Wednesday, 27 June 2007
Weather cloudy but hot.
Monday, 25 June 2007
So what am I driving today to celebrate this mile stone. Which wonderful bus on which of the 20 or so routes I have driven on so far? None. I’m on holiday. Isn’t that nice. And I am off to sunny Spain, Barcelona to be exact, tomorrow and I will be back at the end of next week. Click here to see what the weather is doing in Barcelona and it you live in the UK, weep. If you don‘t live in the UK, we have had wall to wall rain here in the UK for the past several weeks, so much I feel like I'm leaving a sinking ship. My original plan for this holiday had been to go up to Sheigra in Scotland, looking at the forecast I am glad that plan was changed.
I will get on the internet a couple of times while I am away and down load some photos of Spanish buses, wont that be nice?
Then back to work Sunday 8 July, a day I am really looking forward to.
Sunday, 24 June 2007
Having been on buses recently that have broken mirrors on trees and skidded to a stop behind cars and trucks that stopped unexpectedly, I've got to wonder, what's the problem with scratching some ignorant (selfish) person's car that is blocking that much traffic?
I’d love to but:-
Main reason is I have a letter in my possession from management asking me not to have any more blame worthy accidents, ( remember the £6 000 bus shelter last year), not unless I am prepared to sit in managements office for an extremely uncomfortable interview followed by getting another letter with, "This is your last chance!" stamped all over it.
Why not go into print?An article in the local press (with pictures) might tweak a conscience or two.
The truck driver, who was at the scene told me the car arrived after he did. Equally the car driver could claim he/she was there first.
You should have insisted that officer sorted it out.
We would have still been there 3 days later if I had done that. Note; the bit about showing her where reverse gear is was a little bit of an exaggeration.
Muppets? Have you been reading The Driver's Bloodbus blog by any chance?or is now a standard term amongst bus drivers?
I have been reading Bloodbus, and I am glad I don’t drive a bus in Glasgow. Some drivers do refer to their passengers as muppets, some are less polite.
Hey there David, I was wondering whether you lot down in Devon have GPS's in your cabs or do you just have to count it out in your head? We have some terrible school children down in Brighton :) Great Blog as always!
We have some terrible school children down here as well but the lot I pick up are usually OK. One school run is only carried out with a bus with CCTV so the video can be sent to the school concerned. Not that much happens.
The radios here are so old they still have a Morse Code key fitted so fat chance GPS.
Aussie says.. how many hotels do you really have in Torquay?
See photo below from the Local Thompson Phone Book.
That's 137.5 cms at 41 hotels per 10 cm equals 563 hotels and there ia a full page of Guest Houses (300 aprox) A lot!
Friday, 22 June 2007
Me, being young and naive expected the police office to jump bright eyed and uniform pressed from her patrol car and clear the mess up speedily in a way that demonstrated her extensive, high quality training that the tax payers pay for knowing the are going to get great value for their tax pounds. Finally I gave up waiting, if I hadn't we would have all been there still. I went to the car behind the police car and explained that the road was blocked so he reversed and vanished into the sunlight. Then I explained the our lady in blue who yawned and with some reluctance admitted she would have to reverse and before I went would I mind showing her how to get reverse as she usually didn't bother with such mundane things. The cars in front of her didn't need anything explaining and reversed as soon as the officer had gone and I was able to get on my way, as was the swearing van driver.
When I have got a spare minute I think I will email Devon County Council again and ask then did they mean April 2007 or was that a misprint?
