A lady boarded the bus and showed me her fare, £3.50, and then instead of putting the coins on the cash tray she looked around with a slightly puzzled look before settling on the big red box hanging in the driver's door. The one with Used Tickets printed on it in big white letters. Now this is strictly speaking for used tickets so the passengers don't litter the streets when they get of the bus with thousands of used tickets. Generally speaking it is used as a litter bin for small items such as used tickets, sweet wrappers, empty coke cans, apple cores, chewing gum and anything else you can think off including greasy plastic bags that once house sandwiches. I know all that lot were in the Used Ticket receptacle because the lady I mention a minute ago dropped her fare into this bin. Now this is a throw back to years ago on their buses. I know it was an idea used on Manchester buses in the sixties and discarded quite quickly. There was a Perspex box into which the fare was dropped through a slot. The driver then examined the money and if it was correct pulled a lever and the coins dropped into a strong box below. It was unpopular with the passengers because no change was given, it was unpopular with the drivers because there were arguments about change and it was unpopular with bus companies because the buses would run late while passenger stood on the platform trying to swap change. The idea soon vanished which shows the lady on my bus hadn't been on a bus for years.
It was also handy because it meant the Used Ticket box got emptied, probably for the first time in weeks while I sorted through the rubbish for the £3.50.
The second story came a day or two later. It had started sunny but by 9:30 thick black clouds covered the sky from horizon to horizon, a cold wind from the south west had turned up making the backs of leaves on the trees visible ( a sure sign of rain to come) and the temperature fallen by several degrees and as I pulled up at a stop a few drops of rain were making their presence know by splattering on the windscreen.
The first passenger, again a lady got on and showed her pass and I issued a ticket. She then asked, "What is it going to do today?" I looked out the window at thick black clouds covered the sky from horizon to horizon, a cold wind from the south west had turned up making the backs of leaves on the trees visible ( a sure sign of rain to come) and the temperature fallen by several degrees and the few drops of rain were still there splattering on the windscreen but joined by many more of their comrades.
"It's going to rain," said I. Well my mother told me always to tell the truth.
"Well you're a miserable sod," said my passenger before lurching down the bus.
I smilled sweetly. What else could I do.
PS it did rain.
PPS it was fine for the next 4 or 5 days after that.