Friday, 29 December 2006

Why I love Bus Driving

A Play in Two Acts
Main Player
A Bus Driver
Two Supporting Players
Assorted Bit Players

Scene 1
There are two buses heading into Torquay from Newton Abbot. When both buses reach Torquay Harbour both drivers will go for their meal break. It is vitally important that the front bus gets to the Harbour first as the driver has a piece of equipment required by the relief driver of the second bus. There is heavy slow moving traffic as they approach Union Street at the top of town. The first bus pulls in at the stop where a bit player and Her and Him wait. The driver smiles with some relief as the second bus in now visible in the rear view mirror. The bit player boards the bus and presents a dayrider ticket which the driver conscientiously checks. It is OK and the bit player goes and sits down
Her “Do you go to Brixham?”
Driver “Yes.”
Her (to Him) “It goes to Brixham.”
Him (to Her)” Mumble, mumble mumble.”
Her ”How much does it cost?”
Driver “ Single or return?”
Her (to Him) “Single or return?”
Him (to Her)” Mumble, mumble mumble.”
Her “ How much is single?”
Driver “£2.80”
Her (to Him) “£2.80.”
Him (to Her)” Mumble, mumble mumble.”
Her “Each?”
At this point the next bus has appeared at the top of Union Street.
Driver “Yes, or £4.00 return”
Her (to Him) Yes or £4.00 return.”
Him (to Her)” Mumble, mumble mumble.”
Her ” We have OAP passes.”
Driver Gritting teeth “It’s free then.”
Her (to Him) It’s free with our passes.”
Him (to Her)” Mumble, mumble mumble.”
Her “ They’re from Rotherham.”
At this point the bus behind comes along side but does not stop.
Driver “ Then it is £2.80 single or £3.50 return.”
Her (To Him) £2.80 single or £3.50 return.)
The other bus has now gone past.
Him (to Her)” Mumble, mumble mumble.”
Her ”So it will be £7.00 for both of us.”
By this time several more bit players, some holding bus tickets have arrived at the bus stop.
Driver “Yes.”
Her (To Him) “Yes”
They both step back and the bit players board the bus. The driver smiles slightly as there is still time to catch the other bus up before it reaches the Harbour. He is about to close the doors when:-
Her “How long does it take?”
Driver “About 45 Minutes.”
Her (to Him) “About 45 minutes.”
Him (to Her)” Mumble, mumble mumble.”
Her “How often do they run.”
Driver “ 15 mins.”
Her (to Him)“15 mins.”
Him (to Her)” Mumble, mumble mumble.”
Her “What time is the last bus back.”
Driver “ 23.10.”
Her (to Him) “23.10”
Him (to Her)” Mumble, mumble mumble.”
Her ”What is there to see in Brixham.”
Driver “ Lots of pubs, cafes, restaurants and the Harbour with the replica of the Golden Hind.”
Her (to Him) Lots of pubs, cafes, restaurants and the Harbour with the replica of the Golden Hind.”
Him (to Her)” Mumble, mumble mumble.”
Her “ What’s that?”
Driver, Now finding it difficult to speak as he is trying to bite through the steering wheel, “A replica is an exact copy of the original.”
Her “No the Golden Hind?”
Driver “ Frank some one or other sailed round the world in it in the 16 century.”
Her (to Him)“ Frank some one or other sailed round the world in it in the 16 century.”
Him (to Her)” Mumble, mumble mumble.”
Her “ We wont bother.”
26 more bit plays have assembled and are waiting to board the bus. As the last one does so an Ambulance with blue flashing lights turns into Union Street. The Driver succeeds in biting through the steering wheel.
but manages to drive away muttering, “When shall we three meet again. In hell hopefully.
Based on a true story.
Some dialog by Will Shakespeare.

Thursday, 28 December 2006

Bus Shelter (Conclusion)

You may have read a post from the end of November in which I mention that I had scraped a bus shelter in Long Rd. The picture here is the damage done to the bus. Click here to see the bus shelter. When I did it I got on the radio and told control what had happened, telling them that some damage had occurred. The next driver along got on the radio and told control that some one had wrecked the shelter. His description turned out to be more accurate than mine.

Any way when you do something like this you get a little letter from the Depot Manager asking you to explain what happened. He has a little think about it and then calls you into his office and carefully and politely and very, very firmly explains in words with lots of syllables that hitting another bus shelter would not be a very good career move. To back this statement up he showed me the bill for the shelter and I would like to say here and now I am glad he didn't present me with the bill as it came to just short of £6000 plus VAT. (VAT is 17.5% in case you didn't know) So if you are waiting for a bus and it arrived and stops 5 feet out in the road you know it is me, staying away well from bus shelters for the time being.

