Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Change at work.

When I got to work yesterday there was a slight surprise waiting. Not just for me but for us all. No, no we hadn't been sold to WorstBus, I said a slight surprise. What had happened was the rotas had been changed. This usually only happens in May when we change to summer running times and in September when we go back the winter times. No one seems to know why we have had these changes but then I have only asked two people why so far.

The changes that effect me are I have lost one early start but go an other even earlier start at 0702 which regular readers will know is the middle of the night to me. I have lost the one late turn I did so that is a good thing. The down side is I have lost just over 2 hours a week so I will need to work one rest day a month to make up for this in Wages. We haven seen the running boards yet so I don't know what horrors await on the actual duties. Time as they say, will tell.

The Werther's haven't gone yet, a controller tried to claim them when I went to pay in but he hadn't got on the bus so he didn't get them. OK the cat isn't 'sweet' but I love him, most of the time.

Monday, 29 January 2007

Werther's Original (Continued)

A couple of days ago I posted a photo of a small packet of Werther's Original Chewy Toffee with the cat looking at them and trying to decide if he could eat them. They were given to me by a passenger, perhaps she thought I needed fattening up or may be she believed I needed a reward for being such a nice person. Now I like toffee, especially Werther's but the last time I was given some, a different passenger I might add, I lost a filling that I had had for over 40 years and there are others just as old that I would like to keep. So what to do will this packet of delicious toffee?

Years ago, in an attempt to increase sale some newspaper or other, I think it was the Mirror, used to publish a picture of an employer who would then wander about the streets of a holiday resort with a pocket full of Five Pound Notes. This was back in the days when £5 was a lot of money. (What am I saying. £5 is still a lot of money.) All you had to do to get a fiver was have a copy of the paper and walk up to the man and say, "You are Lobby Ludd, and give me my fiver."

So I have decided to copy the Mirror give the Werther's away to the first person who gets on the bus and admits to reading this blog and thinks my cat is sweet.

Please note there is only one packet so don't be disappointed if it has gone.

Sunday, 28 January 2007

Werther's Originals.

Long weekend,3 days off. So it's a bit of Do It Yourself. Also known as bugger it up yourself. I mean how hard can it be to change a washer on a tap. I don't know, I've never done it before. Also I had to go into work even though it is a day off. I love my job but I was in such a hurry to get out of work, sorry, didn't mean that, to get home on Friday evening that I left the batteries for the camera in my bag at work. 3 days without a camera or go and get the batteries. I know I could have gone to the shop and bought 4 AA batteries but they last about 5 minutes compared with the rechargeable batteries I use. Anyway I needed a washer and Focus is right next door to the depot.

Just about to go out and the road report comes on on Radio Devon; Hele Road and Newton Road are closed due to an RTC. (1). Hele Road is just down from the depot, going to be big delays. But I need the batteries and the washer. Get to the depot, no sign of any delays. Radio Devon, or the police had exaggerated the size of the crash and the road was clear. Into work, chat with on duty drivers, coffee, more chat. Anything to put of the moment when the spanners come out and a tap comes apart in my hand with some important bit or other vanishing down the plug hole.

An hour later into Focus, so many different washers. How can there be so different sizes, thicknesses, types of materials, size of holes in the middle, descriptions of use and names. I should have taken the old washer off and brought it with me. I will next time, no; there wont be a next time. One changed tap washer in a lifetime is enough. (It comes 887th in any list of a thousand things to do before it's too late to do anything). Have a guess. Get home and get spanners out. Have a cup of coffee, switch computer on and do lesson 4,5, and 6 in Spanish for Beginners. Feed cat. Isn't he nice. When he looks at me like that it isn't love and affection he is radiating. It's "Feed me or I'll go and catch a rat, eat it and be sick all over your bed."

So the tap. It was dead simple when I finally got round to doing it, except that the washer didn't fit so I had to put the tap back together again with the old washer on and go out and buy the right sized washer, take the tap apart again and put on a washer that did fit. So now it doesn't drip. Water bill should go down about 5p a year. Doing my bit to Save the Planet.

