Tuesday, 31 July 2007
On the way back from Newton similar mother with buggy and 4 year old child who just had to press the bell. Mother didn't seem to notice he was playing Beethoven's Fifth Piano concerto using the bus's bells instead of a piano. So I stopped at the next stop and opened the doors and invited who ever rang the bell to get off. No takers. Bell went again so I stopped at the next stop and opened the doors. No one got of. So I pointed out that there were 87 stops between here and Brixham and if we had to stop at every stop we might get there by midnight. Mother took the hint and told the little child not to practise his music lessons on the bus. Then baby started crying. Again I had no idea how far they were going a mother had shown me a megarider. All the way to Paignton. Just under an hour. Cry for 5 minutes, rest for a minute, cry for 5 more minutes. When I got to Brixham I had 7 minutes before I had to leave, I told the waiting passengers they would have to wait a few more minutes while I went and found a brick wall to bang my head against a few times just to relieve the pain.
Monday, 30 July 2007
Sunday, 29 July 2007
I took over this bus in Torquay heading for Newton. Three or four bus drivers going the other way pointed at the front of the bus. I checked that I wasn't indicating when I shouldn't be and that I hadn't left the hazard warning lights going. I decided it must be a headlight out and decided to check once I (and the bus) got to Sherbourne Rd.
And there he was, Red Ted. Sitting up front getting a free ride and the best view on the bus.
Footnote (1) Before millions of none English people write in, I do know that forming an orderly queue is not just an English pass time.
Friday, 27 July 2007
This photo shows where a bus shelter used to stand in the Town Square, Brixham. A large lorry managed somehow to reverse into it and make a right mess. The shelter was a bit old so at least the good people of Brixham will get a brand spanking new shelter complete with no smoking sign to stand in while they wait for the 17 and 24. The rhino you can see was born earlier this year in the world famous Paignton Zoo and had nothing to do with knocking the shelter down; neither did I.
Talking of the weather, I have just had a look at the forecast for the next 5 days here in the Bay, Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are forecast sunny. Sunday it is going to rain. Guess which day I have off.
Thursday, 26 July 2007
Wednesday, 25 July 2007
Seen going round the Clock Tower in Torquay, this Open Top bus is in the livery of Devon General who were here before Stagecoach and Bayline.
It is used for weddings and other fun trips.
Shame the weather had been so bad.
This is the bus stop on the Harbour side of The Strand in Torquay. It is where you catch a bus (12,12A or 12B) to Paignton. There is an other bus which goes to Paignton from The Strand, the number X80 which is a FirstBus. The stop for the FirstBus is on the other side of the road and none of the other the buses that stop there go to Paignton. So if you want to go to Paignton it is best to wait on the Harbour side of the Strand. FirstBus would like to be able to stop on the Harbour side as they would pick up a lot more passengers for Paignton and a couple of days ago some one came down from FirstBus and put a bus stop flag on the post on the Harbour side.
However it is the local council who say where bus stops go and they told FirstBus to come and take their flag down. Which means they can't stop on the Harbour side. There are several other buses that already stop here and one more would have been just too much and could have caused the Strand to be blocked by waiting buses.
Sorry FirstBus, not doing too well are we.
Tuesday, 24 July 2007
Monday, 23 July 2007
It also shows how close the garage is the the back of the buses is is why drivers, including me hit the damn thing from time to time. Little story from a school run I did today, my last school run for 6 weeks. Most schools round here have finished for the summer holidays so no more school runs till September; except that is Paignton Community College which is for some strange reason still open. So I pull up at the stop and there are the usual crowd of about 20 of the little darlings waiting to push, shove, bite, gouge, kick, scream and perform any other unmentionable kind of mayhem in order to be first on the bus. There are also two tourist, dad pushing a baby buggy and mum holding on to a 2 year old toddler. They had just spent an enjoyable few hours at the excellent Paignton Zoo (as seen on TV) (Some years ago now but on TV all the same). Now anyone who has stood at a bus stop with 20 or more school children can guess what happened as I pulled up and opened the doors, Mum, dad, toddler and buggy get trampled to death in the stampede. No, sorry, wrong. These wonderful children from PAIGNTON COMMUNITY COLLEGE stood back and carefully waited for the family, who were German tourist to board the bus before they got on. Isn't that nice, I hope those children have a really nice summer holiday.
The weather has been bad down here, it rained all day, in fact rain has been the main item on the agenda for weeks now but we have been lucky compared with people a little further north. Click here for the BBC news to see how bad the flooding has been in other parts of the country. Is this how Global Warming works, lots of rain, or is it just one of those things that happens from time to time and is nothing to do with GW.
An other news item that came to my attention, also on the BBC.