Tuesday, 26 December 2006

Christmas Day on the Strand

This is the Strand in Torquay, normally a busy stretch of road but on Christmas Day looking like a scene from Survivors. Except for the gent in blue standing at the side of the road. As soon as I saw him I knew he was waiting for a bus. All those years driving a bus gives you an instinct for this sort of thing. Most people probably wouldn't have spotted it but I knew. Him standing at a bus stop kind of gave it away as well. Being a kindly soul and wishing to demonstrate my customer care skills at every opportunity I approached him and inquired if indeed he was waiting for a bus. Also I couldn't resist the chance to tell him the next bus from this stop wasn't until 06:15 on Wednesday morning. Which was in about 45 hours; quiet a long wait.

Yes, by the way, he was waiting for a bus. My good deed for the day done, I walked down to the pub for a pint.

Sunday, 24 December 2006

What Not To Do On Christmas Eve.

Some poor sod out doing a bit of last minute shopping or visiting friends or family ends up facing the wrong way on a duel carriageway with part of the front suspension smashed up to the point it can no longer hold the front nearside of the car up.
I didn't see what happened but with it being Christmas Eve the word 'Drink' jumps up and hits you between the ears. Probably absolutely nothing to do with drink, just one of those things that happens all the time on the roads but it is a shame it happen to day.
Any way, Merry Christmas to all my readers. Even those who don't believe in Christmas.

Friday, 22 December 2006

Shortest day

Dec 22nd. Up here in the Northen Hemisphere it is the Shortest Day, or as the French like everyone to believe, the Longest Night. This morning the sun came up at 08:13 and will go down at 16:08. That's 7 hours 55 mins of day, pretty short but not to worry, for the next 6 months the days will get longer until June when we have over 16 hours of day light.

As you can see from the photo we couldn't actually see the sun spring up over the edge of the world, we can't even see the houses on the other side of the valley 200 metres away so what chance have we of seeing the sun 148 million kilometres away? And to all those people stuck in Heathrow as BA cancel domestic flights due to the fog:- GO BY BUS.

Thursday, 21 December 2006


Morning passed without any problems, as it usually does. Then after my break I walked down to the main road to start the second half at 15:02 on a 12A. So I got to the stop at 14:59 and down the road I can see a 12A heading for me. Nice, on time, no chasing time all afternoon. It got even better when the bus went right past me, the driver waving to me. Then I noticed the there was an other 12A only a few seconds behind the first. Now this is gloat time, this is really nice. It means that I can potter along to Newton without having to pick much work up, the poor sod in front of me will do it all for me.

So I started to get the ticket machine set up and make my self comfortable when a lady passenger came up to me and told me very apologetically the her young daughter had just been sick on the floor of the bus. The little girl looked very pleased with her self but I am sure that was just a nervous reaction. I sure she didn't really want to deposit the contents of her
stomach all over the floor of my nice clean bus. "12 zero 3 to Orange control", said I into the radio determined to spread the bad news around and not the mess on the floor. "Stay there we will send you an other bus." At least it happened in the best place, right out side the depot.

Fortunately there were only 3 people on the bus but it was a 10 minute wait till the new bus arrived and I headed for Newton late again. So instead of having a nice easy afternoon following the 12A in front of me it was catch up time for the next two hours. Serves me right for gloating when the first 12A went by.

Tuesday, 19 December 2006

Thank You

Thank you all who pointed out that the phone scam I was persuaded to warn you all about was nought but an urban leyland. I shall have words with a certain person who sent me the email when I next see him. Now you know why I started the post with the words,"I don't usually do this but......."

Anyway, back at work after 16 wonderful days with out having to drive a bus and I have so much to tell you about my first two days back. On Monday I went to Brixham on a 12A and back to Paignton where I had my break. Then back to Brixham this time as a 12, up to Newton, back to Brixham, back to Newton then down to the depot for 20:14 to finish. Tuesday the places were the same but I started from the Harbour and went to Newton First before down to Brixham, back to Newton, down to the depot for break, The afternoon I forget. Who says bus drivers lead exciting lives? No one. Thought so. Well here is a nice picture to cheer you all up.

Nice of the gull just to get in the frame at the right moment.Shame about the FirstBus.

