Thursday, 31 July 2008
Well today was slightly different. Passengers were trying to get on before the disembarking passengers had got of so I asked then to wait a moment, then I shouted, "Last stop for Marychurch." One of the passengers getting on then wanted to know when the Teignmouth bus was coming, I explained I was the Teignmouth bus and she said I had said this was the last stop. I explained I had said, "Last stop for Marychurch." She then tried to get on while passengers were still getting on. Another waiting passenger then came up and demanded to know when the 17:45 to Teignmouth was coming. Again, "I am the Teignmouth bus." He said, " Why did you say it was the last stop?" I repeated that I had said "Last stop for Marychurch." Mean while the last of the disembarking passengers had managed to get of including a couple who had been sitting half way down the bus who asked, "Don't you turn left then, all the other buses do?" I explained that the Teignmouth bus doesn't turn left but goes straight on along the main road. Then the guy from the back seat with the iPod turned up and asked don't you go to Teignmouth? How he had heard me above the sound coming from his earphones is beyond me but I reassured him we were going to Teignmouth. He put his earphones, his well padded earphones, back on and return to his seat at the back of the bus and with everyone sitting down and me exhausted from explaining that the bus didn't turn left into Manor Rd but did go to Teignmouth so many times I set of. Much to the relief of the 200 or so cars that had built up behind me. As I went past the end of the road where the Chilcote Memorial stands a tiny thought entered my head,it went something like this, I bet there is someone on this bus that wants the Chilcote Memorial. Hands up those who had the same thought. Those with their hands up take a bow. The man sitting on the front seat suddenly jumped up and said, "I wanted the Chilcote Memorial." Actually he said a lot more than that but I try not to include swear words in this blog, I only use swear word on the subject of bus engines left running. (That's the subject of Story Three). Anyway the man who wanted the Chilcote Memorial got off at Pavor Rd in time to walk the 200yds up the road to the bus stop on the other side of the road to catch the bus back to Marychurch, just.
What he said to me when he got off the bus is, "You are a................................" What I said was, "Have a nice day"
Normally I don't wait time here, preferring to go and park on the sea front for 15 minutes so I don't clog up Teignmouth, other buses use this stop, both Stagecoach and Country Buses so it can get crowded. But today as I drove round to the sea front there was a number 2 in front of me. The number 2 also stopped on the sea front and the driver had got out of his cab and was having a cigarette. But his engine was still running. I didn't want to sit and listen to a bus engine running for 15 minutes so I drove back round and stopped on the Seaview Diner stop for a bit of peace and quiet.
Wednesday, 30 July 2008
Well the 'fun' started at 18:50 when one of the drivers reported that Torbay Council road workers were erecting temporary traffic lights on the Dartmouth Road near the Corner Surgery, right on our diversion route. Now wasn't that a wonderful idea? Next thing was even better. The police normally let us know a few minutes before the roads get closed that they are closing the road so the controller can tell all buses that they must now used the diversion route. Remember the roads weren't to be closed until 7pm. One of our number 12s left the bus station in Paignton heading hopefully for Torquay with lots of passengers. Then he gets to the bottom of Palace Road and there is a barrier across the road and he ends up having to turn into Palace Road even though there is no way out for a double decker. And I was in Newton listening to this and it was definitely pre 19:00. A lot of swinging round and reversing and frantic radio messages later the stranded driver was still stranded behind an immovable barrier, reported that the passengers had abandoned the bus and were walking back to the bus station ( fortunately not very far) to catch an other bus to Torquay. By this time I was back at the depot signing off so any other little bits of ' fun' similar to the above will no doubt be related to me tomorrow. And related here tomorrow evening.
Sunday, 27 July 2008
Been very sunny and fairly warm the last few days but don't worry, it wont last.
The Strand on Saturday morning, hundreds of students heading off for a days fun at the Water Park in Goodrinton. All trying to get on one bus. Not my bus, I was going the other way.
