Saturday, 28 June 2008
But the new machines have a labour saving device that Cuts the ticket for you, no need to waste hard won energy, which is so expensive these days. The makers of the machine understood that there would be a transitional problem, passengers would sill expect to have to pull the ticket out of the machine not realising that this was a) unnecessary and b) would jam the machine. So they stuck a neat little notice just below where the ticket emerges in the hope that the existence of this labour saving device would come to the notice of the travelling public. But there is a slight problem, isn't there always?
Now what did that notice say?
So today when someone bought 3 return tickets and pulled them before the cutter had done it job, it's only job, the job it came into existence for, what would a ticket cutter do if it couldn't cut tickets, I'll tell you. It jams the printer. Next lot of tickets didn't print because the cutter had so much paper stuck in it the whole thing gave up. I almost did too. I opened the printer door and unjammed the cutter re set the paper and closed the printer door and pressed a couple of buttons that should have sent a few inches of paper in to the outside world and cut it off. Did it? Starts in n, ends in o, nothing in between. Several attempts and about 2 hours later the controller wanders over and spent just 7.348 seconds fiddling with the damn thing and it works perfectly. By now 27 people had also wandered over and wanted to get on the bus. By now I should have been half a mile down the road. By the time I sold all 27 passengers their tickets (the cutter worked perfectly) I should have been 2 miles down the road. An other reason for being late. Yes I know, they seem to be increasing by the week. Please wait for the cutter to CUT.
Smart isn't it.
Thursday, 26 June 2008
Last season the team were sponsored once more by Stagecoach in Devon , stand at a bus stop and we'll come along, and The Belgrave Hotel , which is situated one of the best sites on Torquay Seafront, and by a new sponsor TaxiFast of Torquay (01803 60 60 60), office just up Torwood Street near the Clock Tower, who I trust you will use on those rare occasions when the bus just will not do.
The Belgrave Hotel is presently undergoing a refit and will soon reopen as Premier Travel Inn, watch out for details here.
TORQUAY RFC U11S FIXTURE’S till the end of the year.
September is Training only, games start in October.
Matches are played on a Sunday morning KO at 10:30
Home games at Torquay Rugby ground by the Grand Hotel
05/10/2008 NEWTON ABBOTT HOME
12/10/2008 TOPSHAM HOME
19/10/2008 IVYBRIDGE HOME
26/10/2008 PAIGNTON AWAY
02/11/2008 BRIXHAM HOME
09/11/2008 KINGSBRIDGE AWAY
16/11/2008 PLMSTOCK AWAY
23/11/2008 TOTNES HOME
30/11/2008 SALCOMBE AWAY
07/12/2008 TEIGNMOUTH HOME
14/12/2008 DEVONPORT AWAY
21/12/2008 To Be Arranged
28/12/2008 To Be Arranged
Wednesday, 25 June 2008
Tuesday, 24 June 2008
Then I noticed there were a lot of No Parking cones around and a small group of police officers trying to look butch and a crowd around the entrance to the Sailing Club. He explained that he went sailing even though he was blind (good for him) and Princess Anne was patron of a society for disabled sailors (Good for her) and he was going to meet her and share afternoon tea.
Read on from the Herald Express
ROYAL TREATMENT FOR SAIL CLUB WITH VIP PRINCESS
11:00 - 23 June 2008
Princess Anne is to honour young sailors in a visit to the Bay today.The Princess Royal accepted an invitation from Babbacombe Corinthian Sailing Club to present awards at a reception for youngsters and volunteer instructors at the end of its regatta.The Princess is patron of the Royal Yachting Association Sailability, an initiative which promotes the skills of boating to those with any form of physical, sensory or learning disability.She will present certificates to children from Coombe Pafford school who have successfully completed sailing training.
Cadets who have completed qualifications to become assistant instructors will also be presented to the princess.Invited guests include representatives from schools and organisations, including the Blind Sailing Association, the Sea Scouts and RYA Sailability.Commodore Dave Homer said preparations for the VIP visit were going well."It is very busy for us because we are preparing for the big event while holding the regatta."We are hugely honoured that the Princess is coming. It will be an excellent day for the club and for the volunteers whose efforts must be celebrated," he said.
The visit coincides with Babbacombe Festival which runs until Sunday, June 29.
Sadly on Monday evening John, who was in his mid fifties, suffered a massive heart attack and died.
