A Scheduer is the poor guy who has to take the bare bones of a time table and try and fit all the drivers and all the buses in to it. He has to make sure that every bus is where it should be when a drivers gets to his break or the end of his shift and make sure there is an other driver to take over the bus. He has to make sure that he does this and make sure that each driver is within his driving hours and gets at least 30 minutes break. The legal minimum. He has to make sure that every trip that is on the time table is covered and that there aren't too many bus for drivers or drivers for buses in any one place. He also has to make sure that he is using as few drivers as possible or the accountants will want to know why. I am sure there are lots more things he has to do and I know Scheduer is not a job I could do. For one thing I wouldn't know where to start. For an other I am not sure I could stand the strain that must go with the first day of new timetables. Like; Will it work?

Well to day was the first day of a new timetable and for me everything worked. A bus arrived to take me to work, the right bus arrived for me to take over. When I got to Paignton for my break there was a driver standing there expecting me. After my break the bus arrived for me to take over and when I finished my shift there was a driver standing on the Newton Road waiting for me. I did hear there was a slight problem in Paignton but it was soon sorted and no loss of service.

Years ago, back in the Dark Ages, when I was a teacher in a secondary school somebody made a slight mistake. Well to say a slight mistake was like calling a puddle of water the Pacific Ocean. On the first day the bell went and I made my way to the class room. My room was down a corridor that had 5 class rooms. On this morning it also had about 500 children. In the bus trade we do the same things every week day. So if it works on Monday it will work on Tuesday. Not so in a school, each day is different. It took a week to sort the mess out and the lady who did the time table never did it again. Come to think of it she didn't do much for a few weeks until the medication kicked in.

We have two major time table changes each year, one in May when summer season start and one in September when we go back to winter times. I wonder what the scheduer does the reat of the year.

Saturday, 23 September 2006

Doors; Slow to Open and Close.

I drove a bus the other day with doors that took for ever to open and close. Actually they took about 4 seconds, which is 3 seconds more than most bus doors. Now 3 seconds doesn't sound much but each time you stop to load or unload passengers it adds up to 6 seconds. Do that 10 times and it is a minute extra on the journey. Between Newton and Brixham you can do it 30 times which is 3 minutes. That is almost 4% of the journey time just waiting for the doors to open and close.

Then there are the other problems.

The bell rings, as you pull into the stop you check the inside mirror, only one person is getting off and there is no one at the stop. As you stop you press the red button to open the doors, the person gets of as soon as there is space between the opening doors to do so. You press the green button to close the doors, check the mirror, the road is clear and pull away. 100 yards up the road a glance at the dash to check the speed and what is glaring up at you. The red light that comes on when the bell has been rung. But has it? Is it still on from the last person who just got off. You see, it only goes out if the doors are opened fully. And you didn't let the doors open fully. Well the passenger had got off hadn't he? So now you have to stop at the next stop. If you don't there is bound to be a little voice in your ear saying, "You've missed my stop." Oh dear.
Even if you carry on and no voice appears some one will ring the bell eventually and while that red light is glaring at you the bell wont ring. (A system designed to stop little darlings getting up your nose by ringing the bell a couple of hundred times when they wish to get off.) So you stop, open the doors, close the doors and drive away. No one got on or off and the remaining passengers are now wondering; did you take your medication this morning. Oh, and more time lost.

Next problem is the bus is a low floor bus. If any one who is infirm or elderly or has a baby buggy or is very young or carrying shopping or has a shopping basket on wheels we can press a big black button which releases air from the front left suspension and lower the floor. It makes it easier for them to get on. So we pull up at the stop and if any of the above group are there we press the red button, put the hand brake on and press the black button. The floor goes down and everyone gets on. (note; I know the hand brake should got on first but it's quicker and just as safe that way). Problem is the floor will not go down until the doors have completely opened but people start to get on as soon as they are slightly open. You can't lower the floor now. You do not have a clear sight of the toes of any one still standing on the pavement (sidewalk). It is possible to inflict a lot of damage to a big toe with an 11 tonne bus and a black button. Result: the infirm, elderly, baby buggy pushers and all those in the above group take longer to get on and think you are being mean for not lowering the floor.

