'Please Note'

Due to amount of work involved with the Old Bus Photos website and other commitments I am afraid I have had to freeze the Old Bus Tickets website. I will leave it on line for reference purposes.
I would like to thank everyone that contributed to the site in the past if I get time in the future I may start it up again.


Maidstone & District Motor Services – Setright Speed

M&D ss_lr                From the Sidney R G Page collection

I don’t know what other types of ticket the "Mud & Dirt" may have issued, but when I worked for them in the mid 60s as a relief bus cleaner, covering rest days at Tenterden half the week and getting a long lie-in the other half before catching the first bus to Ashford at 6.20am to do rest day cover there, there was a chap who inhabited a small shed in a corner of the Tenterden bus garage who had taught himself pretty much all there was to know about Setright Speed ticket machines – I don’t doubt that he had originally gone on a course of some sort, but by the time I worked there he would have qualified to act as the instructor – and Setright Speed ticket machines from all over the M&D system that needed attention were sent to him to deal with.
I can’t remember if he also dealt with machines from the East Kent company as well, but they probably had someone of their own to deal with theirs, or sent them to the Setright works.
Although I swept out all the buses at Tenterden or Ashford every day or night that I was on duty, and also emptied the used ticket boxes and burned the contents in the incinerator at the back of the garage, I’m blowed if I can remember whether they were all Setrights, or if any other types of ticket were in use.

Copy contributed by Tony Adams


24/06/12 – 15:40

I was very interested to read about the individual mending the ticket machines. When I drove for Southend Corporation there was such a man there too. He had a little workshop but usually if you wanted to see him he left a notice on his door Back Shortly. This was displayed so often that he gained the nickname Back Shortly.

Philip Carlton


28/06/12 – 07:59

How interesting, Tony, to learn of your working at both Tenterden and Ashford – a pretty mammoth journey between the two depots. It’s just possible that we briefly came across each other, since I was shown round Tenterden and its environs in August 1967 by the then District Superintendent, Arthur Grist. Did you ever know him, by any chance?
In addition to the Setright, M&D used Almex machines on its OMO services, and although you might have forgotten Almex, you would certainly cleaned lots of the tickets up, since Almex machines were prevalent in both Tenterden and Ashford at the time you worked for M&D. I don’t think there is an Almex posting on this site, but the machines, which were positioned next to the driver, had little slides on them to set the fare and other details, and the ticket itself was a small, square one, almost but not quite cut from a roll as the driver issued it by pushing a lever at the side of the machine. I have a vague feeling M&D’s were yellow, but I can’t swear to it.

Roy Burke


03/07/12 – 14:54

M&D (and subsidiary Hastings Tramways) like many operators went from bell punch ticketing to Setrights via the intermediate stage of ‘Insert Setright’ machines – the latter were phased out from 1949 onwards. (M&D’s second Setright Speed machine, S 01, is now in my collection.)
M&D (and neighbour East Kent) specified the trip number / stage number style of machine shown here (which meant that on the longest routes, fare stages 1 to 31 were repeated.)
M&D were, as Roy says, one of the early purchasers of Almex machines (in an era when buying anything not British could be viewed with some suspicion) – from photographs I’ve seen, it looks as though they did so from the early 1960s. Almex machines seem to have been used on OMO services, conductors continued to use Setrights as far as I know. And yes, Almex standard ticket rolls were yellow (although some operators used other colours for reasons unknown.)
(And I’ll have to try and find an Almex ticket or two that are interesting enough to offer for posting on here – they probably get thought about as ‘too modern to be of interest’ although some of the machines are now getting on for 50 years old!)
As M&D were quicker than some companies to convert to OMO, this led to a surplus of Setrights, and many passed second hand to City of Oxford in the mid 60s (S01 came to me via an Oxford source but never got decimalised) – possibly to replace either short range Setright (issuing tickets only up to 1 shilling) or TIM machines which had both outgrown their more limited fare range in an age of inflation.
The "chap in a small shed" is an interesting way of doing things – most large companies had one or two ‘Setright mechanics’(or similar job title) usually at head office or central works.
An article in ‘Classic Bus’ some time in the last couple of years mentioned that M&D had a number of people doing jobs that didn’t officially exist – people were still on the books as a driver or conductor but did a regular, specialised job – maybe this chap was on that basis.



