City Transport was something of a culture
shock. On Hants & Dorset we had always
made decisions ourselves and the conductor
was in charge. Crews on the Corporation (as
it was still known) were used to asking inspectors
what they should do and conductors simply
collected fares. The problem was that nobody
was willing to make any decision except carry
on as you are.
|One morning I came up from
the docks on a number 14 to Townhill. We had
only picked up a few passengers which was
strange for the time of day. When we arrived
in Vincents Walk I heard a passenger on the
number 12 stop say "Not another 14!".
There were a number of people waiting there
but nobody on our stop. It turned out that
there were two buses immediately in front
of us. I suggested to the driver that we run
as a 12 instead. Both services went to the
same place but by different routes. The driver
eventually agreed on condition that I took
the blame if there was any problem.
|When I got back to the
depot I reported what I had done and was told
that if I thought that was the right thing
to do then fine. The fact was that H&D
crews had been welcomed by the Transport Department
precisely because we didn't need to ask first.
|Of course not every inspector
or old-time SCT driver grasped this change.
On a Sunday evening I was running twenty five
minutes late on a 15 with a thirty minute
frequency. I wanted to wait for the bus behind,
put our passengers on that bus and run empty
to pick up our next journey. My driver would
not do this without consulting the office.
The inspector said no, that would inconvenience
our passengers. We were to continue into the
city centre and then cancel the next trip
(a 12 to Bullar Road and back), leaving those
passengers without any bus at all.