Monday, 18 December 2006

Now here is a WARNING

Now I don't usually do this, if you have a mobile phone you should be aware that there are people out there after your money but this is one more scam you need to look out for. Me, if I had a mobile I would be scared to answer the damn thing in case I got home and found the house gone. But here you are:-

If you receive a phone call on your mobile from any person, saying that, he or she is a company engineer, or telling you that they're checking your mobile line, and you have to press #90 or #09 or any other number. End this call immediately without pressing any numbers. There is a fraud company using a device that once you press #90 or #09 they can access your "SIM" card and make calls at your expense. Forward this message to as many colleagues, relatives and friends as you can, to stop it.

Many thanks for your time regarding this matter, take care and regards.

Phil Corris

Police Constable/Crime Prevention Officer

Sunday, 17 December 2006

That will be 60 pence please.

and you can't say it wasn't you as we have you on film.

This is again in Fleet Walk and is just one of those little incidents that, on the whole, we tend not to notice. Not unless the idiot falls of and gets run over by the next bus.

It's nice what you can find on youtube.

Saturday, 16 December 2006

Trial Run with Video

This is a shot of a 12 driving down Fleet Walk. Not very exciting, no sound and doesn't last very long. It is my first try using youTube to get video on this site.

The Wreck of the SS Richard Montgomery

A post or two back I wrote about a BBC program called coast which mentioned in passing the SS Richard Montgomery. This ship contains enough explosives to make a big bang. Not as big as the original Big Bang true, but still pretty damn big. In case you missed the item here is a link to the section of the program that dealt with this war time time bomb.

Click Here

It lasts about 4 minutes and my thanks to a reader for sending the link.

Friday, 15 December 2006

Under Nines and the Belgrave Hotel

The Belgrave Hotel Torquay

The Belgrave Hotel, on Torquay's sea front is not only a 3 Star hotel, they also sponsor the Torquay Rugby Club under 9 team. I go and watch them when I can but was away on holiday and missed a great display by Torquay who ran out winners by 45 points to nil against Salcombe away from home. Nor are they just sponsoring the lads but the are providing them with a Christmas Diner tomorrow and they have also arranged for a couple of taxis to take the lads back to the club's ground where they will be ball boys in the first teams match against Penrynh.

A big thank you to The Belgrave Hotel for taking the time and trouble for the team.

And to Stagecoach Devon, their other sponsors.


Not Bus Driving

I am still on holiday so not much about buses. I did watch a program last night on BBC TV called Coast. If you missed it or can't get BBC then shame. Last night's program covered the Thames Estuary and two items caught my eye, the first was the fact that during the 2nd World War bombers from a now friendly nation used to fly up the Thames on their way to London in an attempt to kill everyone there by dropping bombs on them. We, the Brits, fired a lot of anti aircraft shells at them in an attempt to stop them. Lots of the bombs and shells did not work and are still turning up in fishing nets and being dredged up and passing scuba divers are finding them in such numbers that the Royal Navy employ a team who dispose of this unwanted explosive material. It varies in size from a shells of a few kilograms to 250kg and 500 kg bombs. This happens every week and the navy wrap them up in gaffer tape, add some plastic explosive, light the fuse, drop the lot over the side and move away at a speed similar to the last 12 at night running dead back to the depot all the time shouting "Fire in the hole", to passing yachts and scuba divers. My concern here is, What do they shout at all the marine life that is quietly doing what marine life does until a ruddy great bang disturbs them, probably permanently.
Now I know that WW2 bombs turn up from time to time and this ecologically unfriendly method is the easiest way of getting shut of it all so I just watched with fascinated interest. The second item didn't so much catch my eye as had me running for an atlas to reassure myself that the Thames Estuary was in deed a long long way away. It is, by the way, just in case you are unfamiliar with the geography of this fair land.
This item concerned an American ship, the SS Richard Montgomery, that sank in the estuary with at least 1500 tonnes of big bang material still in it's hold. And both the wreck and the dangerous stuff are still there, 60 years later. Presumably just waiting to fulfil it's propose for existing. I.E. To go BANG in a very big way. If it does all go bang at the same time it will be the largest man made non nuclear explosion ever. Debris will be thrown 3 km (almost 2 miles) into the air and a tidal wave will head for just about every where in the estuary including London and the Houses of Parliament. Hopefully Tony will be there and he will be heard screaming, "I told you he had weapons of mass distruction." as he is carried away by the water never to be heard from again.
Click here if you don't believe me or want more details. The photo is of the SS Richard Montgomery so you can see she is not hiden away in deep water.