And an other problem is some, only a very, very few, one or two maybe, I have to admit, of our passengers think we are opening the doors slowly on purpose just to annoy them and have a go at us."Get the ****ing door open you ****ing ****ing ****." was one comment an enlightened customer made to me one time. Which of course the rest of the passengers had to listen to. And me as well.

There are a few more problems I am sure but I was up at 6 am and it is now 11:35 and I am falling asleep at the keyboard. ZZzzzzzzzz......

Friday, 22 September 2006

Winter Timetables

On Sunday the Winter Timetables start. Which means a change of duties for us drivers. That means changes to the rota. Now I am on a middle rota, 12 Middles, which does not involve too many early or late starts. That is the theory anyway, during the summer, out of 20 duties spread over 4 weeks I had 5 early starts and 9 late finishes leaving 6 duties that were middle duties. Not desperately happy with that but summer is now over and the new rotas are better. Only two early starts and 3 late finishes. Big improvement. On the down side, I did have a Tuesday and Wednesday off together in week 3, that has been changed to Sunday and Wednesday, not so ecstatic about that. Two days off together is more relaxing than two separate days, you feel happier when you get back to work, more full of enthusiasm after two days away, more alert to the little problems we face on the road. Also I prefer days off in the week to weekends.

The really true test will come when we get to see the actual duties, How many school runs will there be (I prefer no school runs, I am not alone in this)? What percent of them will be on service 12A as against service 12, (I prefer service 12)? Will any of them have a 2 hour first half followed by 5 hrs 15 mins second half, (not nice)? How long will the meal breaks be, 30 mins is the minimum but 45 mins is better, no need to rush and if you are a couple of mins late you can still get the 30 minimum no problem. Management did offer us a 40 min unpaid break with an increase in the hourerly pay to make up the lost 3 hour 20 mins. This would have meant we would always have had a 40 min break and been paid if the break went over 40 mins. Now sometimes we get breaks as short as 32 mins. But the Union said NO! NO! NO!.................. They had a bee in their bonnet about unpaid breaks and once there it will buzz about for eternity.

To day the new duties should be out. They do start on Sunday so the should be ready by now, shouldn't they? Any way I shall go in 10 mins early today and hope they are there and I can see what the next 7 months will be like. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 20 September 2006

I came across this on Raised by Chaffinches, a blog I look at from time to time.

A disease is striking Britain's finch population causing a lingering death for chaffinches and greenfinches. If you feed the birds (and I hope you do) please read this story in today's Times then make a note to regularly clean your feeding stations and water dishes now and in the future.
For the full story in the Times On Line click here.

Please put this on your blog or website to spread the word.

Almost an embarrassing moment.

Some days I start work on the Strand in Torquay so I can walk to work down Fleet Street. The other day was one such day and I noticed that the Land Train had come down Fleet Street, as it does every 40 mins, and had not pulled in to the space on the left to pick up passengers. The driver expected the conductor would get the passengers on board and collect the fares at the next stop. But the conductor wasn't having any of this and insisted in collecting the fares, thus delaying the train long enough for a 31 to come up Fleet Street. The road was blocked so I took the photo. Aren't I nasty?

