This was the sight that greeted me on my arrival at the office yesterday:
The traditional poster attached to the office door announcing a significant birthday or, as in this case, the retirement of a member of staff. Those of you who use public transport may recognise the phrase "Sorry, not in service" having seen it on the front of those empty buses that drive maddeningly past you whilst you wait at the stop! So, after 34 years in local government public transport and about 5 before that in the bus industry itself I have switched off my PC and am about to float off into the sunset!
It all feels a bit strange, although after only one day I just feel as if its the start of a long weekend. I'm glad I chose public transport as a career, but I'm also glad I'm getting out now. Effective public transport requires a significant input of cash to keep it viable and it's pretty obvious that that's not going to be forthcoming in future. Ironically, despite all this time organising buses and spending the last two years implementing the government's national bus pass scheme locally, involving overseeing the production and issue of 33,000 bus passes, changes to the eligibility rules mean that I don't qualify for one on my 60th birthday, but will have to wait until next May! I just hope that there will still be some buses running to use it on.
Anyway, I got an excellent send-off and I was pleased to see that most of the people I have been working with, including my boss and our Director, were happy to totally disregard the organisation's ban on lunchtime alcohol to celebrate at "The Britannia" a back-street pub near the office, recently acquired and much improved by the excellent Wye Valley Brewery.
I don't intend to move aboard Starcross and become a continuous cruiser, but I will certainly be spending a lot more time on the cut in the years to come.