The pink ticket is interesting. M&D used green rolls for many years but other colours were used by kerbside conductors (at Hastings I think), changed daily to prevent fiddling. East Kent did this too.
M&D Setrights: these could print stages and trips from 1 to 32, although the very last batches of machines had the more common 00-99 arrangement.
M&D stages incidentally, had the appearance of being chaotic as they did not run in sequence. For example, stages on route 98 (Tonbridge, Higham Wood – Tunbridge Wells, Ramslye) in 1964, ran: 17 – 15 – 14 – 13 – 12 – 10 – 9 – 8 – 7 – 6 – 5 – 4 – 31 – 3 – 2 – 1 – 30 – 29 – 15 – 25 – 28 – 26. There were further stage numbers (including 32) for "additional single fares". On joint routes with Southdown, conductors had to remember the Southdown stages too which were different for any given stage but equally chaotically applied. The basic idea, however, was that a particular stage would always have the same number irrespective of route.
Almexes were introduced by M&D in November 1955 at Tenterden and Gravesend (three machines in total for OMO drivers). Apart from the West Yorkshire Road Car who tried an Almex for one day (9th May 1955), M&D were the first UK user. They also tried electric drive Setrights for OMO, but a decision to standardise on the Almex was made quite early on, and they became a major and very long-lived user. This may be why the Swedish Almex company decided to settle in Edenbridge in the 1950s.
Rolls were supplied by Almex for many years; the earliest were a sort of cream, later yellow, white with preprinted conditions in yellow, and at the end, with the M&D logo in green. M&D also used green rolls on the Invictaway coach services.
A Setright mechanic or two were employed by many of the larger firms and maintenance was usually quite a systematic matter. For example, at Ribble, a central service history card was kept for each machine; ribbons were replaced at 50,000 tickets (at the depot) and the machine returned to the works for a complete overhaul at the 500,000 tickets mark. Some operators (Wilts & Dorset, Lincolnshire RCC for example) even had the "service interval" shown on a little brass plate on the machine as a reminder to the depot clerks.
Some of the larger firms also maintained machines for smaller operators; the only example I can think of offhand, is that of the Clynog & Tefor Motor Co. who had their machines looked after by Crosville at Chester.

DRH – Transport Ticket Society


29/07/12 – 10:55

Hi Roy, I shouldn’t think I ever met you or the District Superintendent because as I was rest day relief for the regular cleaners, most of my time at Tenterden was on nights. On the days that I worked at the M&D garage at Ashford I caught the first bus out of Tenterden, which took about an hour to reach Ashford. However, I was travelling in the warm on the company’s time. Ashford garage at that time had a large number of Bristol double deck buses with AEC engines. The engineering staff told me that as Bristol was a nationalised company, they were not allowed to sell complete buses to non-nationalised operators, hence the AEC engines – though I have no idea where these would have been fitted. That no doubt also explains the Dennis LoLine. Tucked away round the back of the M&D shed at Ashford at that time was an old snowplough, though it couldn’t be used when it was really needed, because the vehicle that it fitted had been scrapped long ago.

Tony Adams

Hedingham & District Motor Services – Insert Setright

headingham district            From the Sidney R G Page collection

As noted elsewhere on this site, after "Mac" took over the Letch’s Motor Service operation he renamed it Hedingham & District Motor Services (usually abbreviated to Hedingham Omnibus). I started driving for them just after Mac had taken over the Colchester – Great Bromley route, at which stage they still had the single depot tucked away down a country road near Sible Hedingham, the Insert Setrights (illustrated above) which were inherited from Letch had been replaced by Setright Speeds using titled rolls printed on green paper, and the two double deckers inherited from Letch had also gone. This was a real nuisance on the 5.30pm (or thereabouts) route 88 journey from Colchester to Halstead, which was worked by Hedingham rather than Eastern National, because this journey had needed both double deckers to cope with all the passengers, and by the time we had finished picking up at the bus station and the two or three other stops in the town I was praying that we were not checked by a Ministry inspector, as my 41-seat country bus must regularly have had at least 100 passengers crammed into it whenever I worked this journey. Indeed, they were crammed solid down the gangway from the very back to the front, and jammed solid on the front platform and entrance steps so that it was extremely difficult to get the entrance doors shut, and when I made a right turn I didn’t dare do it at more than a crawl in case the passengers burst out and cascaded onto the road. It was perfectly normal, by the time the few passengers who wanted to get off before we got out into the countryside had actually made it off the bus, for us to be running 20 minutes or more late. Indeed, it was not at all unusual for them to be completely unable to get off the bus until half the passengers had unloaded and patiently stood outside in the fresh air, waiting to get back on again.
It was a complete nightmare on rainy days when the passengers had wet clothes when they got on and then insisted on breathing, because the inside of the windscreen got so misted up – even with the demister going full blast – that the only way it was possible to drive was standing up, one hand holding the wheel and the other scrubbing furiously with a rag, trying to keep a 3-inch square of windscreen clear enough to be able to see a small patch of road immediately in front of the bus, so I didn’t run into the back of whatever was ahead of me.
In my experience you could normally issue tickets with a Setright Speed nearly as fast as the passengers could hoist themselves up the steps and into the bus, but after a week or two I got my passengers trained on this run so that instead of getting drowned waiting to get on in rainy weather, I’d get them inside as quickly as possible, and collect their fares in the dry as they got off. On wet days I’d also ignore the bus stops along the 88 route, set the passengers down at their gate, and make sure they’d got safely into the dry before I set off again. Otherwise, as they walked along the narrow grass verge from the stop to their gate, they stood a pretty good chance of getting completely drenched from water thrown up by the constant stream of heavy lorries pounding along this busy main road.
Not all the Hedingham routes were like this. One diverted off the main road to serve a small village, using a road that was nearly wide enough for a small car, and where the bus was pushing its way through the undergrowth as it went along. The first time I worked this route I was shown the gateway into a farm field (on the Ordnance Survey map that I carried) where the bus had to turn, half a mile short of the village, and warned in the strongest possible terms that I must not try to get any closer to the village, as they had found out the hard way that the bus would then get immovably jammed, and it would take two or three days to get it out again.
Another route went off the main road in a westerly direction at Great Yeldham and tacked about a bit before it arrived at (Stambourne? Or was it Toppesfield?). Where the village was I never did find out, because the only sign of habitation where we turned was an old cottage with a black and white enamelled Victorian sign over the door, saying that it was a post office where "Government Annuities" could be bought.
Another route was even more fun. It had two buses on a Saturday, and nothing the rest of the week. It was so popular that it wasn’t even on the destination blind. The first time I was told to work it I asked Mac to show me on my map where I was supposed to go and he said "I haven’t a clue – I’ve never worked that route. Just go to the yard at Halstead where we load up, in front of the old station. There will be passengers waiting for you there, and they’ll show you the way."
Mac was right. There were passengers waiting there. They all got off before the first of the two turnings that the map showed might be the right one, leaving me with just one passenger, a dear old lady who wanted me to set her down at Rose Cottage, as she was visiting her sister and had never been there in her life before. "You don’t need instructions", her sister had told her. "Just tell the bus driver to set you down at Rose Cottage. All the drivers know me, so they’ll all know where to set you down."
So we crawled along at walking speed, trying to read the names of the cottages as we went past. Not a sign of Rose Cottage until we reached a desolate cross roads in the middle of nowhere, where we turned round. I think the bus went there because in the distant past a long defunct bus operator had been based in a nearby orchard, and decades later Mac had inherited his bus route.
Having turned round we crawled back again, but fortunately her sister came out of her cottage and flagged us down as we approached, having wondered where her sister had got to. No Rose Cottage sign in sight, but her sister explained "It fell down last week and I haven’t got round to putting it back up again yet."
Country buses? In the Setright Speed era they were wonderful. Nowadays, in the rush and hurry and electronic ticket machine era I don’t suppose they’re nearly as much fun.

