Monthly Archives: February 2007

A blustery day

A pretty uneventful day! The duty was M3 in which I travel as passenger from Winchester (07:40) to London and then take over as driver for the 10:00 to Brighton. The trip to London is sheduled for an 09:40 arrival but rarely makes it before 10:00. Today we arrived on time so I was able to grab a coffee before departing for Brighton. Nobody wanted the University of Sussex stop at Falmer so I was able to take the direct route into Brighton arriving 20 minutes early! Went for a bracing walk along the shore before buying one of the pork pies I mentioned in an earlier posting which I then ate on the bus. Here’s how Brighton beach looked today.

image

Luggage policy

This is the Megabus luggage policy taken from the website where you book tickets:

“Passengers are advised that megabus.com will accept up to one piece of luggage per passenger. For guidance this should be no more than the size of a standard suitcase. Passengers can also take on board one piece of hand luggage up to the size of a small to medium sized hold-all.”

When I arrived in Victoria a few minutes ago a passenger trying to board another bus was having a problem with this policy. She had three cases the largest of which (borrowing the words from ‘National Express’ by Divine Comedy) was the size of a small country! At first she denied any knowledge of the luggage limits, then she got cross and finally, since neither of these approaches had worked, she pleaded. Apparently she was moving house. She didn’t get on the bus.

I only observed from a distance so don’t what the bus loadings were. If I’m put in a similar situation with a lightly loaded bus and, most importantly, the passenger is polite and doesn’t demand that I carry it all then I usually take the stuff. As I see it some ‘rules’ should have a little flexibility in them. The one rule I’m rigid on is when someone turns up a month early for the bus – come back in 4 weeks time! It happened twice yesterday and once so far today. Why I wont carry these people is because by booking so far ahead they are getting the Megabus headline price of £1 plus 50p booking fee, whereas if they booked the real day they wanted to travel it may have cost around £10.00 “It was a mistake, can I still travel?” answer “No”. Have a look at the bookings website http://www.megabus.com and see how difficult it is to book a month ahead. Perhaps difficult is the wrong word, you just have to scroll through a whole month, day by day, to get there. I can’t see how you can do that by anything other than design!

Aaaargh!

My passenger carrying day started at Bournemouth Uni. with an 06:30 departure for Winchester where another driver takes over for the remainder of the trip to London. I left the Uni. dead on 06:30 and then went to Bournemouth Triangle and picked up a couple more passengers, left dead on 06:40 as per the timetable. Then it’s out of Bournemouth, next stop Ringwood, via the Wessex Way which is a 50mph urban dual carriageway with no stopping. Just got onto this and a taxi drew level with me tooting its horn, pieces of paper were being waved out of a window. Of course I couldn’t read the print at 50 mph in the dark but I think they were trying to let me know they had a Megabus ticket! I made a gesture with my arm to try and signal ‘no way’. Then the taxi pulled in front and put its hazard lights on trying to block the dual carriageway, can you believe it? I simply went round it and carried on. They got the message then and followed me to Ringwood where they got on at a regular stop – a £30 taxi fare the poorer.

It doesn’t give me a laugh to do this, it’s not fun. Why do peole think they should be able to stop the bus after it’s left the stop? 99% of the time they are at a point where you couldn’t stop even if you wanted to, traffic lights, roundabouts, a dual carriageway like today etc. If you were to stop you need somewhere safe because you have get off the bus, open the hold and stow their luggage before getting back on and then checking tickets. It’s unfair to all the other passengers who arrived on time and now would have unneccessay minutes added to their journey time.

Type training cont’d

Just found this http://buspics.photos.gb.net/c1213191.html I don’t know Chris King but he’s in ‘my depot’ type training on the new Paxton Panther I wrote about yesterday. Shame he didn’t photograph the seat rearrangement necessary to accomodate the wheelchair.

Update 20 Feb 2007.

I’d missed the fact that there is more than 1 page of thumbnails! There are some good pictures of the seats being rearranged on the second page.

Rest Day

Stagecoach list it on the rota as ‘rest’ – if only! I’ve been wallpapering all day in a frantic effort to complete the job I told my wife would be done while she visited her family. Essy is Zimbabwean and her family are all in Zimbabwe, for the past two weeks she’s been enjoying a Southern Hemisphere summer and all the pleasure of being with family. However, life is getting more difficult every day in Zimbabwe with inflation currently at 1,600%. Yes, one thousand six hundred percent per annum! Have a read of Cathy Buckle’s letters (she lives in the same area as my wife comes form) at http://africantears.netfirms.com/index.shtml and you will get some idea of how bad things are there. I especially suggest her letter of 20 January 2007. Also Eddie Cross’s blog, also listed under blogs I read, tells a similar story. This time I made an excuse not to go with my wife because I really couldn’t face a ‘holiday’ in such circumstances. Where things are going and how it will end I’m afaid to even think about.

Whilst doing the wallpapering I heard a commotion from my chickens at the bottom of the garden. Went outside to see what the fuss was about and found that those in the chicken run were either trying to grass on the one who had escaped, or saying that they wanted out too! Spent 10 minutes chasing a very fit chicken around the garden, gave up and went back to wallpapering. Returned to the garden later and found that the escapee had broken back into the run! Is that a very intelligent, or a very stupid chicken?