Note 1 RTC = Road Traffic Collision. It used to be RTA; Road Traffic Accident but the police have finally reached accident in their dictionary.

Note 2 It is 00:41 so I will get round to the photo tomorrow.

Friday, 26 January 2007

State Secrets and Torbay Atractions

This is a bus in Paignton Bus Station. It is due out in a few minutes and the driver has just got on. He has been on his meal break and the passengers were there waiting when he got on the bus. What he was doing when I took the photo is setting up his ticket machine. What this entails is pressing a few buttons on the machine's keypad. But, for some reason unknown to me, and probably the waiting passengers, he has shut his doors. Does he think they are going to watch what he is doing and sell the information to FirstBus?
The second photo is of an advert on the side of some of our buses. The text in the yellow box is explaining how Kevin, the Harbour Master really likes working on Torquay Harbour because of all the improvements that are to be found there. Will all the summer visitors be given a pair of binoculars just like the ones Kevin has so they can find all the new attractions too?

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

Horlicks Ad

In yesterdays post I included a link to a TV ad. I had not followed it all the way to actually viewing the ad. I still haven't as you have to log in and pay to see it. Sorry about that as the ad isn't really that exciting. Not worth paying for. So if you haven't seen it it shows a bus driver at a bus stop looking in his rear view mirror. There is a woman with shopping bags running up to catch the bus. The driver waits until she is a few steps away from the door. Then he closes the door and drives away. A voice over asks,"How does he sleep at night?" Cut to driver at home drinking Horlicks, probably with a shot of whisky in it, just to kill the taste of the Horlicks you understand.

Now I am certain that any bus passengers out there will have had this happen. And some of the time it will be as shown in the ad. The driver could have waited but didn't. But there are times when the bus pulls away as you run up and the driver couldn't stop. He may not have seen you coming until after he started moving. Even then he might have stopped. But there are points when continuing is the only option on the grounds of road safety.

Such an incident happened to me the other day. I had taken over a bus on Cary Parade in Torquay. After I had programed the ticket machine and adjusted the seat I had 4 minutes to wait. Like I said, it's quiet at the moment. The passengers on the bus, if they are regular travellers know about timing points. But it can still be frustrating sitting there doing nothing. You could here the sigh of relief when I finally started the engine. Into gear, look round for anyone running up with shopping bags, check mirror, road clear, pull out and at that moment the two runners appeared round the corner waving. Did I stop? No. I had reached the point where I was committed to go. Well if looks could have killed, not only would I not be typing this but the intensity of the woman's stare would have wiped out all my passengers as well. I am not sure what the man was shouting at me but when I got to the terminus I had a look at the paint on the side of the bus to make sure it wasn't blistered. And the age of my missed passengers, well into their seventies. And the next bus is due in 7 minutes.

Next day who came running up to the bus just as I shut the door? I recognised them as the ran up waving madly. Did I pretend I hadn't seen them and drive away? No. Reason? I'm a nice guy and oh yes; I don't like Horlicks.

PS. For an update on the Napoli. It could be a year before it is cleared away.

Monday, 22 January 2007

Parking Ticket

A couple of days ago I heard a story that suggested that one of our buses had been given a parking ticket. The place this was supposed to have happened was Preston Bus Shelter, which at the moment is in the middle of a diversion route while some road works are going on. The bus lay bye is full of No Waiting cones and on a near by lamp post there is a sign stating No Parking at any time. Park your car there and a ticket would appear as if by magic in 30 second flat. But a bus? Aren't they allowed to stop and pick up and let down passengers on a bus stop without getting parking tickets?

Well normally yes. But today I heard the full story. What had happened was the driver had stopped to pick up passengers but had also noticed that rare event. Someone upstairs was causing trouble so the driver switched the engine off and went upstairs to sort the problem out. An N.C.P. Parking Attendant came round the corner and seeing a bus with engine switched off and no driver in the cab assumed the bus had been parked there and started to write out a ticket. The driver came down stairs and explained what was happening. As anyone who has parked a car and come back to find the parking attendant writing out a ticket will know, the parking guy said, "I've started so I will finish."