Thursday, 21 June 2007
When I got to the Zoo two people got on and angrily stated that they had been waiting over an hour. Now normally when people have been waiting like this I am sympathetic and explain the problem but I knew they could not have been there an hour. If you are going to complain get your facts right. 40 minutes would have been more to the point and I said so. An other passenger standing behind these two belligerent muppets butted in and asked had the accident been a bad one. The belligerent muppets then changed track and told me that the school children at the bus stop were very badly behaved and why should they be subjected to this kind of behavior while waiting for a bus. Again this was a gross exaggeration and was not to be allowed and I said that in my opinion, and I had picked this group of children up many times so I should know, these boys and girls from Paignton Community College were very well behaved and I always liked having them on the bus. Indeed the children had allowed the muppets to board the bus first, something the children from several other schools in the area would not have done. Muppets paid their fare and went and sat down. It is said that ; "Customers are alway right", I would add; "except when they are wrong."
Then into Paignton for my meal break 35 minutes down, no problem as the bus I was due to take over was also 35 minutes down so I got my 30 minutes break. As I waited for my bus to arrive a female passenger was escorted off a Torquay bound bus. An other passenger who had just got off the bus told me that the female passenger, who had boarded the bus at South Devon College, had been using the most appalling language at the top of her voice on the bus and the driver had requested the Paignton controller remove her from the bus, which he did. Bad language is an increasing problem but to have it screamed at you on a bus is not a pleasant way to spend an afternoon and should not be tolerated. As I stated earlier I pick school children up from Paignton Community College, I also pick students up from South Devon College. I would quite happily give a few of the students, only a few I should stress, from South Devon College a miss any day of the week.
Wednesday, 20 June 2007
Any back to work. like I said the sun had been shining but by the time I got to Roselands rain started, cats and dogs were falling from the sky by the bucket full. As I got closer to Brixham I began to realise that all this water had reminded my bladder that emptying it would be a very good idea once I got it to Brixham. The roads were quiet so It looked like I would have plenty of time. Then at the lights to go into the town square I knew I had a problem. Brixham can fill up a the drop of a hat and the drop of millions of drops of rain had slowed the flow of traffic to half a mile an hour. And I was going in when two other buses were also arriving, I would have to go round the block and wait for one of the other buses to go. Bladder was screaming at me. "Empty now!" Fat chance. Then I noticed two company Inspectors. After 3 weeks of managing on our own they had arrive like the Cavalry to save the day. Not by helping sort the problem out, we knew how to do that by now but by allowing me to jump off the bus and get to the toilet while one of the inspector drove my bus round the square for me. Aren't inspectors wonderful after all.
Monday, 18 June 2007
Saturday, 16 June 2007
Friday, 15 June 2007
Yesterday, once again, the desperate question was asked," Do you know where the XYZ Hotel is?" I should add that wasn't the name of the hotel. If there was a hotel called XYZ in Torquay I expect I would know where it was. I use XYZ because the three people who asked where their hotel was couldn't even agree on it's name let alone where it was. "Name of the street it's on?" I asked. I may as well have asked them to explain the complete works of Ludwig Wittgenstein in 3 short sentences without drawing breath. We finally arrived at a description of a road which led me to believe they had come down Belgrave Road. It's at right angles to the sea, there is a park on the left, the return bus fare to town was £1.05, there was a footbridge over the main road. They had gone past Belgrave Road and were at The Grand Hotel, only one stop too far. I told them to cross the road and catch a bus back, "Tell the driver you missed your stop and you want Belgrave Road. He will take you back for free." ( We have so many tourist who don't recognise their stop when they see it and end up too far down the road that we always take them back. All part of the service.)
But they wouldn't have it. They were willing to pay to continue further along the road even though there are only 4 hotels in the next mile and a half down the road. Believe me, I'm a bus driver. I know these things. I refused to take them, again pointing them in the direction of Belgrave Road. Finally I had to go, there were 50 on the bus who wanted to get somewhere, anywhere so long as it wasn't here.
I hope they found their hotel before the restaurant closed for the night. Anyway if you are going away on holiday please write down the name and address of your hotel on a luggage label and pin it to you jacket like all those evacuated children during the war. It will save me feeling guilty as I drive away leaving you stranded at the side of the road without a hope of ever finding your hotel ever again. Not to mention your luggage, an evening meal and a bed for the night.
