Hold Tight! - Decisions
Chapter 7
Page 59
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Hold Tight!
Chapter 7
City Transport
57 A different world
58 Portswood
59 Decisions
60 Home and away
61 Shirley routes
62 Football
63 Emergencies
64 Centenary
65 Driving school
66 End of the road
1 Beginnings
2 Learning
3 Getting Away
4 Winchester
5 Freedom
6 Southampton
7 City Transport
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Southampton 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.
Thursday 4 December 1980, part of duty number 39 from 1528 to 1900, paying 4h15' at 1½ times. We were paid by the quarter hour, so the odd two minutes were lost.
About the only time you wanted to see an inspector was when he was bringing you an overtime slip. This one gave me half of duty number 39 after my own early turn on the 4th of December 1980.
Four and a quarter hours at time and a half was worth doing and I would still have most of the evening free. Our hours were always rounded to the nearest quarter hour.
Another backwards step is seen here, the Corporation still used the 12 hour clock.


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