A couple of hours later I drove down Fleet Street and on to the Strand. To get to the bus stop you have to drive along the Strand and round the Clock Tower Roundabout. When I got there, there was a 32 and a 200 on the stop which meant I had to stop at the back of the stop which is where the Train pulls in. No problem, I was due out in less than a minute. I opened the doors and one or two passengers got off. No one got on. The 200 and the 32 then pulled away and I was just about to go when a little, old and frail lady got on. At the same time I noticed that the Train had just emerged from Fleet Street. And I, who took a picture of him blocking Fleet Walk earlier, was now in his way. Still no problem, there was lots of slow moving traffic between the Train and me. Where did the dear sweet little old frail lady want to go? She wasn't sure. The Train was getting closer. She decided on Paignton. Did she have a yellow card I foolishly asked. "What's a yellow card?" she sweetly asked. "I'll take that as a No." I replied. If she didn't know what it was, she didn't have one. "Well I might have one if I knew what it was." she innocently queried. "It's an OAP bus pass." They are a a bright yellow folder so we call them yellow cards. "Oh I have one of them." she triumphantly smiled. God the Train was now almost at the roundabout and the driver was ringing his bell to warn me to move soon or block up the whole of Torquay town centre. She fished in her bag and produced a Rotherham bus pass. "Sorry we don't take those. Rotherham don't take ours so we don't take theirs." I was getting desperate now. The bell on the Train rang again, louder and more insistent now. "Single or return." More consideration. "Single." "£1.95 please." She opened her purse and I could see a £5.00 note but she was looking for the right money, bless her. I pointed out I had plenty of change, even pointing to my cash try."Oh yes you have." and grudgingly extracted the note. The Train was still stuck in traffic on the roundabout but that kind of luck doesn't last for ever. While I punched the keys on the ticket machine she told me she had been coming to Torquay since she was a young girl and she was now 94.

I clamped my hand over my mouth to stop my self from saying, "I expect you have seen a few changes in that time." We could have still been there if I had. By now the controller had seen my problem and the Driver of the Train was ringing the Train's bell with frantic pleasure as he at last started to pull off the roundabout and head for his space on the bus stop. The space I was occupying. The controller got on the bus and grabbed the little dear sweet old frail lady's bag and practically pushed her down the bus to a seat. I say practically, he didn't actually push her. We don't do things like that. He jumped off I shut the doors and checked the mirror just as the Train arrived. He didn't quite block the town up and blame it on me.

I love little sweet frail old ladies.

The rest of the day passed without incident.

Monday, 18 September 2006

Tree down in Sherborne Road. Did the rabbit do it?

There used to be a tree in the bus station in Newton Abbot It was right in front of the 12 bus stop out side the Market Hall. I never really noticed it. Indeed I had to look through a 1000 photos to find a decent picture.

The tree started life way back in 1981, when I was living in Manchester, I counted the rings. On Saturday I drove into Sherborne Road and it was gone, reduced to a stump and a little bit of sawdust spread about on the pavement. So I got of the bus and took the picture below.

Even the rabbit looks upset by the lost of this silver birch tree that had stood here so long.

Yes; that is a six foot rabbit. It rides round Newton Abbot perched on the handlebars of it's owners bike. I'm not sure of it's name, I suppose Harvey would be too obvious.

Bus Driver Jimmy

Over on the right there are a few links to other blogs that I visit from time to time. One of them is called "Busdriver Jimmy." This title is a little misleading at the moment as Jimmy isn't driving a bus just yet. He has been doing some thing much harder than driving a bus, he has been learning to drive a bus. Yes I know there are people out there who find it hard to believe that we actually do learn to drive the damn things. Well we do. And it is hard work, very hard work. With a lot of pressure. Have a read of Jimmy's blog if you don't believe me. Any way he passed his test a couple of days ago so he will soon be out on the road smiling sweetly at his passengers. We have all been there and we all know we are the best drivers on the road. Apart from police car drivers that is, and ambulance drivers and fire engine drivers and white van drivers and post office van drivers and most delivery truck drivers and just about every car driver on the road, especially the boy racers and the off road vehicle drivers who have only ever been off road when they skidded.................. off the road.

Good luck to you Jimmy, it's a great job.

Friday, 15 September 2006

Comments about a new bus stop.

A little while back I noted with sadness the end of the road for a much loved, well much used by me, bus stop on the Newton Road. This is it's replacement. The local council (1) moved it about 200 yards, (that's 200 metres if you live in a more advanced part of the world) down the road. They said the old stop was in an unsafe place close to some traffic lights.

It is still a timing point and drivers still change over here. The bus you can see is having it's driver changed. A bit like having a nappy changed, it can be messy. This change was messy. Now some drivers when they are finishing or going for their break are out of the cab in about 5 seconds flat and in 10 seconds are about half a mile away from the bus. Not that I am in any way suggesting that they are glad to see the back of the bus. These drivers don't even want to see the back of the bus, they just walk away without even looking at the back of the bus.