Sunday, 22 July 2007
Saturday, 21 July 2007
It happened like this; I was on my last trip, all I had to do was go to Brixham as a 12A and the back to the depot dead and home for a well earned can of beer. As you drive down Long Road towards the college there is a slight bend in the road, going round the bend I notice a flock of about 50 gulls in the middle of the road. Gulls usually move out of the way but to make sure I gave a quick blast on the horn and all but one flew away. This one mean looking hombre was standing there, staring down the big red, blue white and orange monster heading towards him and was not going to move. The gull had turned into a real hard chicken (well, he was playing chicken with the bus), not a good idea when the bus weighs 11.5 tonnes and is heading towards you at 30 mph. When I was about 10 feet away this idea also penetrated the gull's brain and brain cell 1, brain cell 2 and brain cell 3 all suggested that flying would be a good career move on the part of this gull turned chicken. But chickens can't fly very far, not in quarter of a second anyway. There was a solid thump at the front of the bus followed by a couple of secondary bangs of a lesser nature from the underside of the bus. Oh dear.
Anyway, I went down to the college and round the roundabout and stopped at the stop. No one go on or off. The college is closed for the summer and there are only admin staff and cleaners there at the moment. On the way back up Long Road I was expecting to find the remains of the gull, or worse an injured gull. I was, if the gull was badly injured, prepared to steer the bus in such a way as to end any suffering. I was therefore very pleased when I got back to the site of the impact to find the road was clear, well there were lots of gulls sat at the side of the road staring at me as I drove past. Bit like in a scene from a Hitchcock film. Some how it would seem the gull had made it. Just to make sure, when I got to Brixham I did have a look under the bus just to be sure it wasn't wedged some where, in a wheel arch or some place similar.
Friday morning, again driving a 12A I went down to the college. As I drove down Long Road I thought about the gull. How tough it must have been to get hit by a bus and not loose all. It was a big disappointment when I when round the roundabout at the bottom of Long Road and saw there in the roadway the remains, the very flat and battered remains of the gull. Poor sod.
Thursday, 19 July 2007
Just an other day, in fact it was so nice I am going to give it another go tomorrow.
Wednesday, 18 July 2007
Did I go through all this procedure? No, I just posted the letter. So if you left a letter on a number 12 yesterday afternoon addressed to some where in Paignton it has been posted, after 6pm so it missed the last post, sorry, but it will get there by Thursday.
All in a days work.
Tuesday, 17 July 2007
I was waiting at the lights at Belgrave Road coming onto Torquay, there are three lanes at this junction and I was in the outside lane, next to me was a car and the left lane was empty but shortly to be occupied by a car containing a slightly shaken and very annoyed driver. Now the left lane has a left turn filter light which turns green before the centre lane and the outside lane get their green light to go straight on. Out of Belgrave Road, riding on the pavement came this child, a boy about 12 years old who had he arrived a second later would not have made it to 13. He must have seen me and the car next to me stationary and assumed it was safe to ride headlong into the road. There was a car approaching in the left lane to turn left and he had the green filter light and was going fairly fast. The boy on the bike managed to swerve and the car managed to brake just enough so they missed each other. Now I hadn't seen any of this because in the corner of the bus there is a 20 cm wide post, there to hold the upper deck in place but also provides a bit of a blind spot. As the child came of the pavement he was in this blind spot and, more importantly I had just got a green light and was pressing down on the accelerator. Standing on the platform as I mentioned earlier was the hero of the day, the passenger had seen the near miss between the child and the car and had exclaimed, "Oh my god." I looked and braked and boy on the bike had his second near miss with death all in the space of one second. Had the car in the left lane arrived a second later the boy would not have had to swerve and the car would not have had to brake hard and the passenger would not have cried out to his god and I wouldn't have looked and the boy and his bike would have been under the bus.
All in a days work, but not every day thank goodness.
Click here for full story from the BBC
Will we finally to be rid of this troublesome ship?
Sunday, 15 July 2007
To have a look at a brief profile of our new OM
Sorry, couldn't get the link to work so I have copied it here for you to look at.
CHRISTINA: ASSISTANT OPERATIONS MANAGER, WALKERGATE, NEWCASTLE
Degree: BA (hons) – History; University of Leicester
Joined Stagecoach: 2005
Current position: Assistant Operations Manager, Walkergate, Newcastle
“I looked at a number of Graduate schemes, but Stagecoach stood out for me.
I wanted to join a programme that had a clear career path and that offered
choices across a wide range of roles; Stagecoach offered this level of variety
coupled with the certainty of well thought through support structures. It also
offered a role that wasn’t desk-bound around a 9 to 5 office job.
My first year in South Wales certainly didn't disappoint. I'd speak to friends who
work for other graduate employers and they'd be amazed at how much I’d
done so soon.