Saturday, 26 July 2008
Friday, 25 July 2008
Thursday, 24 July 2008
On the sea front there is a row of Victorian Houses now done up into flats which overlook the sea. There is also a notice asking parked vehicles to switch of engines when parked. I am quiet fanatical about this. The moment I stop, the engine gets switched off, then the handbrake goes on. When it is time to go I start the engine and I am gone in a few seconds. Years ago I used to live overlooking a bus terminus and know exactly what it is like listening to a bus engine throbbing away in the background wondering when it will go and cursing the bus driver to the lowest reaches of hell. Bus engines are big and sound much louder on the outside of the bus than they do on the inside.
Guess what? The 2 driver had his engine running. And he had ten minutes before he went. Switch the fucking thing off. If it doesn't start it isn't your problem. Head office will get the complains. And anyway this number two was fairly new, it will start. Trust me on this. I'm a bus driver.
So I had a few minutes and went to talk to the driver, no sorry, not to have a go at him for being an audio polluter, but just a chat. Then a lady who lived in one of the flats appeared, approached the other driver and said, "Have you any idea what it is like..................". I missed the rest of the sentence, guessing it was to do with the engine running. An other driver of a passing bus had called me over. He wanted to know if I had any idea where the 'Promotion 2' button was on the new ticket machine. As it happened we don't use this button in Torquay but it is on the machine, not sure why, and I knew where it was. By the time I had told him the lady had finished her conversation with the other number 2 driver and was heading, wait for it, to the nearby litter bin into which she dumped a bag of rubbish she had brought out from her flat. Just in case you didn't know dumping private household rubbish in a public litter bin is illegal and councils tend to get dead upset if they catch you doing it.
She wasn't bothered by the engine noise either. She was upset that our buses were blocking her view of the sea. It’s only water for crying out loud, get a telly, much more interesting.
Tuesday, 22 July 2008
Friday, 18 July 2008
Thursday, 17 July 2008
I took this shot while on my lunch break at Paignton. From there I headed for Newton arriving at 15: 38 just in time to pick up about 80 passengers. 65 of them were school children and 15 of them were human beings who were thinking, "Next time I will catch an earlier bus." Actually the school children in Newton Abbot are much better behaved now than a few years ago and the only problem is the noise level that tends to be a bit higher than usual. But the little darlings have just spent several hours sitting quietly at their desks learning lots of wonderful new and usful things like algebra and French and who was King of England in 1759 and punctuation and spelling. I missed out on the last one. It's not suprising they get a little noisy.
Then down into Torquay for the big event of the day. Things like this are rare, in 11 years it's only the second time it has happened to me. A man boarded the bus in Union Street at the top of town and refused to pay his fare. Instead he just went and sat down as though paying for a bus ride was beneath him.00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000. Sorry the cat just sat on the keyboard) Well it isn't beneath anyone, you have a pass, a return ticket or you pay or you walk. I got on the radio to control who told me to nip down to the Strand where we keep a spare controller and he would deal with the problem.
On the Strand the controller spoke to the non fare paying passenger who still refused to either pay or leave the bus. The police were called and turned up very quickly. The police officer asked the non fare paying passenger to walk off the bus of his own accord or he, the police officer would assist him off the bus. Non fare paying passenger, and non thinking passenger come to think about it, refused. The police officer assisted him off the bus in about the time it takes some one to say, "Oh my god. That was quick."
I continued on my way not many minutes down. The rest of the day passed without incident. A bit dull really.
So I sat down and leaned down to get my cash tray out of my bag. When I looked up guess who was back on the platform. Yes, easy guess wasn’t it. The female person. She had 3 of the students in tow. An other guess for you, which 3 students did she have in tow and tried to push down the bus while I wasn’t watching. OK, I’m not going to tell you. You should be able to work it out. Now on my bus persistent queue jumpers get directed to the pavement and told to stand there until the next bus turns up. That way they will be first in line and wont have to queue jump. These three got that treatment as did the female person ( who works for one of the Language Schools). She pretending she was the most important person on the planet and I had to let the students on, so I repeated that they were not travelling on the bus. She had an other go so a third rendition of, "You are not travelling on the bus," was cut short when a local tapped her on the shoulder and said, “I don’t think the driver will change his mind, You may as well get the next bus.” I am not exactly sure what she said to me as she got off the bus as I managed to turn my deaf ear towards her just in time to prevent my delicate sensibilities from being ruined for ever.
