of the results of doing the same duty for
a week was that many of the people you picked
up on the Monday would be your passengers
every day that week.
routes out of Winchester bus station operated
via North Walls. Each afternoon a group of
school kids caught the bus home to Chandlers
Ford from here. On the Monday one of these
sat at the front of the bus seemingly without
a care in the world. But as soon as I reached
him his nature changed and he said he had
lost his bus fare. Throughout the week, same
journey, same child, different story. His
money had been stolen, dropped and forgotten.
On the Thursday I happened to look back as
we pulled away from the stop where he got
off and saw him go up to a woman, presumably
his mother, and walk away.
afternoon and he had no money for his fare.
As we approached the bus stop I could see
the woman standing a short distance away.
I called to her and before I could explain
what had happened she said "Oh no, he
hasn't lost his bus fare again has he? How
much do you want?". I asked for and to
my surprise got the whole week's money!
people would go to enormous lengths to avoid
paying the whole fare, asking for one stop
then getting off at another or looking out
of the window hoping you would miss them.
Many of these people were quite capable of
paying and would complain if anyone stole
from them. Like the woman who lived in an
expensive house at Hiltingbury and claimed
I must have pocketed a halfpenny when I showed
her she had only given me seven halfpennies
for her fourpenny fare. Bus conductors were
somehow fare game and even wealthy people
were prepared to steal from them.
tricks regularly employed to take money directly
from the conductor included paying with a
two shilling piece and claiming it had been
a half-crown or with a ten shilling note and
claiming it was a pound. The way to deal with
these people was to keep the money in your
other hand while counting the change to them
otherwise you would have to make up for the
when challenged people would say something
like "the bus company can afford it".
They simply didn't understand that we had
to make up the difference, the company never
stood any loss.
|Having said all
that, we operated a more liberal policy when it
came to other bus crews and their families. Before
the days of free travel we were reluctant to take
money from each other. Whatever the reason, if an
inspector got on and you had a passenger without
a valid ticket you got booked, so you had to be
on your toes.
| But sometimes any
number of inspectors could miss something right
under their noses .....