He had his own style of working and was fairly out spoken in his views, mostly he was cheerful but occasionally cantankerous and was well liked by his colleagues and will be missed by all.
Monday, 23 June 2008
Then later I went up to Teignmouth as a 12A. Once you go over Sheldon Bridge and turn in towards Teignmouth the road narrows and there are parked cars on the right, enough room for a car and a bus to pass but not two buses, maybe there is but as the bus coming towards me was a brand spanking new 2nd day on the road Enviro 400 with 213 miles on the clock I wasn't going to find out. So I slowed down and allowed the other bus to come through. There was also a road on the left with a car trying to turn right, the driver had enough room in front of me and enough time before the other bus arrived to go, so go he did, but cautiously. I then noticed two red cars, what is it about red cars, pull out from the line of traffic behind me, not the car behind me but 5 or 6 cars behind me, and accelerate like a photon leaving the Sun in a mad desperate attempt to get past the bus. Remember it is a non Olympic sport, get past the bus even if it kills you. Well this time it almost did. Hand on horn, half Teignmouth must have heard it. The cautious driver of the emerging car certainly did and put his foot hard on his brake. Red cars missed him by a couple of layers of paint. Would have brought Teignmouth to a dead stop other wise.
Third little incident happened on the way back from Teignmouth in Anseys Cove at the bus stop there. Someone on the bus had rung the bell and being a nice bus driver I had stopped to let them of. As they were getting off I noticed a person, a female, walking in the direction of the bus stop. She wasn't giving any indication that she wanted the bus, no little increase in speed, no bus pass in hand, no urgancy of any sort. I checked the mirror for passing traffic, bus drivers do that dispite report to the contrary. None there, close doors, right indicator on, last quick glance at aproching female. Still walking along with out a care in the world. Started moving, by now car in distance so accelorating fairly briskly. Female's expression changed for indifferance to disbelief to anoyance to hatered to 'if looks could kill' in about 1.769 seconds, plus waved fist. Now if she could do all that why couldn't she put her hand out in the first place. Then I would have know she wanted the bus and waited for her?
It's all part of driving a bus and helps to make it such an interesting job.
Sunday, 22 June 2008
All you have to do is hang all your plastic bags on the washing line and leave them there. However as there are trillions of them we would need a washing line going round the world about fifteen times which is not the most practical solution to a problem I have ever come up with.
Here is a better idea. Don't us plastic bags. Buy a green bag and use that instead.
Come back in 3 months to see how the remains of this bag are going on.
Friday, 20 June 2008
Section 129 The Highway Code
Meanwhile here is a picture of a bus clearly parked in a coach bay.
Thursday, 19 June 2008
From the Highway code.
You MUST NOT stop or park on
a road marked with double white lines,
except to pick up or set down passengers
That's what the red writing in the photo says, no it isn't written in the road but maybe it should be.
From the Herald Express.
WOMAN TRAPPED UNDER LORRY
BY LIZ PHILLIPSLPHILLIPS 19 June 2008
An 89-year-old woman was due to undergo surgery in hospital after suffering serious injuries when she was trapped under a truck.The accident happened as the elderly woman was crossing a Brixham town centre crossroads yesterday afternoon.She collided with the 12-wheel truck and ended up trapped underneath by her legs.Yesterday afternoon's drama brought traffic at the Bolton Cross junction to a standstill, as pharmacy staff, nearby doctors from St Luke's medical centre and passers-by rushed to her aid.
The shocked lorry driver, in his 30s, works for Cornish-based Steve Wills Haulage.Police confirm the woman was walking, pushing her wheeled shopping basket, from the rear of Threshers off-licence towards a pedestrian refuge in the middle of Brixham's busiest junction when the accident happened.Web manager Mark Lakeman of Mission Adventuresports, whose office overlooks the junction near Brixham library, said: "I first heard screaming, and then saw a young couple rush towards a small wheeled trolley trapped against a bollard."Then I realised someone was hurt and underneath the vehicle."After that, everyone did what they could, including directing traffic, until the 999 services arrived, which was only minutes. They were really quick."Police are appealing for witnesses to the 1.45pm incident, which closed the port's busiest junction for several hours and completely disrupted bus services.Sgt Ivan Kingdon said yesterday afternoon they were not sure if the casualty was local.A family liaison officer was at the hospital shortly after she arrived by ambulance."We would appreciate the help of the public," the sergeant added."Her injuries are life-changing, and we are awaiting the arrival of a police accident investigator."The driver is helping with inquiries. The tachograph on the lorry is important and the vehicle cannot be driven, so we are arranging for a tow to the duty garage."
