Monthly Archives: August 2010

I’m getting a message

And the message is that people are far more interested in breastfeeding than the life of a bus driver. Analysis of the last 7 days search terms used to reach this blog show that ‘breastfeeding’ was the biggest single search term by a country mile – three times more searches on the single word ‘breastfeeding’ than all the search terms including ‘bus’ in them added together!

Perhaps it would be a good idea to change ‘Buses in the News’ to ‘Breastfeeding in the News’? :-)

Customer complaints

I came a across this website having seen it referenced in a comment to a posting on Omnibuses2.0 The site is basically about the old Manvers Street bus station in Bath which was demolished in July 2007. The page I’ve linked to is about customer complaints and it’s a gem. I instantly recognised one our Winchester drivers! I had no idea he’d worked for FirstBus but he must have, in my mind I can picture him doing this. Here’s the complaint.

The newest passenger to avoid

Lauren McKenna, 22, of Manchester.

Just 6 months after Amy Wootten of Bristol was proven to have lied about being thrown off a bus for breastfeeding her six-week-old baby we have Lauren McKenna making the same claim and also being proved a liar. About the only difference between the two stories is that the first involved FirstBus and the latest was an attempt to get a Stagecoach driver dismissed.

Here’s some video of Lauren McKenna making her false claim.

Be careful what you wish for …….

…… you may receive it. And we did on 16 May 2010; the day we started using the new ERG Ticket Systems TP5000 ticket machines. A week after their introduction I posted my first impressions adding that I’d “update my opinions having used the machine for longer”.

It’s now 3 months later so this is my updated opinion which isn’t very different to my first impressions. I’ve still not been able to discover much to enthuse over apart from the immediate impression I had that “Finding adult day tickets of the numerous types, child tickets, family tickets, week tickets etc. is now much easier”. The overwhelming problem, for me, is the number of key presses required to issue a ticket. There are several steps required to issue a ticket, the first is to ensure that the ticket machine is already set to your current location, I’ve not included any key presses to set that since the machine should already be correctly set. As I drove our Winchester to Guildford route today I counted the the presses required to issue either a single or return ticket from Winchester to Guildford. It’s 7 using the new machine compared with 3 using the older Wayfarer. If the next passenger to board also wants a ticket for the same journey it’s 2 key presses for the new machine against 1 for the Wayfarer. The next passenger then wants only to travel to Alton (half way to Guildford) which is 5 key presses which used to be 4. If the next passenger wants Guildford again it’s 7 key presses again. Because each route has a varying number of stops the key presses required to issue a ticket using the ERG TP5000 compared with key presses to issue the same ticket using the Wayfarer is not constant. However, I think it’s fair to say that the new machines require about double the number of key presses to issue a single or return ticket when compared with the older machines.

Have a careful look at each key board.

Don’t the Wayfarer buttons look more ‘business like’ and easier to hit? Very, very importantly it’s got a proper numeric keypad, compare that with the TP5000 where numeric input is via the two wavy vertical columns, 1 – 5 vertically down the wavy left column and 6 -0 vertically down the wavy right column! Every keypad I use – telephone, calculator, computer keyboard. chip and pin machine, cash dispenser etc has a regular numeric keypad like the Wayfarer. It’s very difficult and odd to input numeric data using the TP5000′s dual function wavy vertical columns. The other obvious difference just looking at the photos is the neat, nice, solid looking squareness of the Wayfarer buttons compared to the varying sizes and shapes on the TP5000.

The second worst feature of the ERG machines is the display in which numbers/characters are formed from pixels. The background is light grey and the illuminated pixels dark grey. Dark grey print on a light grey background doesn’t give the greatest clarity, especially in bright light. The old machines used an LCD display in which sectors were activated to display a number, these sectors were solid black against a very light background. Much better.

I could write a lot more but it’s too late now. We wished for new machines and received them!

The holiday

Back now from our holiday on the Isle of Wight. The laptop did have internet access using my mobile ‘phone for the connection but I forgot the (different) USB lead to connect the laptop and camera! Which is why I didn’t do a posting from the island because I wanted to include a picture or two. Here’s the first picture, Bembridge Beach, taken about 11:00 am, temperature around 21C yet hardly a soul in sight – this is why I love the Isle of Wight.

Busier, but with superb soft sand is the eastern end of Ryde beach where there’s even a free car park!

Here’s something bus related.

We went to the Garlic Festival on Saturday. It may be called a garlic festival but it’s more like a county show with lots of varied exhibitions, displays and stands. This is the back end of a bus being used to sign a petition against the IoW parliamentary constituency being split up! Here’s a video of Titan the robot who we all thought was brilliant.

Some of the arena entertainment was a bit amateurish but somehow that made it all the more entertaining, it gave the festival a ‘homely’ feel.

On Monday we went to the Ventnor Botanic Garden which is somewhere I wanted to go but didn’t expect the kids to enjoy much. Got that one wrong! They thoroughly enjoyed it. I only took one photo! Here it is, a leaf!

We also had a day out at Osborne House which the kids didn’t enjoy that much.

There is one other place worth a mention, The Four Seasons Inn at Wroxall. We’d yet to find a pub during our last 3 holidays on the island where the food was anything other than bought in and reheated mass catering food. Regardless of what they may advertise, in general, pub food on the island isn’t good. But this time we came across The Four Seasons! A real pub atmosphere, a greeting the moment you walked in the door and decent food which really was made and cooked on the premises. Reasonable prices too.

And this was home for the 8 days.

Off on holiday

It’s that time again :-) As per last year we’re off to the Isle of Wight tomorrow at some ungodly hour – it’s the only way to get a half reasonable price to cross the most expensive piece of water (£ per mile) in the world. The caravan is packed and attached to the car so there’s no need to hitch up in the dark. I managed to set up my mobile ‘phone as a modem to my daughter’s laptop and at home all seems to work well. If it’s the same in a field on the Isle of Wight there may be a progress report on the week.