Bit like bus drivers, once we start to pull away from a bus stop there is a certain reluctance to stop and pick up the poor sod who comes running up at the last second plus 3. This is for reasons of road safety, it can be dangerous to stop suddenly when the driver behind has let you out and expects you to keep going. Me? I usually keep going even though I don't like Horlicks.

PS For the latest on the Napoli click here

Sunday, 21 January 2007

TV Programs I Watched This Evening

An other quiet day on the buses. This is to be expected in the middle of January and with the weather through out the UK being so bad recently doubly so.

One thing the bad weather has given us if the potential for serious pollution 35 miles along the coast. The ship Napoli with 2334 containers and a few thousand tonnes of oil got into trouble on Thursday last week and was beached a couple of days ago at Beer Head, which is to the North East of Torquay. The idea was that the containers and the oil could be removed, the ship repaired and sail away. No one told the weather that plan. Strong winds and high seas have damaged the ship even more and many of the containers and a few hundred tonnes of oil are now floating round Lyme Bay. Tomorrow the wind is 12 mph and from the east which means there is a possibility that some of the pollution could end up in our very own Torbay. We put our trust in the Environment Agency and the Salvage crews who are working to contain the damage this ship could cause.

The other TV program I watched with interest was presented by Sir David Attenborough (the man who has been everywhere) and it was about the predicted effects of the changes in the weather that we have been noticing for the last 25 years but done nothing about. First he explain what we could expect the weather to be like in 2020 even if we did everything possible to reduce the amount of Greenhouse Gases entering the atmosphere. Nothing catastrophic. We weren't all going to died of heat, just the elderly and the very young would be most at risk. As I will, hopefully come into one of those categories by 2020 I was very interested. Summer heat waves would occur every year and people living in Spain would make plans to come and live in England when they retire. Temperatures would stay over 30C for much of July and August. Winters would be milder but wetter and flooding would be common on low lying land. Sewers would be unable to cope with the extra rain and our streets would be awash with stuff we though we had seen the last of when we flushed the loo.

Then he moved on the predictions for 2050 and I lost a personal interest in the matter though I continued to be fascinated by the rising sea levels and lack of imported goods from countries that were now (2050) under water. And this I think in the biggest problem with Global Warming. Tony Blair and George Bush will not be leading their respective Nations in two years never mind 43 years so why should they make themselves unpopular with the public by banning the car. Hilary Clinton will be gone as President by 2016 so she isn't going to make herself unelectable by promising to shut down every airline in the US the moment she is elected. And who do I know that will be alive in 2080 when the really serious stuff starts to happen, like London and the east coast being only visible at low tide and wars start braking out as starving billions from the Third World look for some where to live that isn't either under 10 metres of water or turned into a desert.

Back in 1954 in Junior 3 we were doing geography. The teacher was pointing to all the red bits on the map and explaining that they were part of the British Empire. Except for Hong Kong, which were had on a long term lease from China. Which expired in 1997. I put my hand up and asked what would happen to all the people who lived there in 1997. The teacher laughed and said 1997 was a long time away. I again put my hand up and said that children my age would be 54 in 1997 and again asked what would happen to them. I spent the rest of the lesson standing in the corridor. (Don't ask teacher questions she carn't answer).

Someone born today, 21 Jan 2007 will be 73 in 2080, a child born to them when they are 30 will be 43 in 2080 and their grand child born when they are 60 will be 13. What will they say about us? It will not be nice. But will we care?

Here endth the lesson.

Saturday, 20 January 2007

Couple of news stories.

Yesterday I made a comment re buses in Manchester and how there were quite a few bus companies operating there. It would appear that there are two less following an accident in Wilmslow Rd last year and the investigation by the Traffic Commission into the cause of the accident.

The other story is a lot closer to home and involves a ship that got into trouble in the Channel on Thursday in the gales that hit the British Isles with winds up to 80 km.p.h. The crew abandoned ship and tug boats towed it ashore 20 miles up the coast so it could be unloaded safely.

Quiet on the buses today.