Other drivers are not quiet so enthusiastic about leaving the bus. They like to spend as long as possible explaining to the new driver exactly what has gone wrong so far that day and what is likely to go wrong with the rest of the day. When they finally dragged, kicking, screaming and saying,"And one last thing.........." out of the cab, the new driver then has to adjust the seat and the steering wheel, hang his cash tray on the hooks provided and put his module in the ticket machine and press a few keys, 38 keys actually to set the machine up so it is capable of issuing tickets; which is of course it's one ambition in life.

If you are taking over and driver you are taking over from is of the, "let me out of here," group then you can be on your way in a couple of minutes. Which can seem a life time to all those drivers sat behind the bus waiting. Why are they there you ask, why didn't they just pull round the bus when it stopped I can hear you saying. Well a hundred yards ahead there is a set of traffic lights. At these lights the left lane goes straight on and the right lane has to turn right. So the drivers behind don't want to pull out into the right lane in case the can not get back into the left lane and they are forced to take the right turn and end up miles from home and lost. They also don't know the bus is having it's nappy changed and expect it will drive away after only a few seconds. Poor fools. If the driver you are taking over from is in the group that don't care if the ever get out of the cab then the couple of minutes can easily drag on into a real life time.

Since this stop moved here we are certainly not making any friends in the car and white van driving community here in Torbay.

Footnote (1) The local council decide where bus stops go here in the UK.

Just when you thought it was safe to go to Brixham

Just in case you didn't know Brixham Town Square is a tight little place that can get grid locked at the drop of a hat. Try it if you don't believe me, cross the road in front of one of the many boy racers who seem to inhabit the place and drop your hat. Stop to pick it up and get run over. The Town Square will be grid locked for hours. While you lie in the road in agony waiting for the ambulance that will be stuck a mile up New Road you can make notes.

Any way, a couple of days ago this notice appeared. I have no idea what Torbay Council and May Gurney have planed for us but it can not be nice.

I will keep you posted.

Thursday, 14 September 2006

Churston School

Between Brixham and Windy Corner there is Churston School. Lots of children attend and we carry quiet a lot of them to and from school. What used to happen is one bus used to drive dead to the school and pick up about 80 children for Paignton and Torquay. The buses coming out of Brixham used to stop at the stop on the main road and carry off the rest to where ever they wanted to go. Now the council have asked the company if they wouldn't mine if a couple of these buses turned into the school and picked the children up in the school grounds. Some thing about safety. Any bus driver the world over will tell you that a mass of school children at a bus stop is an accident waiting to happen but some how never seems to actually happen.

So yesterday I turned in to the school and picked up 40 children, back out on to the main road and low and behold there were an other 30 children waiting at the bus stop. I could have picked them all up at the bus stop in the first place and saved the time it took to go into and out of the school. In the end, with the extra time added on to the journey I was 10 mins late at South Devon College, which probably didn't please them. It also meant that half the passengers I was picking up should have been on the bus behind me. It also meant I was 15 mins late into Paignton at the busiest time of day. An other problem dumped on our laps that no doubt we will deal with manfully in our usual calm professional way.

PS Did the council think of putting a railing up at the bus stop so the kids couldn't spill out onto the road as the bus pulled up? Or may be ask that a teacher be there to make sure the children stayed on the pavement?

Tuesday, 12 September 2006

Three Days Off

I have just had three days off. Once every 4 weeks I get a long weekend. Usually I work the Saturday and some times even the Sunday but it has been a long season and I felt like having all three days without driving a bus which is why there has been no post for three days. Anyway back to work to day and a very boring day it was. I have nothing against boring now and then. True it might get boring in the end, but now and then it is fine. Lots of passengers but not much traffic. Which makes for an easy day. If you sit in any bus drivers canteen long enough some will say, "This would be a great job if it weren't for the passengers." (It's a joke by the way, with just a touch of irony so please don't write sarcastic comments). Actually what this time of year proves is the it is the traffic that we could do without.

