Bus Station Woes.

 

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I’ve blogged about our bus station in the past.  It’s not all that old and is supposed to be a shining example of bus station design, with its unusual ‘big dipper’ shaped roof. It’s certainly something you can’t ignore if you happened to be driving past our little town on your way to Halifax. We passengers who have to use it have been less impressed. When it was first completed there simply weren’t enough seats. They provided just four seats to every stand, with the result that waiting for your bus became almost a scrum to the death if you needed to sit down for any reason. Many of the younger passengers had to resort to sitting on the low windowsills which wasn’t ideal or comfortable, not that the provided seats were any more so. You have to be near fainting with the cold or heat, or loaded up with a huge amount of shopping before resorting to actually sitting down on one of the seats. After some vigorous complaints from those hardy passengers with bottoms like steel who can endure sitting down, our seat tally has since been doubled and we have been generously provided with eight to every stand.

I have concluded long ago that whoever designs bus stations never actually use them themselves. The seats are made of metal and are not shaped for comfortable sitting, so they are freezing in winter and akin to sitting down in molten lava in summer. The ambient temperature of the bus station itself is not helped by the fact that it consists of windows from ceiling height to nearly floor level, none of which are double glazed.  In winter you daren’t sit down for more than a few moments for fear of freezing to one of the seats, you have to keep walking up and down the long concourse just to keep yourself moving.  In summer, someone could make a roaring trade growing tomatoes seeing as the station so resembles a huge green house. As I sat baking yesterday waiting for my bus, it was 72% outside the bus station and roughly 90% inside. I had to keep my eye on my sandwich which was in my bag in case it began to toast.

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In order to avoid the pitfalls of our bus station, we local passengers have, over the length of time that we have had to use it, learned to try and time our entrance to just before our bus is due to arrive to avoid freezing to death or being cooked.  And mentioning time brings me to the latest saga which has been taking place for at least the last few months with little sign of anyone from Metro bothering to put it right. Our bus timetable displays are constantly wrong. Not only wrong, but to confuse the unwary passenger, they contradict each other. We have two types of information displays in the bus station, the two largest one’s are hung from the ceiling, one at either end of the station, and the other smaller displays are sited just above each stand door, and only show the arrival and departure times for that particular stand.  In order to try and send every passenger who uses the bus station stark raving bonkers, the large displays tell an entirely different time to the one’s above your stand and neither are correct.

You enter the bus station, firstly gazing hopefully at one of the larger timetable displays with the vain hope that someone from Metro has paid the station a visit since your last attempt to catch a bus in order to fix the wrong displays.  The large stand might state that your bus is due in 20 minutes from stand D.  You make your way down to stand D and look up at the timetable display above your stand only to note to your horror that your bus is due in 10 minutes.  Either that, or its not even up there. Which one is correct?  Have you time to dash off to the shops for that item you’ve just remembered or not? It must be a worse situation for anyone who hasn’t used our bus station before and is not aware that Metro are on a ‘drive every passenger in Brighouse insane’ campaign.  They must think they are hallucinating and probably if they have any sense, will find another route to get from A to B that doesn’t necessitate using our confusing bus station at all.  Meanwhile the rest of us who have little choice but to endure every trick in the book that Metro can devise to thwart our journeys, are beginning to compensate for the wrong times stated by the displays, by simply ignoring them completely.  We arrive at the bus station looking as carefree as possible ( for the cameras and to annoy Metro) and make our way to our stands with the vain hope that we have managed to time it right.

They won’t get us down or turn us into gibbering idiots with all this confusion, no matter how hard they try!

Technogran

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Ticket to Ride.

 

New ticket machine

Well over a year ago, our local buses began introducing new ticket machines. As with anything new, it all began rather badly. The bus drivers didn’t seem to have a clue, we passengers were just as clueless and for quite a while, it tended to be a case of ‘get on the bus’, listen to the driver state We don’t have any tickets!” as you vainly flashed your bus pass in his general direction.  I couldn’t quite make out what you were supposed to do with these new fangled ticket machines, and if they didn’t have any tickets, hadn’t installing them on every bus been rather a waste of time?

Kerri in the meantime seemed to have picked up the idea behind them straight away, as she held her pass directly in front of the small window, albeit with no response from the machine for her efforts.  All I kept thinking to myself as we journeyed along ticketless was, what if an inspector boarded before realising that I hadn’t actually seen an inspector get on a bus for years.

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Slowly over time, the new ticket machines have begun to work as they should. At least I think that they began to work as they should. Firstly, tickets were actually being given in response to you flashing your pass in front of them as you boarded. However, I was bitterly disappointed when at last I was handed one of the new tickets. They are simply a thin squarish waxed piece of paper, with little to commend them.  Boring was my initial thought. As a passenger, there’s very little you can do with them once they are in your hand. Compared to their rather colourful predecessors, they are rubbish. How many hours have I happily whiled away my time during my bus journey, absent mindedly rolling those wonderful tickets up into a tight roll between thumb and forefinger in one direction, and then reversing the whole procedure? Or forming them into a smiley or talking mouth for the amusement of my children when they were younger? I can’t possibly do any of that with the new boring bus tickets.

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Not that your actually given one every time you board a bus. It’s often the way that you ‘scan’ your pass, only to receive a curt nod from the driver (and a green light from the new ticket machine, that is if its working of course) to indicate that your allowed to continue up the aisle and sit down. Ticketless of course.  So, its still all rather confusing, sometimes a ticket is handed over, other times not. Sometimes your pass causes some response from the machine, sometimes not.  How are they supposed to work?