Have a nice holiday.
Monday, 11 June 2007
Now where were we? Oh yes it's time to go. Close doors, put hazards on press the button for reverse, press the button to confirm I want reverse, look behind the bus, nothing moving, a last look up and down the bus station, look behind again, check mirrors, release hand brake and ease up foot brake and away we go. At this moment the Mongol Hoards of Genghis Khan could turn up wanting the bus. They wouldn't get it. Not once I'm moving. (Company rule). Marine Park? Remember that place? Well I did but only when we got to Brixham, about 10 minutes after the gent who wanted the place should have got of and a little voice said,"Are we there yet?". To make matters worse, because the roads were quiet I had got to Brixham about 4 minutes earlier than scheduled and now had 10 minutes to wait before heading back to Marine Park. Never mind said our friend, I'll nip in the Bakery and get a couple of pasties for my lunch. He was very nice about the whole affair and lest upset than I was.
Then later on in the day I accepted, without noticing, this £10 note. Looks OK doesn't it. And it is. A real Bank of England printed £10 note worth ten pounds of any one's money.
Sunday, 10 June 2007
From Herald Express 6 June 2007
IT'S ALL FARE IN BUS TICKET POSER
1 reader has commented on this story. Click here to read their views.
11:00 - 06 June 2007
Lenys Robinson and other pensioners who have contacted this column over their Stagecoach fares can relax.Torbay Council is not paying the company more than it should for their concessionary journeys.
The Paignton reader discovered on occasions that she was given a ticket for a destination further than her own stop."People travelling free usually don't look at their tickets," she said."I glanced at mine when going from Paignton bus station to Tanners End but found it said Bank Lane in Brixham. I mentioned this to the woman sitting next to me who was going to Brixham but had a ticket for further than her destination. "The widow and others feared the council was charged for the length of each trip which would add to its expenses and put up their council tax.
However the company's Mark Whittle stressed this was not so."We're paid a set amount regardless of the distances involved, so what is shown on the ticket is irrelevant," he said. "Drivers however are well aware they should only give the correct ticket. Not following this rule is automatically a disciplinary issue."Both Stagecoach and the council monitor all routes independently to provide a safeguard and these checks are frequent. Anybody being given an incorrect ticket should tell the driver immediately and get the mistake rectified."
Saturday, 9 June 2007
Thursday, 7 June 2007
A little later in the day I came across this skip. I could see at once there was no way I could get past so I pulled over to the right, it's a one way street there, and let all the cars behind get through.
Eventually the skip driver got in the
cab and drove away but about 40 cars did go through which if I hadn't move out of there way would have brought the top end of Torquay to a complete halt.
Aren't I a kindly soul?
Wednesday, 6 June 2007
So when you get on in Union Street Torquay and ask for a ticket to Brixham clutching a bag of fast food don't be surprised if I am a little sceptical when I doubt your assertion that you are not going to eat your KFC or Big Mac but sit there on the bus for 40 minutes while your food, which is just about edible when hot (provided that is you haven't eaten for two days) gets colder and colder. In which case the only residents of the Bay who are likely to want eat it have webbed feet and white feathers and a big yellow beak. Sorry, you bought the stuff in KFC or MacDonald's so eat it in KFC or MacDonalds or even the street but not on my bus thank you.
Today's cyclist was going into Brixham and was travelling at 20 mph (down hill ) I just got 25 feet behind him and whistled a happy tune. I was in no rush and even if I had been the were too many cars coming the other way and the road wasn't wide enough to pass him. Not a problem. Like I said in a bad week I might spend a minute behind a cyclist out of 41 hours driving, so who cares. This cyclist did because instead of just carrying on he suddenly stopped without warning. Now I can not get past him when he is moving but he is just as wide stationary so i still can not get past so I had to stop, also suddenly. If you were behind me, a 12A, at about 18:27 going into Brixham round Strawberry Bends and you had to brake hard, sorry but not my fault.