Tuesday, 15 July 2008
Saturday, 12 July 2008
One of the bars around Torquay Harbour hired a singer to frighten away the crowds, sorry that should have been, to entertain the crowds. Unfortunately for those of us who spent any time in Harbour area this afternoon we had to endure this noise for hours and hours. I took the shot at least 200 yards away from the singer and yet he can be clearly heard. If one of my neighbours was playing music that loud everyone in the street would be banging on his door. If he is there next time I am in the Harbour I think I will find out where exactly he is performing and go and ask who ever is paying him to stop paying him in the hope that he will go away or at least go inside and turn the volume down. Sitting by the Harbour watching the boats bob up and down should be a quiet experience. It was a bit like being near a bus waiting time with it's engine running, you just hope the driver will switch the engine off or drive away and the relief when the noise does stop is almost overwhelming. What made it worse was a couple of minutes after the video was taken he announced that he had come to the end of his torture, sorry show. He then thanked just about everyone except President Bush and then lurched into his finale, a rendition of "My Way" that took over 6 minutes. Frank Sinatra has a lot to answer for and would have been turning in his grave.
Students, English language students. Actually it isn't their fault that 300 of them all arrived in Bank Lane Brixham at about 11:40 this morning and all expected to get on the first bus that turned up and were upset that they couldn't. Who organised this stupidity needs to ask themselves a few simple questions like how many people can get on one bus? If buses run every ten minutes and can carry 90 passengers how long will it take to shift 300 people? And how will the people who uses buses everyday feel when they turn up and have to wait 40 minutes to get on a bus to go to work or shop just because the language schools can not understand these simple facts.
Thursday, 10 July 2008
While I was waiting for a bus earlier in the day I noticed this Danish car with an ad on the spare wheel cover. Now we don't see too many Danish cars with ads on the back so I decided to visit the web site, having a wild guess that it might be something to do with gardening. I am not much wiser except I now know it is nothing to do with gardening. If you can speak Danish maybe you can tell me what they sell at http://www.krebshusgaarden.dk/.
Wednesday, 9 July 2008
Couple got on the bus today and asked for two tickets to the Balloon stop. One of them asked what the stop was called. It's official name is Belgrave Road but with a 70 foot high white elephant, sorry, white balloon parked in the field across the road from it then Balloon Stop will do for me. I haven't been keeping count so far but the number of days the big white thing has made it into the air seems to be a lot less than the number of times it hasn't made it up, wind being the problem.
Tuesday, 8 July 2008
In fact father was carrying daughter, aged three, mother was carrying son, aged one and a half. They took no notice of the queue waiting to get on nor of the ten people still in the process of getting off. He waved a couple of dayriders at me and before I could say anything headed down the bus, father using daughter and mother using son like human battering rams scattering poor innocent victims like so many discarded bus tickets on a windy day. They made it to the stairs in about half a second and up them despite the fact that people were still trying to get down said stairs. I just sat there open mouthed. Some times, most times, about 99.7% of the time I will prevent mayhem like this but I was stunned by the speed at which it all took place. Maybe there is a Human Battering Ram contest on somewhere over the weekend and these two were practicing hard, if they are competitors then my money is definitely on them.
In good time and without too many incidents, none really, we arrived in Paignton Bus Station. Paignton is the 2nd biggest town in Torbay and lots of passengers get off here. Lots get on as well, bit like Union Street and the same peaceful, unspoken arrangement between the would be passengers waiting for the would be pedestrians to get off before attempting to board exists, though holidaymakers who haven't been on a bus in years some times forget. Well 30 people got off and the waiting 25 stood stoically in the cool wind until it was clear the last passenger had left. They were wrong. Ten had boarded the bus when father and mother attacked them with the two children in the same style early crusaders attacked the gates of Jerusalem, the early crusaders did hack down a hand tree first to use as a battering ram, not their children, though what I have read about early, and late, crusaders they may have used other people’s children.
