Sunday, 10 March 2013

An Inspector Calls

Anyone who used buses up to about 20 years ago would be familiar with this character: the dreaded bus inspector immortalised by Stephen Lewis as Blakey in "On the Buses". You probably haven't seen one lately; the drive to cut costs by the privatised bus companies coupled with the introduction of electronic ticket machines that record precise details of every ticket issued and CCTV that monitors the whole bus, including the driver's cab, has made them largely redundant. In fact, I was about to post a follow-up to my piece on Bus Etiquette  to the effect that rather than "retaining your ticket for inspection", as the notices once had it, increasingly younger people, who've probably never seen a bus inspector in their life, deposit their tickets straight into the used-tickets bin as soon as they've got them and before even sitting down!
But on a recent bus journey between Preston and Burnley I was startled to see a real-life inspector board the bus!  He wore an anorak rather than a smart tunic and definitely didn't have a peaked cap, but he did walk through the bus checking tickets and passes. In another breach from the past, when he had finished, instead of standing smartly to attention on the platform he went to the back of the bus, sat down and appeared to go to sleep (perhaps he'd had a long day?). 
 So, bus passengers, look out and keep your tickets safe - the inspector is not extinct yet! And if you're wondering I do still have a boat and I will soon find the time to actually do some boating to blog about. In the meantime you'll have to put up with my increasingly desperate ramblings!

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