Thursday, 23 May 2013

Catching the 9:30 Special

Hard at work again today. The bus of the Strand at 09:32 is always fairly full. All us bus pass holders start congregating at the stop from 20 past nine looking at our watches and hoping the next bus will arrive after 9:30 so we can travel free at the tax payer's expense. I don't start work till 10:00 so this bus is fine for me.
Actually I have been hard at work (unpaid) for the past two months. After I got back from Australia in January I was out of work after Devonian Buses closed down.  I did have a look round for another bus driving job but the possibilities were limited. I don’t have a car so getting up to Heathfield or out to Long Rd (Country Buses and Local Link depots) was a bit too much of a struggle. Plus I needed to take a medical to keep my licence (£50 min). And, due to government legislation I would need a CPC ( Certificate of Professional Competence) (min £550) by 9 September to carry on driving a bus. So sadly my bus driving days are over.

So, what to do with all my spare time. When you’re working you never have enough. Once retired you have too much. So I Googled "Volunteering  in Torbay", and one of the positions that came up was Teaching people how to use computers. Now I have been a teacher and I do know how to use a computer so it sounded perfect. Now I catch a bus over to Paignton twice a week to The Pad on Torquay Rd, just opposite Victoria Park. It is part of a Community Interest Company called Eat That Frog. We don’t just do computers, downstairs there is a drop in centre, you can get a cup of tea or a meal and join in the various activities. Call in if you are passing. I am there Monday, Wednesday morning and Thursday. If you know anyone who wants to know more about their computer or would like to use our computers to do a job search or help with a CV, then we are here to help.

One the way to work this morning I couldn’t help but notice that buses were still going up Fleet St even though the council said less than 3 weeks ago that buses would be going down by 22 May. Yet another Torbay Council deadline missed. And Livermead is still one way but a huge team of work men are working almost round the clock to get that finished before the summer season is over. Paignton Bus Station will be open next Wednesday.

And lastly, I am planning on Tuesday to have a ride on the extended 11 service from the Strand to Dawlish Warren. Bet the number two drivers are glad they don’t have to go to The Warren anymore. One question though, the last bus back from Dawlish warren is 23:30. Who wants to travel from Dawlish warren to Torquay at that time of night. Not a shift I would like to be on.


Anonymous said...

Hello Dave,

I didn't know about Devonian buses closing but then again, it's hardly headline news here in Leicestershire! I'm sorry to read about how much the CPC certificate costs to obtain and I wonder just how many others are put off by this cost? The medical is fair enough I suppose, but I really question why the other certificate is necessary. More bureaucracy it seems! Good luck with the volunteering project.
-Dave from Barwell

David said...

Hi Dave from Barwell, Yes it was a sad day when the boss decided enough was enough. I'm not surprised it didn't make headline news where you live; but it din't here either. People I know are still asking me if I am driving for Devonian Buses

Retired driver Peter said...

Iam sorry to hear that your bus driving days are over.I know that you will miss it because I do even today 9 years later. My reason was on medical grounds at the age of 68 but my young brother has just packed up at 68 - he renewed his licence, but will fall foul of the CPC regulations as did you. I still have one friend driving coaches mainly on tours both UK and continental at the age of 70 he has obtained his CPC and so intends to carry on for a while yet. I am envious!

Dave said...

Try and find a not for profit company running on a permit - then you don't need a CPC! Simples!

David said...

I believe The Frog have a mini bus that they use in a not for hire way, I have a feeling I might end up driving that from time to time.