Thursday, 14 December 2006

Herald Express

Our local news paper here in Torbay is the Herald Express and now and then I have a look through it's on line site for items relating to Stagecoach. There were two I noticed recently, one regarding buses with engines left running while waiting time at the terminus. I used to live near a bus terminus and I understand the problems a running bus engine can cause. It took several phone calls to the bus company concerned before a notice went up by the bus stop stating that engines must be switched off at the terminus. I reasons I have heard given for not switching the engine off are three.
One, "I'm going in a minute."
Two, "If I switch it off it might not start."
Three, "It's bloody cold and if I switch the engine off the heater stops."
The company do have notices in the sign on room telling drivers that engines must be switched off if waiting more than two minutes at a stop but some just can't be bothered turning the switch to the off position. I always switch off if I am staying more than a minute and in 9 1/2 years only twice has an engine refused to start. OK, I know it does get cold but but it's only for a few minutes against the noise of an engine going, and it does sound much quieter inside the bus than inside nearby houses. Any way persuasive words were spoken and the engine noise has gone down in the nuisance league only to be replaced by dog mess on the pavements. At least you can't hear dog mess, not unless it is very warm, in which case a gentle 'hum' may be audible if you put your ear real close.

The second story was about a group of disabled students at South Devon College. They had a trip out planed but the cost of hiring vehicles to take then to Newquay Zoo was far too much. The Mayor had a word with Stagecoach and a bus and driver were provided and a great day out was had by all.

Which proves we can get things right when we try.

Wednesday, 13 December 2006

My Blogg. Pornographic?

So there I was, down at the Library and there was a computer spare so I checked my email. Then I decided to have a look at my blogg.
And you can see what I got. In case the writing is a bit too small to read, it says "This site was blocked by restiction list: SWGfL. Pornography Filter List."
Well hello SWGfL Filtering, I can remember last summer making a brief referance to naked dancing girls, actually I said there weren't any, and ....................errm. Well that's about as porno as it gets. So, a casual comment and my blogg is branded porn and baned to every user of Torquay Library computers. Thanks

Tuesday, 12 December 2006

Wrong Bus Company

In a couple of recent posts I have mentioned that passengers now and then get the wrong bus or a bus going in the wrong direction. While in Manchester recently I manage to not only get on the wrong bus but also to get on the wrong bus company.

This as you can see is a First Day ticket which I bought. It cost £3.30 and is valid on First buses only. For £4.00 I could have bought a day ticket valid on most buses that run around Manchester. But I have a Stagecoach Pass so I only needed this ticket. After a day in Manchester I ended up in Peter's Square out side the Library. I needed to get to Piccadilly which is but a short walk up Moseley Street. There was a bus coming so I decided to catch it and save the legs. A glance showed it wasn't Stagecoach so out came the day ticket. The driver looked at it and proclaimed it to be a First Bus ticket in more or less the same tone of voice as I would use if I had just stood in some thing a dog had left on the pavement. "So", said I. "This is an Arriva bus." the driver replied. In pretty much the same tone of voice he had used to condemn my ticket.

I mumbled some thing about not being used to travelling on buses and left. 20 seconds later a Stagecoach bus arrived and carried me carmly,safely and efficiently to Piccadilly. For free.

Friday, 8 December 2006

Alian Space Craft Crashes Nose First On Manchester

Manchester is not noted for it's tall buildings, I can remember the CIS building going up near Victoria Station and the Picadily Hotel but this Hilton Hotel just stands out like a thumb that has been run over by a bus.

My brother lives the other side of Heaton Park, where the Pope said mass 20 years ago ( Iwas there), and I can see the top 10 floors from his back garden. It is BIG.

Thursday, 7 December 2006

Now Here Is A Request

My friends in Llandudno who I stayed with for a few days have this picture on their wall. I asked who it was by and what it was called but they didn't know.
If you know, could you let me know. Thanks.

An other number 12

This number 12, as you can see if not the one I drive. This one travels between Llandudno and Rhyl which in the summer must make it a similar sort of service to our bus of the same number. I didn't get chance to go for a ride on the bus as it was too cold and wet and windy. Llandudno may be a sea side town like Torquay but it's northern latitudes make it a colder place.

Monday, 4 December 2006

On Holiday in Llandudno

Two weeks without driving a bus. How will I stand it. Quiet easily I expect. One disappiontment was when we got to Birmingham there is an hour break but the pub I usually go in had been burnt down and the one I went in didn't do food. Any way after an 11 hour trip on the coach I arrived here to discover that the wind was traveling at 50 mph and like any good boy racer, ignoring everything in it's path. On the way back to town I had to rest in a bus shelter (thankfully still standing) (OK. OK. I don't go round the country, or even an other country knocking down all the bus shelters). No photos yet as I am in the local Library posting this as my friend's computer is not working. If I had known that before I came I might have headed straight for my brothers in Manchester. How do people manage without a computer?