The only point of contention with any passengers happened at South Devon College. To get to the college you drive down Long Road, round the roundabout and stop at the first stop if you are going to Paignton, Torquay and Newton. If you are going to Brixham you stop at the second stop. The third stop if you are going any where else. So at lunch time I stopped at the second stop and several people go on who wanted Paignton. I tried to explain that the first stop was for Paignton and this information was written on the bus stop but they pointed out that I had Paignton on the destination blind. This was true. I did but I wasn't going to Paignton, I had been to Paignton and was now going to Brixham which is the other way.

The problem is that when I leave Newton I change the blinds so the number, 12A and the main destination, Brixham are showing. To help passengers, underneath Brixham the words Via Torquay, Paignton, Roselands and South Devon College scroll across. When I get to the college they are still there and these passengers think I am going to Paignton. What they are there for is to tell people where the bus goes on it's complete trip. Regular bus users understand this but these students are using buses for the first time in their lives. Up till now they have been to school in the four wheel drive but now mother had decided that they are old enough to go out in the world on their own. Perhaps using a bus should be on the National Curriculum.

Saturday, 9 September 2006

Quiet; Mostly

Been a quiet week, lots of people about but at this time of year with the children back at school most of the holiday makers have gone home and those that are about are the OAP s enjoying slightly cheaper holidays but still enjoying bright sun shine and reasonable temperatures. They don't tend to use cars to get around so traffic has been light. September is a week old and there hasn't been a days far where it hasn't got above 20C; on Wednesday it got to 27C.

Yesterday we were having no problems getting round until about 3:00 pm when someone decided to park his caravan on it's side on the road out of Brixham and suddenly everyone was running late. It soon cleared up and then we had an other problem. The sea decided that it didn't like staying in the sea and came over the sea wall at Corbin Head. It's Spring High Tide to night and the wind is from the East which means it will come over again to night. If the road gets closed we have to use the diversion which does wonders to the time table. Me, I have a day off so I may go down and take some photos. It can be spectacular.

Thursday, 7 September 2006

Chain Saw on the Bus?

Following a recent post re what you can and can not bring on the bus I had an email asking if a Chain Saw can be carried on the bus.

Yes you can bring a Chain Saw on the bus.

Under either of the two following conditions:-

Condition One
A) You have a letter from a reputable garage workshop which states that running water at the rate of one litre per minute has been fed through the petrol (gas) tank for at least 24 hours.
B) You have a letter from a reputable Bomb Disposal Officer that states he/she has dropped 100 lighted matches into the petrol (gas) tank and there was no sign of an explosion.
C) The petrol (gas) tank is full of dry sand.
D) You can convince me that a Chain Saw comes under the heading of normal hand luggage.

Of the above I would suspect that part D would be the hard part.

Condition Two
The Chain Saw is running and you get on accompanied by a film crew screaming,"I'm a Texan! This is a remake."

You are more likely to get your Chain Saw on if condition two is applied.

Good luck.

Tuesday, 5 September 2006

This is a First

There was an advert on TV not so long ago which showed two African gents in a hotel in New York who notice it it snowing and they go out side and experience snow for the first time. The Ad goes on to suggest that we should all do something for the first time each day. I can not remember what the ad was selling, but there you go.

Any way I had a 'first time' incident yesterday. I have never had someone try and bring a motor cycle on the bus before. True it was a mini motor bike, about one foot high and two feet long but still a motor bike complete with 50cc engine and more to the point a fuel tank. The would be passenger was most upset when I refused to allow him and his bike on the bus. So upset that he would not take my word for the fact that such an item could not travel on public transport.

There are two grounds for refusing him and the bike; one is we allow normal hand luggage on the bus. This lets holiday makers on with suit cases and shoppers on with a few plastic bags of shopping but not mini motor bikes. Also we can, no, must refuse anything that could be considered dangerous material. Now this bike was not brand new. At some stage in it's life it had had petrol in the tank. This ment that it would still have a small amount of petrol and more to to point, petrol vapour in it's tank. It is this vapour that is dangerous. I once worked in a garage years ago in my teens and was given the task of making safe a petrol tank. The boss said run some water through the tank. How long for I asked. Several hours, I was told. If you don't believe me when I tell you how dangerous petrol vapour can be then go and buy a 2 litre bottle of milk, drink the milk and tip half a cup full of petrol in to the empty carton. Next shake it about for a minute, take it on a bus and then drop a lighted match inside. NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! I am only kidding. Do not even think of trying this at home. Don't try this at Home, on the bus, in the back garden, anywhere at all unless you have worked as a bomb disposal officer and the carton with the petrol is behind a very thick brick wall and you are 50 yards away. Make that 100 yards away. Not unless you are called Tony Blair and your job description is Prime Minister and you have just decided to go on for the next twenty years.