Copy contributed by Tony Adams


22/06/12 – 08:54

The machine number Z05 indicates that this is an ex Corona Coaches machine, a ticket issued on this machine is reproduced in the Corona History written by Prof John Hibbs.
The services of Dennis A. Beadle for plumbing were advertised for many years by Hedingham. Interestingly, when I last had my central heating serviced, the engineer had the surname Beadle and said his father used to be a plumber in Sible Hedingham so I guess there was a connection there.
Departing from the subject of tickets, I must admit to having wondered how Hedingham coped with the peak hour departure from Colchester to Halstead in the period after they had sold all their double deckers and before they acquired the 55 seater Leyland Leopard L84 (RGV 284N) in 1974. L84 remains in the fleet today, thirty eight years later, and is still in excellent condition.

Nigel Turner

Crosville – Setright Speed


Here is a standard Setright Speed from Crosville Motor Services, about 1962 I think. Green printing on a cream-coloured paper. I have never quite understood what was the purpose of the various formats and boxes printed on the reverse of different operators’ Setright Speed ticket rolls. I can only say that I don’t ever remember a conductor using them in any way, shape or form. The ticket was issued during a holiday to Llandudno. From the small fare, it almost certainly represents a journey between Llandudno town centre (Trinity Square) and the West Shore, where we were staying. There were three possible routes – M19 (Conway Morfa) – operated by Bristol Lodekkas, and leaving town via Madoc Street, Lloyd Street, Deganwy Avenue, Gloddaeth Avenue, Great Ormes Road and Bryniau Road; M20 (Llanrwst) – operated by single deckers – usually SC4LKs, but occasionally a half-cab L5G, taking the same route as the M19; and finally the local M95 (Maesdu and Deganwy) – invariably an SC4LK, running via Trinity Road, Dyffryn Road, Alexandra Road and Bryniau Road.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Stephen Ford


The punch squares on the reverse were only for transfers and little used but are explained in the following Chief Inspector’s instruction:
"Instructions Relating to the Issue of Through Return Tickets where a Change of Vehicle is Required
1. The Conductor will issue the ticket in the normal way but in addition punch it with the cancellation punch in "No 1" (back of ticket) according to the direction of travel in order to indicate to the Conductor of the vehicle on which the passenger completes his journey that the ticket is a through ticket.
2. When the passenger tenders the ticket to the Conductor on the second vehicle on which he completes the journey the Conductor, after having satisfied himself that the ticket is valid for the journey, will punch it with the cancellation punch in "No 2" (back of ticket).
3. When the passenger tenders a RETURN ticket to the Conductor on commencement of the return journey the same procedure will apply as in (1) and (2) above. In addition the Conductor will punch the ticket with the cancellation punch in the appropriate date of the day.
4. When a passenger tenders a Return Ticket on the vehicle on which he is COMPLETING his RETURN journey, it should be noted that the date of the completing journey should be the same as the date "PUNCHED" by the Conductor dealing with the first part of the passenger’s RETURN journey and finally cancel the ticket through the machine in the usual way."

Mike Grant


16/05/12 – 09:00

Was there any ticket left by the time all of these holes had been punched in it?

David Todd