Hold Tight! - You with me?
 
Chapter 2
 
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Hold Tight!
Chapter 2
Learning
7 First day
8 Getting started
9 On my own
10 You with me?
11 Perks of the job
12 Winchester fleet
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Chapters
1 Beginnings
2 Learning
3 Getting Away
4 Winchester
5 Freedom
6 Southampton
7 City Transport
 
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There were 26 crews at Winchester. There were also a few drivers who worked the driver only services, a handful of inspectors and the depot superintendent who I would get to see when I got reported. A couple of people ran the office, checking our takings and paying out wages among other things. In the garage there was a foreman and his team including the cleaners. One of these, an old guy who lived out in the country with no electricity or running water, used to carry a dirty rag everywhere. With this he would clean your windscreen, wipe oil from his hands and imaginary dust from his mid-morning roll.

The foreman would never believe you if you reported a problem with a vehicle. He sent me out on the road once with a bus that had a leaking radiator. The engine overheated and eventually packed up. Another time a driver complained about his brakes. To demonstrate that there was nothing wrong with the bus, the foreman drove it from the garage into the bus station and applied the brakes. The bus continued out of the bus station and across the road. Luckily the only casualties were a group of drivers and conductors who suffered aching sides.
The crew rota consisted of duty numbers 1 to 26 and two columns of names, one for the drivers and the other for the conductors. Odd numbers were early turns, even numbers were lates. Drivers worked their way up the rota one week at a time while conductors worked down. This meant a different combination of drivers and conductors each week but every six months you worked the same duty with the same driver as before. A crew would therefore work together on the same journeys every day for a whole week except for the day off which varied from duty to duty.
Saturdays sometimes meant a variation, Sundays and Bank Holidays always did. The days off, we worked a six day week, were covered by what were called 'relief weeks', one early week and one late having a different duty each day. This did not include Sunday as there were fewer crews working on that day. It was easy to check the rota to see what you would be doing on any day or week in the future.
Some of the drivers were not keen on discovering they had a new conductor with them while others were very helpful. The Monday ritual was finding out who I had this week and trying to guess which type they were. Most were good. The few who resented having someone new on the back would ignore you all day and throw you around the bus at every opportunity.
A four-crew rota would work like this :-
Week 1
Driver Conductor Duty Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
A Black E Silver 1 1 1 Off 1 1 1 1
B Brown F Pink 2 Off 2 2 2 2 2 2
C Gray G White 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 Off
D Green H Gold 4 Off 4 4 4 4 4 4
Week 2
Driver Conductor Duty Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
B Brown H Gold 1 1 1 Off 1 1 1 1
C Gray E Silver 2 Off 2 2 2 2 2 2
D Green F Pink 3 3 Off 3 3 3 3 3
A Black G White 4 Off 4 4 4 4 4 4
Week 3
Driver Conductor Duty Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
C Gray G White 1 1 1 Off 1 1 1 1
D Green H Gold 2 Off 2 2 2 2 2 2
A Black E Silver 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 Off
B Brown F Pink 4 Off 4 4 4 4 4 4
Week 4
Driver Conductor Duty Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
D Green F Pink 1 1 1 Off 1 1 1 1
A Black G White 2 Off 2 2 2 2 2 2
B Brown H Gold 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 Off
C Gray E Silver 4 Off 4 4 4 4 4 4
Week 5 (same as week 1)
Driver Conductor Duty Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
A Black E Silver 1 1 1 Off 1 1 1 1
B Brown F Pink 2 Off 2 2 2 2 2 2
C Gray G White 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 Off
D Green H Gold 4 Off 4 4 4 4 4 4
Odd numbers were early turns, even numbers were lates.
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