This notice has been on display in our buses for a while now. I think a large number of those three million made it on to my bus this lunch time. I started from the Harbour as a 12, my favorite route, heading for Brixham. It had been raining all morning and with it being holidays the roads were pretty full so buses were a little late. I was due of the Strand at 11 41 so I was down there ten minutes before, I like to be a little early so I can have a chat to the other bus drivers and the controller. You never know what gossip you might hear. Anyway two buses turned up but neither were mine, too early. They both set off together heading for Brixham. Mine turned up 5 minutes late. Five minutes doesn't sound much but it now means there is a 15 minute gap between me and the bus in front instead of a 10 minute gap. Extra passengers for me. I made a couple of minutes up by the time I got to Christchurch and was beginning to think I might even get to Brixham on time. Then I turned in to Hyde Road. Hyde Road leads to Paignton Bus Station and is a two lane, one way street. In theory. Parking is permitted on the left side but the right side, the second lane has double yellow lines painted by the curb in an unsuccessful attempt to stop parking there. It is the right hand lane after all but even though there are double yellow lines people park there none the less. All have Blue Badges. Blue Badge Holders can park on double yellow lines for free for three hours. There are car parks very close by that are handy for the shops but everyone has to pay, even Blue Badge Holders. Why pay when you can park for free. Now at the top of Hyde Rd there is a left turn in to Torbay Road so anyone wanting to turn left is in the left lane. Anyone wanting to go straight on,like the buses, is also in the left lane (parked cars in the right lane remember). But, round the corner to the left there is a level crossing. When a train is due Hyde Rd comes to a stop. Today there must have been several trains due as it took ten minutes to cover the length of Hyde Rd, usually 1 minute. So by the time I got to the Bus station there were 60 people wanting to go to Brixham waiting for little old me. It takes ten minutes at least to load 60 passengers, longer if half of them tell me I am late, I know when I am late and I get even later when 30 people take the trouble telling me I am late.
So on to Brixham, I get there a couple of minutes after I should have left but there are only half a dozen people waiting, should be away in no time. Except I now have a bus with 80 passengers who all want to get off, no, actually that's not quite true. Three little old ladies decided they liked my driving so much they would come back to Torquay with me. Either that or Brixham in the rain looked a little grim for their taste. Brixham in the sun is fine but it doesn't look it's best in the rain and it did rain at lunch time. Back to the passengers who wanted to get off the bus, as they stepped off the platform they were confronted by a person who wanted to get on. This person stood one foot back from the door and right in the way of everyone getting off. At one point I was tempted to move the bus forward a couple of feet to make it easier for my poor alighting passengers but decided not to waste my time as this reincarnation of Canute would have just move two feet to her left. She doubled the time it took for everyone to get off. Then when all who wanted to had gone she said "Where do I catch the 22?". (Sounds like a good title for a book, could do with a little work on it) Remember me saying there were only a few people waiting when I got to Brixham, I pulled out with 75 people on board 12 minutes late. They just appeared and appeared and kept coming and kept coming. They must have had a premonition because when I got to Waterside, half a mile past Windy Corner an other driver came on the radio and reported an RTC(1) at Windy Corner and that the road would be blocked for a while.
This post will have more added to it in the morning but I have to be up early to take one of the cats to the vet, Good night all.
Well I got the cat to the vet, and back home again. Just his annual injection, he's been before but is still scowling at me. If I go near him for the rest of the day he will run off, still the exercise is good for him.
Where was I, oh yes, coming out of Paignton the radio went, my replacement driver in Torquay had been held up in the heavy traffic and was late for her break so she would not be able to take over but a spare driver had been found and was on his way but might be a minute or two late. No problem there, I still had to get through Preston and it was raining hard. Preston, holidays and heavy rain do not make a good mix, very lumpy, lots of stop go traffic. We really do need a Preston by pass as much as we need a Kingskerswell by pass. At least something doing to the lights at the bottom of Preston Down Rd. Best idea would be take those lights out and make Preston Down Rd a give way with a left turn only because that is where the problem lies. Anyway I made it to Cary Parade and the spare driver was waiting for me so I went for my break.
After lunch onto 12A/12Cs, a trip to Marychurch, back to the College and then to Teignmouth. The rain cleared and out came the sun and traffic became much quieter so the afternoon was relatively easy. After some initial worry about driving up the coast to Teignmouth, narrow, bendy, tree lined road, I am finding it less of a worry. Care must be taken particularly on the tight left hand bends watching the side of the bus doesn't come into contact with the banking and for oncoming traffic, but so far so good. Only two cancelled tickets on the new machine today, a bit of a record.