Monthly Archives: December 2008

A sorry tale

Ticket prices are based on fare stages. A fare stage may be a single bus stop or several sequential stops can be in the same fare stage. As the driver moves along the route they should increment the ticket machine each time they enter a new fare stage. When a passenger gets on and asks for a ticket to ‘x’ the driver taps in the fare stage number for ‘x’ and the ticket machine displays the cost from the curent fare stage to the requested fare stage. This works 99% of the time but just occasionally the driver forgets to update the ticket machine as the bus enters a new fare stage and then quotes the passenger for their destnation from a start point behind the bus. Just like I did this morning and charged £1.70 instead of the correct fare which should have been £1.20 I realised my error when the second boarding passenger asked for the same destination, I corrected the machine and asked for the correct fare which was paid. As I turned toward the passengers to ask for the previous passenger to come and see me the ‘young lady’ rushed up the bus shouting that I’d overcharged her and using language which made Gordon Ramsay’s language sound more like Buckingham Palace tea party language! I asked to her to calm down and said I wanted to explain something – I was trying to say “Sorry, I made a mistake with your ticket”. “I want to cancel your ticket and give you another plus refund the overcharge”. But no, she increased the volume even more. To be frank I lost it :-( When she finally ran out of breath I told her that I’d been intending to apologise and to refund her 50p but now I wouldn’t! “If you want your refund I suggest you visit the bus station and ask for it there, don’t forget to tell them why the driver wouldn’t do it”! At this point I was called a f**** c*** w**** just for starters.

I’m not pleased with myself for doing this but just sometimes I find it impossible to let it all wash over me :-(

The real loser in all of this is not the ‘young lady’, not me, but someone I didn’t mention. The ‘young lady’ had what appeared to be a daughter with her. A little girl of about 4 years who just stood by her Mum and heard the uncouth language come out of Mother’s mouth. How will she grow up? Will she learn/think/assume that’s the way to deal with things? I now regret saying what I did for the child’s sake. I wish I’d just handed over the 50p and said nothing whatsoever.

Today

I’ve mentioned before that I now drive what is predominately a rural route – Winchester to Salisbury in a very wobbly line. Today I was flagged down by an elderly lady who was not at a bus stop, this is not in itself unusual because on a route like this you stop where people want rather than where the bus stop pole is planted! However, she didn’t come onto the bus but came round to my driver’s side window, I opened the window and she held out an envelope (looked like a Christmas card). ” Would you please give this to the lady with a shopping trolley who gets on at xxxxx”? “No problem” I said knowing exactly who she meant. A few miles on I came to xxxx and there was the lady with her shopping trolley ready to receive her card! All I need now is receive the paltry sum a bus driver is paid PLUS a postman’s wages, then I should be better off.

The weekend

We’ve just got back from a couple of nights away in our caravan. We stayed at Brokerswood Country Park and were very impressed with it. Infact, it was so nice that before leaving we booked to stay there for Easter!

We bought the caravan earlier this year so this was our first winter trip in it. The caravan is well insulated and with a full heating system we were very comforable in it. The only problem was that we had no water this morning because the water tank outside the caravan had frozen! This is how our world looked we woke up this morning.

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