Police said later the woman's injuries were not thought to be life-threatening, and she was due to undergo surgery.It is understood the CCTV camera in Fore Street does not cover the Bank Lane area.Mr Lakeman said that pedestrian safety needed improving in Bank Lane.The one-way system accommodated cars, coaches, buses, taxis, fish lorries, delivery trucks and construction traffic for the Dean and Dyball regeneration scheme on the dockside.Mr Lakeman added: "It's the only part of the busy junction without a pelican-controlled crossing, and you see near misses every day."It nearly turned into a double tragedy as an elderly man tripped in New Road outside the Bolton Hotel and fell in front of a moving white van just after the woman had been injured.He was quickly picked up by other spectators and, apart from a bruised knee, was not seriously hurt.
Eye-witnesses are being asked to contact police on 08452 777444 quoting log 483 of June 18.
Incidents like this are rare, fortunately, but they do bring home to us how fragile life can be.
Monday, 16 June 2008
Travel By Bus!
For all the shortage of fuel I haven't noticed a lack of cars on the road, though one of our drivers did get on the radio and announce that a hold up at Shiphay Lane was due to a stationary car in the outside lane at the traffic lights that appeared to have run out of petrol.
There are moments when I am glad I don't own a car, like when I think of car tax, insurance, mot, repairs, the cost of replacing it, parking, petrol at £6 a gallon, buggering up the atmosphere with greenhouse gas, etc, etc, etc
Sunday, 15 June 2008
One thing I am noticing about the new 12A/12C service, the destination is St Marychurch which is what it says on the front. But most visitors haven't heard of St Marychurch, they have all heard of, and want to go to, Babbacombe which is one stop down from Marychurch but that isn't on the destination blind. A lot of people walk up to the front of the bus and look at the destination blind. Most come and ask, "Do you go to Babbacombe?" but a few do walk away. Remember in some places in the country it is not considered safe to ask bus drivers questions.
Saturday, 14 June 2008
I was held up for a few minutes on my break trip which meant I missed a few minutes of my break. No big deal. However when I went out after break to start my second half with an other trip to Teignmouth there was no sign of my bus. The bus in front of me left 5 minutes late, a 12C, the bus 10 minutes behind me left on time. Then 20 minutes later an other 12C turned up and left with no sign of my 12A. It finally arrived at 15:40. I should have left at 15:07 so I had a few anxious passengers waiting for me. As it happened the bus due to leave for Teignmouth at 15:37 left at more or less the same time as me. Fortunately the traffic was light so I was able to make up some of my time. I am sure there was a logical explanation as to why my bus was so late but listening to logical explanations when you are 37 minutes late and passengers milling about is not always a good idea. By the time I got back from my third trip of the day to Teignmouth I was back on time and got home just in time to hear the closing music to Doctor Who. I have recorded it so don't tell me what happened.
Three trips to Teignmouth today.
Wednesday, 11 June 2008
A slightly less welcome sight but not unexpected was a brand new litter bin back in the firing line in Fleet Street. It would appear the Honorable Guild of Litter Bins carry less weight then the litter bins themselves.
Meanwhile what a day! For me it started about 11:15 when I signed on. I catch a bus up to the depot to start work and when I get on the driver usually tells me if there are any problems around the Bay. Nothing was said. When I signed on and collected my running board the controllers didn't report any problems so I walked down to the Newton Road to pick up my bus for Brixham with a song in my heart. It's a beautiful sunny day. Bus is due at 11:34. I wasn't too concerned at 11:40 when it hadn't turned up but 11:50 arrived and the bus hadn't. Then 12 noon, then 12:10. What was of more concern was the fact that the 11:24 hadn't arrived either. Then at 12:12 two buses arrived, the second one was the one I was taking over and it was 38 minutes late. This is excessive and could only mean either road works or an RTC. Well it was road works, a hundred yards before the Penn Inn roundabout. The buses were being held up on the way into Newton and on the way out. Traffic was being controlled not by temp traffic lights but by stop go boards. Stop go boards usually work better than traffic lights as the operators can watch the flow of traffic and alter the timing to suit. I don't think much watching flow of traffic was taking place here today. When I got there 4 hours later, after a trip to Brixham and a lunch break in Paignton, there seemed to be 50 vehicles coming the other way and 5 going towards Newton. Four buses arrived in the bus station together which was full of school children from the two local secondary school as well as lots of shoppers on their way home. I pulled out first with only about 20 children on board but picked up at every stop as far as Jury's Corner and by the time I got into Torquay was pretty much full. Then someone ripped their ticket out of the machine with a disproportionate amount of violence considering the ticket is only made of paper, thin paper at that so a further few minutes was lost while the machine was given some first aid due to the fact it got jammed by the paper being twisted. Please wait for the paper to cut before removing it from the machine.
