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|
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!"