So, if you are a cyclist and a bus comes behind you and can not pass just keep going. The bus driver will wait until it is safe and pass you. (I hope).
Tuesday, 5 June 2007
Saturday, 2 June 2007
The link to the local papers never seems to work for individual items but here is a photo of the photo I sent to the Herald Express. If you look carefully my name appears under the photo. The item in the paper says it happened on Sunday but it was Saturday. Even local papers get details wrong.
Friday, 1 June 2007
Some Passengers Do Stand Out In The Crowd.
Now and then some one gets on a bus who has never been on a bus before, or as Basil Fawlty once said, "Never sat on a chair before." This passenger got on and demanded to know, "How much. For two adults and one child." I pointed out that there were in fact three adults and one child which he admitted could possibly be the case. He then repeated his demand, "How much?" I asked where he was going. He wanted to know why. I explained that 'how much' depended on 'where to'. He thought that was silly and told me so. I suggested he humour me and tell me where he was going. Paignton, if it's all that important was his answer. Single or return. He must have only heard the single bit because he said with a certain irritability that there were 3 adults and a child. He wasn't single. Yes I know, but do you want single tickets or return tickets. What's the difference? he wanted to know. Well by this time there were about 25 people behind him waiting to get on the bus but I explained the difference. If you are coming back today, return tickets are cheaper. Oh right, long pause. Single. So breathing a sigh of relief I pressed the right buttons and 18 inches of paper emerged from the ticket machine with 3 adult and one child single tickets from Brixham to Paignton neatly printed there on. £9.20 please said I, the light glowed brightly at the end of the tunnel. Foolish me. That's expensive said wife, his not mine. True thought I but blame Tony Blair not me. Wife continued, What would return tickets cost? £14.95. We'll have returns. So I annulled the single tickets and issued the return tickets and took the money. Almost all over but not quite. Now it is very simple to remove the ticket from the machine, you take hold and gently pull. Little old ladies who have had a telegram from the Queen can do it. Two year old toddlers can lick ice creams and do it. People with 3 shopping bags in one hand and the lead of a mad pitbull terrier in the other can do it. Not this one. He took hold of the ticket about a foot away from the machine and snatched in the same way a drowning man goes for the straw. So the ticket tore in his hand leaving 3 /4 of the ticket, two adults and one child ticket still in the machine. A second go and he now has one adult ticket and half an adult ticket in his hand. I did try and remove the rest before too much damage was done but he was too quick and the rest of his ticket was finally removed from the machine in 3 more pieces. He was not impressed by our ticket machines and I was so far gone you could have extracted all my teeth with a pair of pliers and I wouldn't have felt any thing.
The rest of the day went really well, considering.
St Marychurch is in the north of Torquay, up the Babbacombe Rd, and is where this bus goes. It's about 10 miles from where this bus is, which is Brixham. The journey to St Marychurch takes this bus through Paignton and Torquay which is where almost 90% of the passengers who get on in Brixham are going. But does it say that on the destination blind? Of Paignton there is no mention. That's 45% of the passengers put off traveling on this bus. Torquay gets mentioned twice, the Strand and Castle Circus but would some one who is down here for a week know that? Probably not. That's an other 45% gone. Many off them would have heard of Babbacombe because of the beach and the Modal Village and even the Cliff Railway but not the area to the north known as St Marychurch. Would you get on a bus if you didn't have a clue where it was going? OK. I know you can always ask the driver where it is going but I know from comments holiday making passengers have made to me about their home town bus drivers that asking for information is sometimes not worth the risk. Try it here and you will be plesently supprised (I hope).
Anyway I was going to put in a memo about this problem but I have noticed that some of the buses do now have destination blinds that have point out that the bus goes to Paignton and then Torquay before vanishing into the outer wilderness of St Marychurch. Hopefully all will be done soon.