Thursday, 6 September 2012

Burton Market . . .and a Breakdown

Thursday is market day in Burton and so shortly after 9.30 (when bus pass holders are allowed out) I was on the bus down into town. There are two sides to the market: an indoor market in a typical Victorian market hall and an open market in the square outside.
Burton Market
Unlike many markets these days these two between them perform a very useful function. There were fruit-and-veg stalls, butchers, bakers, a cheese stall and two fishmongers, one of them in the outdoor market, which is uncommon. I managed to do most of my food shopping for the next few days, which I always like to do without visiting a supermarket if I can.

Then, after lunch, I made more use of my bus pass by taking a ride to Uttoxeter on Arriva's service 1. I chose this route largely because many years ago I remember riding on it when it was operated by a local private bus company when such things were rare. As with many small bus companies in those days in used old cast-offs from larger operators; in this case a London Transport RT (forerunner of the famous Routemaster).   I came back on service 402, because I noticed from the timetable that there were only a handful of journeys a day (thus making it more interesting to the bus enthusiast). Service 402 duly set off, following a zig-zag route through the Staffordshire countryside via such places as Abbots Bromley and Draycot-in-the-Clay. Shortly after leaving Uttoxeter a warning buzzer started sounding in the driver's cab indicating an overheating engine. Unlike me, when the same thing happened on Starcross earlier this year, the driver ignored it at first, continuing to drive flat-out as all country buses seem to have to do these days to keep to time, but eventually he decided it might be prudent to stop and phone the depot which, after a few fruitless attempts to find somewhere with a signal, he duly did.

In my day as a bus driver any attempt to even lift the engine cover would have had the garage fitters out on  strike, but things are different nowadays and someone on the other end of the phone talked him through a fault-diagnosis process before concluding that a fitter was indeed required.  It took about 35 minutes for one to appear, which I didn't think bad given we were seven miles from Burton and it was at the height of athe rush hour. 
A fitter to the rescue
When the fitter turned up the two remaining passengers and the driver transferred to the new bus whilst the fitter was left with the breakdown. This is standard practice and is meant as an incentive for the fitter to get it fixed.  Amazingly, despite being now more than 40 minutes late there was a passenger waiting patiently at the next village; such is people's faith in rural bus services.
The driver was most apologetic, but as I said to him: "If my car breaks down then I'm delayed but I also have the job of getting it mended. If the bus breaks down I'm still delayed but it's someone else's job to fix it!"


Halfie said...

You remember I had a problem finding a link from within the text of one of your previous posts? The issue is that the colour of your text containing a link is difficult to distinguish from text which doesn't. I almost missed the link to your own breakdown (it was only by happening to run the cursor over the text that it appeared highlighted).

Just an observation!

Jim said...

Halfie, Thanks for the feedback, I'll have a look abd see what I can due. The blog is due for a makeover again!