Friday, 19 January 2007

The 12 Route

This is the 12 route where I spent a lot of my time. I am so used to it, having driven up and down it for 8 years that I forget that one or two people out there might not have the slightest idea where it goes. One day I will get round to doing a more detailed map and description together with photos.

A couple got on the bus in Brixham to day to go to Torquay. (Takes 40 mins)They were from up north (1) and were down for a few days visiting friends. When we got to Torquay the lady remarked how quiet it was. I explained that most people had spent too much on their Christmas Cards, sorry credit cards, the weather had been bad, lots of rain and wind and half the hotels were closed as the owners had gone to Barbados for two months and anyway seaside towns in January usually were quiet places.
"No, no." She said, "Not the town, the buses. Ours up in Manchester are so noisy you have to shout to be heard. These are so quiet."
I should point out that there are a lot of bus companies in Manchester and the lady did not specify which company she was referring to.
But I am glad she liked our buses.
Note (1) Up North; any where north of and including Exeter.

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Car phone lay-bye and sweets

This car is parked in a bus stop. The thick yellow line on the left and the broken yellow lines on the right mark the extent of the bus stop. Under the bus I am on are the words BUS STOP in big yellow letters. As the car got there well before me the driver could not have failed to notice said words. (At least I hope he couldn't have failed to notice them). It used to be illegal to park a car on a bus stop even to do what he is doing which is using a mobile phone. However it isn't illegal any more as all bus stops are now car phone answering bays. It is just that the government haven't yet got round to painting that information on the bus stops up and down the country. Until they do maybe it still is illegal to stop in a bus stop to answer your phone. If you are reading this Tony, could you let me know. And could you let this car driver know as well.
The other little problem I had to day was due to my disregarding something my mother told me many years ago. A passenger got on the bus and as an extra reward for being such a good bus driver she gave me a packet of Werthers Original Toffees. Only 6 in the packet but then I ain't that good a bus driver (see post re bus shelter). But not some thing that usually I indulge in these days (on a diet). Later on in the day, whilst stuck in traffic up at South Devon College I decided to cheer myself up and treat myself to one of these little delights. Half way through I noticed that instead of being totally chewy, there was a distinct crunchy bit in there as well. Now if I had been eating a Lion Bar I wouldn't have worried, they are expected to crunch, Werthers Original aren't. So I discarded the remains of the toffee and explored to contents of my mouth with my tongue, paying close regard to the 29 no longer completely white bits of enamel that have been part of me for so long now. Well, there are only 28 and a half bits of not quite white enamel now. A filling that I have been carrying round with me since 1958 plus the side wall of a tooth I have had for even longer are now lying in the middle of Long Road by the traffic lights fixed to a half chewed piece of Werthers Original. There is no reward offered if you find the filling, I wasn't particularly fond of it, it just came in use now and then when ever I wanted to chew some thing. Now, too late I remember my mother saying something about sweets and strangers.

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Running Dead

Running Dead isn't some macabre ritual that bus drivers go through in some secret rite of passage only known to bus drivers. It means driving out of service, we don't stop and pick up passengers as all we are doing is returning the bus back to the depot at the end of a shift. It mostly happens around 6 pm when about half the buses come of the road for the reduced service we provide in the evening. So a few evenings ago I ended up in Brixham and the Running Board said Dead to Depot. Off I went. Usually I go over the Ring Road but there are road works on the ring road so I went through Paignton.

There is a slight problem going this way. Between Brixham and Paignton there are only two places where a car can overtake the bus. The first is on a 300 yard stretch of two lane, duel carriageway road between the bottom of Cherry Brook Rd and Waterside Holiday Park. This section used to be a 40 mph speed limit road but the council made the left lane into a bus lane and reduced the speed limit to 30. This is about two miles from the centre of Brixham and a pick up truck had been following me all the way from Brixham, and to use an American expression, tailgating me. When I got to the duel carriageway I continued in the outside lane and the pick up could not overtake me. Then the road became one lane again for an other mile before getting to the lights at Penwill Way, which were on red. There are two lanes there and I used the left lane.

