During and after my speaking engagements my talk entitled "It’s
Only the Passengers That Run Late"
People often ask "How much was working ON THE BUSES like the TV series?"
Varney when asked by the fan club "Why was ON THE BUSES so popular" Reg replied "Because it was true to life"
the time where the bus company were going to employ Women bus drivers and Stan was worried that his overtime would be cut
and he wouldn’t be able to keep up the hire purchase payments. Remember how Stan and Jack planned to get rid of women
bus drivers, altering the road signs for diversions. Then the lady drivers went the wrong way and hopefully would be considered
unsuitable for bus driving. Unlike today, bus workers had to work a lot of overtime to earn a decent wage. (One of the reasons
combined with unsocial hours why there was always a shortage of bus drivers and conductors.) You had to like the job to do
it. Could you imagine Stan and Jack wanting to do any other job?
Anyway back to the story.
Any Ladies reading
this do please do not think I have anything against women bus drivers. In fact I loved them or like Jack, tried to.
had a lady bus driver who was a bag of nerves on the road shouting at motorists and Passengers.
The company received
complaints from passengers and conductors about her rough driving. The company were reluctant to take action due to a shortage
of drivers, it was the peak weeks of summer season plus she had only just qualified and they wanted to give her a fair chance.
one journey a conductor remonstrated with her as he was trying to collect fares, but was getting thrown around on the bus
by her erratic driving. She shouted "I’ve heard the talk in the canteen; you are all against women drivers.
her downfall came one day when she was on duty as a standby driver. Someone phoned in sick at short notice, so she had to
take out a double-decker bus with an open top; it ran on the coastal route between Sandbanks and Christchurch Quay. Never
having driven the route before and only done it once as a clippie she got lost and had to ask the passengers for directions.
As most were holiday makers taking a tour in the open top bus they couldn’t help much. The conductor couldn’t
help as he was a summer student and it was his first day on his own as a conductor. After many false turnings and cul de sacs
she finally reached Christchurch, trying to find the quay she turned into what she thought was a road but was in fact a boat
slipway. Stopping on the slope a few feet from the sea she shouted "Hang on I’ll back up" Let us of first
said one of the passengers. The conductor lead the stampeded to get of the bus followed by all the passengers, then followed
by the lady driver who had second thoughts about what she was attempting and thought it to risky. She then had to phone the
Inspector and get the bus company to send out the breakdown lorry to pull the bus back up the slipway before the tide turned
and water would rise up the slipway.
After this incident the company had no choice but to return her to clippie duties
with the view to retraining her at the end of the holiday season.
On her first day back she ended up on duty as a clippie
with me driving the bus.
"I had no chance" she said "They were all against me. In the canteen this morning
they were saying have you got that sinking feeling and a good driver would have gone down with the s hip."
mind" I said trying to consol her let’s have a good day together" So of we went on our route.
leaving West Bourne I reached Bournemouth Square a distance of four miles. A passenger got of the bus and said" Who’s
collecting the fares?" "Give it to my conductor" I replied. "You haven’t got a conductor mate"
"Probably upstairs" was my answer. "I was sat upstairs there ‘ain’t no conductor on your bus"
Turns out she had got of the bus at West Bourne to buy a paper from the newsagents and I had driven of and left her. Had I
gone without the DING DING" or perhaps the DING DING came from a passenger pressing the bell deciding he had been on
a bus with her before and wanted to get his own back after finding him self disembarking at slipway on a previous bus journey.
"IT’S A GREAT LIFE ON THE BUSES"
There is a happy ending to the story, at least for the bus crews
She meet a driver got married to him and they had two children.
HOW ABOUT THIS.These are
slips bus drivers filled in to report faults on the buses they were driving. Then it shows the replies the mechanics
gave after examining the bus.