Any way I had to get onto control and get them to confirm my decision re no way was the passenger bring this bike on the bus even though he assured me that Alltheother Drivers let him. (I, like most bus drivers hate this bus driver with the odd name of Alltheother. He keeps telling passerngers the wrong thing, lets them ride for free, drink beer and smoke on the bus and eat burgers and fish and chips while swearing at the top of their voice and play rap music on their getto blasters). Control finally told me that the bike could not travel on the bus adding that I should have known this. Well yes Mr. Contoller, I did know this. I just needed you to confirm the fact that motor bikes don't travel by bus so the passenger would believe me. Well he did in the end and set of walking in the direction of Paignton. Why didn't he ride the bike you may ask? Mini motor bikes can only be riden on private land and if the police catch you riding on a public road they take it off you and drop it in the local crusher.

Sunday, 3 September 2006

Rain in the Morning

A bit of good news first. This driver parked his car on the bus stop on the Strand. A few minutes later a parking attendant parked a ticket on his windscreen. £30.00 fine; nice.

As you can see the sun is shining and it is a bright day. When I went to work at 7:45 it was raining and windy and I was thinking to myself, 'a nice quiet day, all the holidaymakers who are still here will stay in.' No such luck, by 9:30 the rain had headed east and the sun as you can see was doing its best to bring every one out.

Still had a quiet day. Never had to rush anywhere. Plenty of stand time at the terminus, waited a minute or two at timing points along the way. No hassle any where. I was quiet supprised when I cashed in to realize that I had taken more cash and carried more people than I had for the last 6 Sundays I have worked. With so many people using the bus why had it seemed so quiet? Well the main reason was the amount of traffic on the roads Almost none. Seems all the car drivers were copying our friend in the white four wheel drive pictured above and had parked up some where (legally) and left the roads empty for us nice bus drivers. Thank you car drivers; could you do it more often please.

Saturday, 2 September 2006

September at Last

September at last. The summer season down here lasts from May till some time about the end of October. We still get nice fine sunny days even into November. But the real hard work is July and August when the children are on holiday. Well now it is the start of September and the kids will be looking forward, bright eyed and bushy tailed, to going back to school some time next week and we bus drivers are all looking forward to taking them back to school, and home again in the afternoon, bless them.

Seriously though, it will be nice to slow down a little after the franticness of the summer. Some afternoons around going back to hotel time you would come down Fleet Walk on to the Strand and see the crowds waiting for your bus. The first thought that crossed you mind would be," They wont all get on this bus". But some how they did. And even as you pulled away more people would be coming up to catch the next bus that was appearing out of Fleet Walk.

Now for the next few weeks we get the elderly, who come down in September and still get the decent weather but without the crowds. Mind you they can still be a little intimidating to see 50 determined pensioners waiting at the bottom of Belgrave Road on their way out for a day in Brixham. But the change in tempo is nice. We will have chance to get off the bus in Brixham and Newton and have a couple of mins away from the bus and enjoy a few deep lung fulls of beautiful Devon air, something you rarely get the chance to do in the summer.

Friday, 1 September 2006


This is Rodger, the controller on Paignton Bus Station. Why is he smiling? Well it is in Rodger's nature to smile alot. That's how he is. Also this Photo was taken on Bank Holiday Monday and Tuesday Rodger left us for the retirement cottage in the country. He started With Devon General in 1974 which means he has been with the company 32 years and he will be missed by all.

Hopefully he will drop by and tell us how good being retired is so that those who only have a few years to go will find the strength to carry on.

Best wishes for a bus free, and free buses, future.