The pick up truck stopped next to me in the right hand lane and got out of his truck and started shouting at me for holding him up. I pointed out that I had been driving at the speed limit all the way from Brixham so how could I have been holding him up? He screamed that I should have used the bus lane. I tried to explain but the lights had now changed so I drove on. By the time he got back in to his truck his window of opportunity for overtaking had gone and he was stuck behind me once again. The next place he could get past me was now an other 4 miles down the road. He should have stayed in his truck.

What he did not know was that dead bus are not allowed to use bus lanes. They are for local buses in service only. Sorry about that, pick up truck driver.

Sunday, 14 January 2007

An Other Rest day

When I got up this morning it was a toss up between putting the shelves up in the back room, which I promished to do some time last year (actually 2005 now) and going to watch Torquay Athletic Under nines play rugby. The team are sponsered by Stagecoach Devon and the Belgrave Hotel and a fellow driver helps with the coaching.
As you can see the shelves still aren't up but it was a good game, evenly matched with Torquay winning by a couple of tries. The lad with the ball went all the way down the pitch to score and the sun shone, for the first time in two weeks. A good morning out.

Reflective Jackets

We have these HiVis jackets at work. All to do with Health & Safety. The reflective stripes certainly show up.

We had an other fairly quiet day to day, the weather hasn't been at it's best so far this year, not just in Torquay but the whole of the UK has had 'Wet and Windy' stuck on the weather forecaster's maps an awful lot recently.

Then we had an accident involving a motor bike and a car which brought traffic heading from Torquay to Brixham to a very slow crawl.One of the problems with the Bay is the main road tends to be to only way and if it is blocked traffic stops.It was late on in the afternoon when most people had given up and gone home so not too many people were held up.

To those who were, "Sorry."

Friday, 12 January 2007

Wet and Windy

To day, as the BBC weather forecasters predicted was wet and very windy. Several trees came down, two of which ended up on the road way. The first fell out of Rock Walk which overlooks the front here in Torquay. It came down just missing two parked cars as it plunged to it's death at 7:00 am this morning blocking the road. Later out at Strawberry Bends on the way to Brixham another member of the arboreal fraternity also decided that enough was enough and ended it's days blocking the only road in the area big enough to take buses. The local council acted with remarkable speed and both roads were opened very quickly. Well done the council.

Double decker buses come under the category of high sided vehicle. High sided vehicles are often reported blown over on Motorways in the kind of winds we had to day. 30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph. It was also raining cats and dogs. It is very unlikely that a bus will be blown over due to the fact that most of the 11.5 tonne weight is low down. I have seen pictures of buses leaning over at 15 degrees without falling on their side. That doesn't stop them being blown about in high wind and we have a stretch of road on the way to Brixham known as Windy Corner and it certainly lived up to it's name to day. Not dangerous but you needed to concentrate.

Wednesday, 10 January 2007

Rest Day

To day was a rest day. So I get up and after a quick cup of coffee and a bite to eat I get my hair cut (a number two, nice and short) do some shopping down at B & Q ( a DIY store, not my favourite but the closest) Put some shelves up, back to B & Q for more shelves, cut the wood and drill the holes and decide I have had enough DIY and go to the pub for a couple of pints. Home in time for tea and slump in front of the telly, exhausted. More exhausted than if I had driven a bus all day.

Why do they call it a Rest Day?

Back at work tomorrow thank god.

Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Preston Road Works (3)

The car you can see circled in yellow is on the wrong side of the road and is blocking said road. I'm not sure how he got there as there are enough signs saying two way traffic; except that is in the road you can see on the right just behind the red van which is where he came from. The driver must be the only person in Torbay who didn't know there are road works going on here. The second problem as I drove through is shown by the photo below.

The two cars in front of me are displaying one of the two annoying tendencies that drivers show when stuck in traffic jams. The first is to get as close to the car in front as possible as this gives the impression that they are making progress. The second is to move out under the mistaken impression that by having a look at the problem ahead will some how make it go away. Note; the white van driver (everyone's pet hate) hasn't moved out and has left me plenty of room to get past. Might have problems getting past the bus though.

Enough on Preston Road Works. Unless there is a real big problem there over the next week.