Whilst working for a multi-national company, I feel like part of a big family. All
the graduates meet up regularly on courses (and socially) and we network with
senior managers and directors as early exposure to high-level business
planning and strategy.
What I love is the buzz and energy around the business, I couldn't begin to tell
you what an average day is like, no day is “average” and you're never bored.
Responsibility comes early on, and you have a safety net of managers around
you. This enables you to move forward with confidence knowing that mistakes
will be picked up before they cause a problem and that you will be able to learn
from them. And, of course, you have the support and advice of your mentor.
I'm now Assistant Operations Manager at a large depot in Newcastle - I've
gone from managing 170 drivers in South Wales to managing almost 300 here.
It's a big step up in responsibility, but after the intensity of the first year I'm fully
prepared for the challenges involved. And, because I enjoy what I do so much,
the days just go in a flash."
I am sure we all wish her well in her new position
Saturday, 14 July 2007
Did a train come along and make the earth move for the van driver? I'm not sure if I should say, "No thank god." or "No, what a shame." But no train arrived.
On to an other little problem that we have down here in the South West. The Napoli. Two days ago it was refloated. Had we seen the last of it? No, sorry. When it was half a mile out to sea it was decided that it was too badly damaged and it came back like the oily bad penny it is.
Friday, 13 July 2007
But he didn't.
Next up of course is resurfacing Long Road it's self which is about as rough as a ploughed field on a frosty morning. An other big job which should take about a week but if this junction is anything to go by, it could take months. It used to amaze me, I would drive up to the junction heading for South Devon College and twenty work persons would be beavering away like they loved their jobs more than anything else in the world. Ten minutes later, back up from the college and they'd be gone, as if the Doctor had turned up with his Tardis and taken them for a quick trip through time to look at great road works from history. Well if he did I wish he had taken them to have a look at Roman road builders. A mile a day or one in ten of them got crucified. That's what I call an incentive to finish on time.
Thursday, 12 July 2007
The problem with the bus passes is that the students are not compelled to buy them but once they have spent a day using the buses the realise that paying all those bus fare can be an expensive business and start to play pass the pass. I can not understand why the language schools don't include the cost of the bus pass in the cost of the course. It would save me having to be nasty now and then.
The second incident left me feeling a certain amount of sympathy for a group of students. On the way into Brixham there is a Go Cart Race Track which is popular with people who like going fast. Me I just drive a bus. It is next to the Brixham Park and Ride site which is not actually up and running until next Monday. There is however a bus shelter and in big yellow letters the words Bus Stop are spread out in the roadway for all to drive over. This group had come out of the Go Carts and were standing at, what appeared to them to be a bus stop and wondering why all the buses were driving past without stopping. Well we can't until next Monday when the Par & Ride opens.
I have suggested that a fixed, durable notice be put in the shelter explaining that the stop only works when the Park and Ride is operating but as with many of the things I suggest nothing gets done.
As you can see the Park and Ride does get well used and is cheaper than driving into Brixham, adding to the traffic,and trying to find a parking place. I have heard that it will be there all year round from now on and not just in Summer so no need for the notice after all.
Big day on Saturday for Torquay United FC, their first game as a non league club, a friendly against Plymouth Argle. If they were playing a team made up of Plymouth Argle supporters they might just stand a chance of getting a result. Not a great football fan but good luck to the team now they are in the Blue Square Premier Division and are presently 21st out of 24 according to the BBC web page.
Monday, 9 July 2007
While I was away the was a little bit of trouble on Paignton Bus Station with FirstBus staff handing out flyers stating that FirstBus were cheaper between Torquay and Paignton, which is true but not much use if you want to go onto Brixham. Anyway the Police were called and thousands were arrested in the riots that followed. (No, sorry that's not true. I must have been reading the wrong page in the news paper) No arrests were made and a Police spokesman said, "We gave advice and the situation calmed down quickly."
One thing I did notice as I drove along is that FirstBus have put their timetable on all the bus stops between Torquay and Paignton, some thing the never bothered with before. I also notice that there are slightly bigger that the Stagecoach time tables (which have always been there). This is the sort of thing that can completely destroy peace conferences."Why is your flag bigger than ours. This is an insult to the Democratic Peoples republic of Stagecoach Devon." says the leader of the peace delegation before storming out and arming the nuclear warheads. Lets hope it doesn't get to that. By the way, our fares to Plymouth are cheaper the FirstBus. Four quid return. You don't get better than that.
The bus above is not in any war, it just goes every hour for €1.25 to Andorra la Vella 8 km away from St Julia. The top picture is Andorra la Vella, capital town of Andorra. Nice place.
Monday, 2 July 2007
Home in a few days so a few pictures and then back to the bus driving on Sunday.