There has been no information provided about their usage whatsoever for passengers, we’re all obviously supposed to be mind readers or Einstein’s, and immediately know exactly what to do.  Some drivers have vainly tried to help of course in their own way, though I suspect that most of them haven’t a clue either.

“ Place your pass in front of the machine (or on top as it seems as if, depending on which bus company you board, these new ticket machines are all very different to each other in layout, just to confuse you even further) and it will register it.”

Ahh!  Register it!  Now the penny begins to drop! Sifting out types of users! Paying and none paying!  Pass and none pass!  Will it eventually come to pass (pun intended) where we pass holders are only allowed on certain buses at certain times because we don’t add to the bus company’s profits? Will we be relegated to old rusty buses that crawl along at a snails pace to cut costs? Will we be banned from peak time buses, relegated to (what will probably become known as) The Oldies Bus? I know this, there’s always a reason why new gadgets such as these new ticket machines are introduced, and I have that horrible gut feeling that for us pass waving passengers, none of it is good news. We may even arrive at a time when trying to board vainly waving our passes at the driver, all we hear are those well known words uttered by another senior in a land far away….

“You shall not Pass!”

Technogran Sad smile

In search of a cossie.

I’ve been out this morning in search of a new swimming costume. My old one is far too big for me now, and I am determined to go swimming during this years holiday. If you remember last years holiday, the one where we endured a week in a mobile home that was shaking in gale force winds and driving rain,  I had to sit at the side of the pool jealously watching Kerri swimming back and forth in an enticing looking pool that she enjoyed all by herself. (every other camper had obviously been blown away in the gale force winds.)

K has a swim alone

I had to forgo my daily swim because I was on chemo at the time and also giving myself those Clexane injections into my tummy. This time I plan to make up for last years omission and enjoy a swim every morning as soon as the camp pool is open!  I finally chose a cossie with ‘stomach control’ (whatever that means) and of course I’ve had to purchase one for you know who as well despite the fact that her old costume is perfectly presentable and still fits her perfectly. Can’t have anything on my own, can I?

On the journey home and as is usual with the buses that run our particular route, the heat was issuing forth from the heaters but thankfully other passengers had taken the trouble to open all the windows (well, the few that were available to open that is) so we were all spared the humiliation of melting. I did consider being controversial and marching up the aisle to ask the driver if he would break with tradition and turn the heating off, you know, kid himself along that it was still winter, but then I decided that as he looked to be quite a burly surly sort of chap (hand picked for our route obviously) I decided that it was probably wiser to suffer and sweat it out.

I did become concerned though that maybe I didn’t smell too nice when the man who was forced to sit next to me as there was no more room anywhere else, proceeded to sit as far away from me as he possibly could without actually falling off the seat into the aisle, and then later to add insult to injury, as soon as a seat became vacant he dashed to it as if the hounds of hell were after him.  Not only that, but the lady and her husband who were occupying the seats directly in front of me also moved further down the bus as soon as the opportunity presented itself. Hmm. Perhaps I should get into the habit of carting my deodorant around with me on my bus journeys in future!

I did note as I alighted from the bus that the driver was keeping nice and cool in his shirt with sleeves rolled up as far as his bulging biceps would allow.

“Thank you!’ I said as I stepped off the bus, still silently tempted to add ‘and can you turn the heating off please, or will you risk getting the sack?’ but I resisted temptation.  As is usual with all our drivers who are unlucky enough to be allocated our route, he didn’t reply. Not even a grunt. I might have spied a bit of a smirk though.

TG

Trials and Tribulations of Health and Safety

We had to go out yesterday via our usual mode of transport namely a bus. The following post is all about our return journey but before you read it, it might be a good idea to point you to a previous post concerning the rules issued to all drivers who are unfortunate enough to have to work on our particular bus route because it will go some way to explaining the extraordinary events that enfolded during our fateful journey.  Unfortunately for my two readers,  this post will not be liberally illustrated with photos/pictures etc, as I did not have my camera with me to capture the occasion,  so you will just have to use your imagination.

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The Early Birds…

Yoga for health

On Friday, K had to be escorted down to the Adult Education Centre to begin her new course in Yoga. Yoga!  As if she’s not laid back and relaxed enough! It really ought to be me beginning Yoga class seeing as I am the uptight one out of this duo!  As it turned out, I very nearly needed more than Yoga, I nearly needed some smelling salts to help my recovery from shock!  The reason?  We had to use the bus before 9.30am and therefore we had to pay some bus fare.

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A Quest for some bath mats.

Only title I could come up with and highly deceptive seeing as we haven’t got a bath. Remember last week folks when I was bored and fed up with nothing to do and moaning and groaning all week about it? All that is now over, I’m now back to being dragged out of doors on any pretext, come rain or come shine, whether ill or well.

Despite the black looking clouds and the fact that from dawn this morning until ten or thereabouts it had poured down none stop, I decided to throw caution to the wind and wear my summer sandals for my enforced outing today.

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Musings about our bus service.

As K and I sat on the bus yesterday slowly roasting thanks to the warm summer sunshine outside and the heat radiating from the bus heaters belting out around our feet, I began to imagine in my mind a set of rules presented to all the drivers on our particular route by the management and it went something like this;

Inside our sweltering bus

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