What else has been happening recently, Oh yes, still raining. It has rained ever day so far this year. Getting to be like the Amazon Rain Forest. And last night the temperature fell right down to 11C. Which is the warmest January night time temperature on record. Either Global Warming is on it's way or as most Western Governments hope, it's just a glitch in the weather. My money is on the global thingamabob.

Monday, 8 January 2007

Preston Road Works (2)

The road works didn't get going until early afternoon and I went through from Paignton towards Torquay which wasn't too bad. However I would like to have hard words with whoever decided to allow parking on one side of the road through the diversion. This is what happened; some guy was heading for Paignton when he spotted a parking space so he stopped and tried to reverse into the space but he wasn't very good at reverse parking and took 3 attempts be for giving up and driving off. The next driver thought, "I can do better than that." and had a go. By this time the traffic was grid locked. Nothing was moving. True the second driver was better than the first and managed to end up parallel to the curb but about 2 feet from it. Result, the bus behind him could not get past as there was a 38 tonne truck coming the other way and it took several minutes while this mess was sorted. Then I had to pull into the bus stop which was full of no parking cones so I had to stop 2 feet from the curb. An other HGV was behind me and he pulled out a couple of feet to pass me and "Oh my God, Look what's coming the other way." HGV number 3. Result more grid lock. So come Torbay council, get a load of no parking cones from some where and and stop all parking through the diversion.

Some buses were delayed, I was about 15 minutes down at one point but I did hear on the radio that others were upto 30 minutes down. Why can't they do these road works on Christmas Day and Boxing Day when we don't run a bus service? Make it easier all round.

Preston Road Works

This is Preston, in Paignton not Lancs. Normally what happens here is we turn left at the lights ahead to go round the one way system in to Paignton. From to day for 8 days we will be going straight on, the wrong way down a one way street. This is due to road works in Seaway Road. I haven't been out there yet but I will be taking a good book with me to work today as we are expecting long delays. If you drive through Preston please find an other way to go for the next week or get a good book.

Saturday, 6 January 2007

Thursday and Friday

When I came back to work on Tuesday after the New Year I had a very quiet day. Good, thinks me, a few easy days is just what the Doc ordered. Wednesday was a bit busier but still OK. Then on Thursday road works started in Newton. At lunch time I was just working my way through the temp traffic lights when the radio crackled into life and a driver reported an accident at the Arch, half way between Newton and Torquay; just where I was heading. He also said the road was partly block but traffic was getting through slowly. A mile up the road and long enough for the police to have arrived at the scene, and all I could see for a mile in front of me was standing traffic. So, I decided to spread the bad news around and let Paignton Control know that I hadn't moved for 5 mins. Paignton Control were indifferent to my plight. Forty mins later I reported to control that I had reached the scene of the accident but should actually be in Paignton changing drivers. Paignton was still 45 mins drive away. Also the number 12 in front of me had managed to get past the crash site before the police had arrived and had only been delayed about 10 mins. Me, I ended up 50 mins late so there was a big gap in front of me. By the time I got to Paignton I was due to go out on the second half of my shift in 23 mins. But I have to have a 30 min break by law. As there were no spare drivers left by this time I just went out 10 mins late and spent the rest of the shift fending off questions like, "Why are you late?", "Where are all the buses." Which by the time you have answered them you are even later still.

That was Thursday, on Friday I did the same duty and morning went by with no problems, lunch went by with no problems, then early afternoon someone knocked some scaffolding down in Newton Bus Station and the place was closed for an hour while all the poles were moved out of the way and buses were all over the place. Then at one stage I picked up 40 students from South Devon College followed by 40 pupils from Paignton Community College plus 10 others and was heading for the bus station where any other 50 passengers awaited me when this happened. An other of the "I can park anywhere."brigade.

As the controller said when I reported the problem, "That's all we need." I bet he was thinking a little more that that. I know I was. When the driver turned up he did say "Sorry, didn't know buses came down here."