By the way, it really was a lovely sunny day again down here in beautiful Devon.
Tuesday, 10 June 2008
Later in the day I went to Teignmouth where I decided, having a few minutes waiting time, to eat my last sandwich. I wasn't all that hungry at lunch time. Anyway I noticed this gull hanging about and while I ate my buttie I ignored him. I've read the notices about feeding seagulls and I have seen visitors on Torquay Harbour throw a chip to a gull and vanish as 50 of his close relatives turn up to join in the feast. It wasn't till I had finished the corned beef delight that I noticed my little friend was limping. He couldn't put his right foot foot down properly, poor lamb. Either that or he was trying for the sympathy vote.
Monday, 9 June 2008
As you can see no trees were actually removed from this section of the cliff face so removing trees had nothing to do with the fall.
The rock and soil were just waiting to come crashing down on some passing bus but didn't quiet make it.
Saturday, 7 June 2008
Thursday, 5 June 2008
A couple of incidents today, what you would call close encounters of the very near miss kind got me thinking about other close calls I have had over the years. It was the fact that in the space of a few hours I had to brake hard to avoid first a cyclist and later a teenager on a skateboard that got me thinking about other near misses. And I realised how few such incidents I had had in the the last ten years and about 10 000 trips through this pedestrianised street. I could now count them on the fingers of one hand and still have a couple of fingers left over and that wasn't even bothering with the thumb.
The first of two today had happened as I was going up Fleet St, I approached a small section set aside for the parking of bikes. A young man had just got on his bike and he , without bothering to look round, set of. I braked firmly and a collision was avoided. By chance there was an other number 12 waiting outside the former post office for me to pass. The driver was one of those brave hardy souls who cycles to work and he held his thumb and forefinger about half an inch apart to indicate how close I and the cyclist had been, As I went past him I expressed the hope that he didn't ride his bike in a similar fashion, "Sometimes" was his answer. Right. Cyclists.
Later the skateboarder came hurtling down the slope at the Strand end just as I entered, again a sharp application of the brake reduced the speed of the bus down from 5 mph to zero in the space of a couple of feet and the youth on the board and the bus missed by inches. Which was lucky for him because running into even a stationary bus at 20 mph on a skateboard tends to ruin your evening.
Which is why we ALWAYS drive slowly in Fleet Street.
Two close encounters in one day and they say things happen in threes. Well not today. I was on my way to Newton and then back to the depot to finish. No more trips along Fleet St for me today. Probably just as well.
Wednesday, 4 June 2008
All those who said ;b), go and stand in the corner. I'm not like that. Thought sometimes I am tempted.
"Have a nice day."
Tuesday, 3 June 2008
Sunday, 1 June 2008
A day off so I went for a ride up to Teignmouth with the camera in movie mode. This clip shows the section between Brunel Manor and Sheldon Bridge. It's not continuous as my camera only takes movies for one minute and then stops for 20 seconds to store the existing data. I am going to get a new, bigger, better camera before my next holidays in September that will take longer shots, and sound. I'll have to work a few days overtime to afford it though.
I sat upstairs in the front nearside seat and those trees appear very, very close compared with the view from the driving seat where I normal sit.