With this kind of determination and the dedication to training these two showed I really do want to put the mortgage on them. I don’t seem to be able to find out when the Human Battering Ram contests is though.
Sunday, 6 July 2008
There I was in Teignmouth. Breakfast was so far in the past you would have had to look it up in a history book. I had 20 minutes waiting time in Teighmouth, a 40 minute drive down to Torquay before it was time for lunch. So Idecided to have a sandwich. Just to fill a small hole in my tum. The first bite wasn't even complete before an old friend from a couple of weeks ago turned up with a mate. I might not have been as hungrey as them but they had no chance. Right outside the bus was a small notice about not feeding the gulls. And besides, I don't want gulls associating Stagecoach buses with food do I? We will have lines of them waiting every time a number 12A turns up in Teignmouth. Some gull could get hurt.
The cats I mention are like the seagulls in that they are always hungrey, the voice in the background is the bus radio and can anyone help me. When I played that clip from file I can hear the sound. When I play it from busdriving or Youtube its silent movie. Anyone any ideas why.
Friday, 4 July 2008
Meanwhile there was an item in the local press, it's fairly long with lots of comments left by readers. Click here if you want to read it and the comments which range between "Thank God" and "Torbay has just missed an opportunity of a life time".
Following on from the missed opportunity, one part of the item is as follows;-
Christian Seiflow-Moran, chairman of Torbay Chamber of Commerce, said before news of the cancellation: "I don't necessarily see 10,000 people coming to Torbay as a bad thing. If it became a yearly event, one that is organised sensibly and securely, then that would be a massive thing for us."
Well Christian, you are chairperson of the Chamber of Commerce, what better person to organise such an event here in Torbay so get organising. You could have a Mid Summer Party organised by next year to rival Stonehenge and I am sure Facebook would be willing to give it a brief mention.
Go on. Put your money where your mouth is. It could be the best thing to happen in Torbay since the Ice Age ended.
Sorry there hasn't been much about bus driving for the last few days but I have been working on a project that looks like it may have been a bit of a waste of time. We'll see.
Wednesday, 2 July 2008
More on the weather for weekend, wet, wet, wet. So the party could be a washout. Mind you, if you read though the comments in the Herald Express it would appear it has turned out to be, a hoax, a different Torbay, cancelled, an anti climax (bit like the eclipse), only 27 people, all policemen, are going to turn up, a military exercise organised by the Pentagon, a publicity stunt by the holiday industry to put Torbay on the map, Basil Fawlty having a last laugh, etc, etc.
Not much on the bus front today except at the end of my shift when I did something daft. When we get back to the depot at the end of the shift we have a piece of paper that comes out of the ticket machine which tells us how much money we owe the company. We place it carefully in the cash counting machine and what ever is left in the cash tray is our float for the next day. Some times I dump this in the cash machine just to check how my float is doing. Once it has been counted I press reject and I get it back together with a piece of paper telling me what my float is worth in pounds and pence Sterling. Well this evening one of the other drivers was telling a little story and while I was listening I neglected to press the REJECT button. The cash machine, after about a minutes inactivity is programed to take the money and will not give it back no matter how hard you kick the sodding thing.
Anybody got any 5, 10, 20 50 pence and pound coins to spare before 11:25 tomorrow morning.
Tuesday, 1 July 2008
01 July 2008
Emergency plans are being drawn up today to cope with a feared invasion of 10,000 beach-party goers on Torbay. Police are even considering an unprecedented ban on the serving of alcohol in all licensed premises in a specific area.Local Licensed Victuallers Association boss Steve Goss hopes the ban won't go ahead but believes the police will make the right decision. Police are having to play a cat-and-mouse game with the unknown party organisers who have so far not identified where the event is being held.The police and council are meeting this afternoon to work out emergency measures if the party goes ahead.The event could have major health and safety implications and land the authorities with a hefty bill.
The rest of the item, which is quite long can be found here.
I'll keep you posted on any developments.