There is a story in the local paper about the scaffolding and how it came to be knocked down. The photo shows the scaffolding and a parked car on the other side of the exit road. The car wasn't there on Friday, it was a van that was parked there. An other contributing factor is the length of time it has taken for the toilet block to be built. I have a photo of the silver birch tree cut down in September and the first photo showing building going on was taken Oct 25. For a building 10 feet by 10 feet by 12 feet high that seems pretty slow. If the Great Wall of China had been built at this speed it would be a mile and a half long and not visible from the next hill never mind from space.

Not a great deal of room here for a double decker.

Thursday, 4 January 2007

National Express Coach Crash

My thoughts as I write this to night are on the National Express Coach crash that occurred last night near Heathrow. There is little I can say except to express my sorry at this tragic event.

Controllers may be wonderful but Contractors.......?

Yesterday we were having trouble getting out of Long Road in Paignton. This was because the contractors who had set up the temp traffic lights at the road works had never driven a bus and had left us with just enough room to get though provided we drove at half a mile and hour and didn't mind getting 2 inches away from an oil drum with 100 pounds of concrete in it.

In the afternoon the controller in Paignton reported that the contractors had been contacted and the situation would be resolved.

To day at 12 moon I got to the lights and nothing had changed. (As in top photo.) So I stuck my head out of the window while waiting for the lights to change and explained the problem to the site foreman, a sympathetic sounding gentleman who promised to move the offending oil drum, which is holding up one of the traffic lights.

35 mins later I got back and the oil drum had been moved about 6 inches back and the barrier on the right had moved about the same back. A big help, two or 3 feet would have been better.

Wednesday, 3 January 2007

Long Road Road Works

The council are improving the junction with Long Rd and the Ring Rd. Long Rd is where the College is and at the moment the College is still off for Christmas but will be back any day. As you can see in the photo the contractors doing the work have put a few signs up to direct the traffic round the works.
The problem is that they have never driven a bus and have no idea how much room we need to get the bus round the road works. The blue sign is hiding a 25 gallon oil drum full of concrete and is about 3 inches from the side of the bus as we drive by. Next problem is it is taking us so long to drive by that the lights on the Ring Road are changing before we get across, and the ring road is fairly wide so we have to watch out for traffic setting off and finding a bus in their way. Third problem is that it is taking us so long to get through the lights that we are the only vehicle getting through before the lights change, at the moment this isn't a problem but once College starts back there will be a very large jam of people trying to get out of Long Rd who will all blame the buses.
Any way, I had a word with the duty controller at Paignton Bus Station and he fixed things. He rang the contractors and they are going to have a look at the situation and see what they can do.
Aren't controllers wonderful?

Tuesday, 2 January 2007

Doesn't Time Fly

Well, well, well. Jan 2nd already. Doesn't time fly when you are having fun. If that is true then I must have had a lot of fun in 2006 as it seemed to last about 3 weeks. OK, one or two comments about 2006 before it vanishes into the pages of history and the mists of time.
First, not to be too alarmist about it, it was the hottest year on record since records began some time in the 16th century. Roll on Global Warming.
I had 8 weeks holiday which was nice as we are only supposed to get 5 weeks. Don't worry I only get 2 weeks this year just to redress the balance. One of the problems with the way our holiday rota is set up.
I only had one accident last year but that means I wont get a good driver certificate and the £25 gift voucher that goes with it, just because a stupid, expensive, bus shelter jumped out in front of me.
I worked 226 days last year and I carried 49664 passengers, an average of 220 per day and I would like to thank almost all of them and hope they continue to travel by bus and tell all their friends how wonderful it is,I also hope about 200 of them got a Christmas present in the shape of a book called, "How to travel by bus without throwing rubbish all over the floor, drinking beer and spilling it all over the floor, singing and shouting, not having any money, trying to ride without a ticket, not knowing which direction the bus is going in, thinking the bus driver is there to be verbally abused, etc,etc." and about 10 of them discover the joy of travelling by bike, taxi, police car, ambulance or even walking in 2007.
The Photo. Well I have to start the year as I mean to go on and have a go at the Local Council. Rubbish round her is usually collected on a Friday. The council didn't tell us they weren't going to collect it last Friday so it has been there since Friday (to day is Tuesday), maybe they will come next Friday. I live in Hope.
Best wishes to all in 2007.