11:00 - 29 May 2008
We have finally given up on the buses altogether.It's a long and sorry tale, which seems all the more crazy when you consider that my two teenage daughters were paying Stagecoach nearly £10 a day between them to catch buses from our Torquay home.Now my elder daughter has found somebody to give her a lift, after being told that the number 85 was being cancelled.When she inquired she was told by the bus information service that there would be no bus to Teignmouth in the morning to get her to work on time after the new timetables were introduced.I didn't believe her when she told me, and phoned the bus information line myself, only to be given exactly the same information.The first bus to Teignmouth from Torquay would not arrive in Teignmouth until 9.20am, I was told.So she found a lift share, thanks to the kindness of somebody prepared to double back and pick her up every day.It was only after I wrote about the madness of the new timetables in this column that Torbay Council told me the information service was wrong. There would be a new service running earlier buses to Teignmouth every day.But it was too late, by then she had made her own arrangements for fear of losing her job.Then, in the same round of reorganisation, Stagecoach announced it was going to reduce the frequency of the number 12 service along the congested Newton Road.Again, it was a final straw moment.My younger daughter goes to sixth form college in Newton Abbot because when we moved to Torquay three years ago from Teignbridge, she was happy and well-established at her school. With all the other changes going on around her after our divorce, I agreed with her decision not to move to a new school in Torquay.It turned out to be the right decision, she has done well academically and is now loving sixth form and has a great crowd of nice friends.But the number 12 bus has turned out to be the bane of her life.Even when she first started getting the bus from the harbourside she needed to be leaving home at 7.30am in order to have any chance to getting to school by 9am.The bus has become her nemesis. She hates it with a passion.For her Stagecoach became slow coach. Hours of wasted time, week after week, staring out of the window of the number 12 as it inched its way like a snail along the ever more congested Newton Road, stopping and starting to pick up passengers as the traffic in front of it built up and brought it to a standstill.She curses the fact she is one of the youngest in her year, and still too young to drive.Our only alternative would have been for me to also leave home at 7.30am and drive her to Torquay railway station so she could get the only train to Newton Abbot which would have got her to school on time.I would have happily done that, but it seemed unfair on my youngest child, who was only four at the time. He also would have had to be up, and dressed, and out of the house by 7.30am every day.So she got the bus. And being a teenage girl, with hair straighteners and make-up and showering to worry about, that meant getting up ridiculously early every morning.However, being a teenager, mornings are not her best time. In fact, mornings became our worst time.I had a choice. Leave her to her own devices, knowing she would get out of the front door eventually, looking perfectly beautiful but also knowing she would be 10 minutes late for school, or try to get her up on time.Every parent of teenagers knows what a thankless task that is. I'm sure everybody has tried different tacks.There's the softly-softly, when you are in a good mood on a sunny morning when you gently tiptoe in and open the curtains with a smile and a drink.Or there is the fun and tickling approach, when you try to tease them awake in a good mood by tickling their toes under the duvet.Or you can bang in loudly, throwing back curtains and covers and poke them until they growl and swear at you.I have even tried ringing her on her mobile phone, knowing the one thing teenagers react to is a phone call.But the problem with all of these tactics is that, as soon as you leave the room, your teenagers will heave a sigh of relief, roll over and go back to sleep.Especially when, in the back of their mind, they know there will be another number 12 coming along in 10 more minutes.The only foolproof way is to stay in the room until they are up and out of bed and in the shower. This can take anything up to 15 minutes.And when you are the only adult in the house, with other children to sort and get breakfast for, it's not exactly a viable option.But the news that the number 12 was going to be running even less frequently was the final straw and I am now driving her to Torquay railway station every morning, so that she can have the pleasure of getting on the cattle truck full of schoolchildren.The train takes less than 15 minutes, but now she is getting to Newton nearly an hour earlier than necessary.But strangely, now that she knows there is only one train, she is getting up on time every day.And it seems we have escaped the pleasures of daily bus journeys just in the nick of time. Because last week, along with the confusion of the new timetables, Stagecoach introduced new ticketing machines.These, according to my bus travelling colleague, are the reason that all the buses in South Devon appear to be travelling in threes at the moment.It's no wonder too many of us drive cars rather than rely on public transport. It's no wonder older people try to hang on to their cars.I once had a very elderly neighbour who used to wait anxiously outside the house whenever her husband went out in the car alone.One day she confided: "It's all right when we're both in the car. But he can't see very well now and I have to tell him if there are any cars coming."We were living in a rural area with no bus service and when he eventually gave up driving after a bit of a crash at 90, their lives changed drastically for the worse.And for everyone who relies on the buses, being at the mercy of a nameless, faceless institution which appears to be trying everything in its power to annoy rather than help its poor customers every day, is enough to make you feel like a moaning, whinging wreck.