Monthly Archives: February 2008

Inflation Zimbabwe style

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5 weeks ago I wrote that this happy Zimbabwean was holding six 10 million Zimbabwe dollar notes. That was on the day the exchange rate hit 10 million Zimbabwe dollors to �1 so each note was worth �1. Now, just 5 weeks later, the exchange rate is 40 million Zimbabwe dollars to �1. Now he’s holding 25p notes!

I’ll try and do a monthly update on the value of this chaps money.

P.S. Just after posting this a new rate was announced …… 53 milliom to �1. So those notes are now worth less than 20 pence each!

A couple of new blogs

I’ve just come across a couple of interesting blogs which I’ve added to the ‘Blogs I Read’ list on the left. The first is To the Regiment – I wish I was there which seems an odd name. It’s also got some other odd, perhaps idiosyncratic would be a better word, ideas. For example ” ……. this blog is not listed on Blogger; nor was the box ticked allowing search engines to “lurk”". “Should anyone come across it in addition to those who know of its existence and its author then they are welcome to read it”. And, on the subject of comments “Some people’s ideas of blogging is to allow anything, leave yourself open to comments, commendations, criticism; mine is not”. The author is a coach driver on what appears to be scheduled services, but he manages very successfully to hide both the company for which he drives and even the area in which he drives. For example he only ever refers to ‘motorway’ and not the M4, M5 etc. Places are never named it’s always ‘city’ with a lower case ‘c’. He may, or may not, be your cup of tea :-)

The second blog is only a month old and I hope the author keeps it going. It’s I am the Passenger. She/He started the blog after coming across bus driver blogs and wrote “Some of them have interesting stories about interactions with passengers, so I thought that maybe it should be the passengers’ turn. I have no idea how regularly I will keep this up, or whether it will be interesting, but we will see”.

Yet again

Today I drove the Winchester to Birmingham and return Megabus. The return departure from Birmingham is at 15:10 and with monotonous regularity there is someone at the stop asking about the “two thirty five bus” to Glasgow. I then ask to see their ticket and explain that the 02:35 time on the tickets means that the bus went 12 hours before they thought it should! They’ve arrived for a non-existent 14:35 departure. I’ve written about this before, once when the passenger was foreign and didn’t seem to be able to grasp the problem. Other passengers who do understand what’s happened when it’s explained are usually, and quite naturally, fed up but are at least philosophical about it. Today’s passenger wanted compensation for the bus leaving early! I asked him why he thought Megabus should pay him compensation when he turned up 12 hours late for his bus and he complained that “no one told me it was in the morning and not the afternoon”. He agreed the ticket showed the time as 02:35 and understood the 24 hour clock but felt that Megabus should put the word ‘morning’ or ‘afternoon’ after the 24 hour time format. I just smiled and told him to ask Customer Service for any compensation he thought he deserved.

When I got to Oxford I knew that one of the passengers who’d boarded in Birmingham was ticketed for Oxford. As I pulled up at the stop I announced “this is Oxford” and opened the door …… silence, no one moved. I announced again “this is the only Oxford stop” and still no one stirred. I checked my ticket list and then announced “the passenger with ticket number ‘x-abcd’ has a ticket for Birmingham to Oxford so this is their stop. Finally a young woman said “I think that’s me” and got off. Odd.

Impatient passengers

Today, at Winchester, I took over the Megabus from Bournemouth to drive to London. At Winchester those passengers from Bournemouth and Ringwood who are travelling to Birmingham transfer to the Megabus from Portsmouth which continues to Birmingham. And Portsmouth/Southampton passengers for London from that bus transfer to the Bournemouth bus for London. So it’s a bit of a busy swap around at Winchester.

As soon as I was onboard at Winchester one guy, from the Portsmouth bus, tried immediately to get on and I asked him to wait while people tried to get off. I also tried to get off the bus to open the lockers for bag storage but he was so close to the door I couldn’t get off! I asked him to please stand back while people get off, he moved about 6 inches backwards :-(

Next I called out to everyone there “May I have those passengers starting from Winchester, please” (it’s much easier to check their tickets first and then board the transferring passengers), I was expecting 12 passengers in this category. Nine boarded and then the guy who couldn’t wait to get on appeared in front of me “I’m boarding the Winchester passengers at the moment” I said. ” I think they’re all on” was his response. I called out asking if there was anyone else starting from Winchester and the three people after him called out! I asked him again to please get off the bus whilst I loaded the Winchester passengers.

What is it with these people who can’t wait 3 minutes to climb aboard?

Ooops, missed my birthday!

I’ve just realised that I’ve missed my 1st birthday as a blogger by 12 days. Here is that first posting on 7 February 2007.

We have a little ritual when I come home from work. The first thing my wife will ask when I come in after a day driving for Megabus is “How was your day?” to which I’ll reply “Just another day on the buses”. It’s not very amusing but like all rituals it comforts and reassures. Today is a rest day for me, so what better way to spend it than setting up a Megabus driver’s blog! I did a google on “bus driver”+blog and interestingly found a fellow Stagecoach driver who’s blog is now in its 3rd year http://www.busdriving.blogspot.com is a great read.

How long will this blog last? Will my enthusiasm wane first, or will I not have a job with Megabus in a couple of weeks? I drive the South Coast routes covering Bournemouth, Ringwood, Southampton, Portsmouth, Winchester, London and Brighton. A couple of weeks ago passengers were unable to book any trip after 25 February on these routes. In true Stagecoach style no one is told what’s going to happen and it’s even said that the company haven’t yet decided what to do. I can’t believe that someone could think it would be a good idea to stop taking money (bookings) without knowing what they would do next. But maybe I must believe they don’t know what to do because suddenly you can now make bookings for a few days after 25 February! I don’t know who’s more confused, the potential passengers or the drivers.

Tomorrow I’m due to drive Bournemouth (09:30) – London (12:20) and the return London (16:10) – Bournemouth (19:00). Heavy snow in the South East causing major travel disruption is forecast.

Holiday pics

I’ve just uploaded the pictures of our recent holiday in La Palma, Canary Islands. They are here.