The South Yorkshire ticket above I originally indexed it as a ‘Bellgraphic but thanks to Brian Salmo (see below) I have now indexed it under the ‘Automacheckit’ system. I am not sure what the grid on the reverse was for the top line is Sat-Fri and the Roman numerals down the centre are 1-12. Maybe it was for punching by an inspector on a ticket check or for a return journey, there are the days and the numbers could be for the months but nothing for the weeks, yet again if you know please leave a comment. The ticket was printed by Bell Punch London.
South Yorkshire Motors an independent operator was founded in 1925 as the Badsworth Motor Co by the Winder family, Badsworth is a small town 3 miles south of Pontefract. Operations moved shortly afterwards to Pontefract and the Company’s history is most complicated after that – being dictated in no small measure by the involvement by marriage of the Bullock family – or to be more exact of Ernest Bullock who decided to split from the family business, Bullock and Sons. The greatly respected services were always based on Pontefract throughout all the changes until July 8th 1994 when the family (by then the McCloys) finally gave up the battle. The reason being as with many other small operators at the time falling business, so they sold to Caldaire Holdings (under the control of West Riding) it was of course a sad time in the town of Pontefract,
Thanks to Chris Youhill for the information regarding South Yorkshire Motors.
Photographs supplied by Chris Youhill.
AUTOMACHECKIT was the name marked on the machines when they were sold to operators.
BELLGRAPHIC was originally the name of a non-portable variant of the machine.
MODEL P was the name invented to alleviate the confusion caused by earlier names.
This system was used briefly, (maybe it was only a trial, I’m not sure), by West Yorkshire on some of its longer distance routes in the early 1950′s – I remember being issued with one on a trip between York and Leeds. Where the South Yorkshire ticket shows over or under 1/-, the West Yorkshire ticket showed shillings in the left box and pence on the right. I was told by an ex-WY office worker, (anecdotes are not always accurate, of course), that the system was open to fraud; it seems that it was possible to lodge an object, such as half a two-sided razor blade, between the ticket and the carbon copy retained inside the machine. The result was that the issued ticket would be correct but that the copy would show only pence and not record the shillings value. This might be moonshine, of course, but the Automacheckit system had a very short life with WY.
Well Roy, I’m afraid that the Automacheckit machines figured far more largely in WYRCC operations than that. They were the standard and only machines in use on all stage services at Ilkley Depot from when I began Ben Rhydding School in September 1941 and remained so until the Setright "Speed" superseded them in the early to mid 1950s. Even when I was a conductor there in 1960/61 they were often put in a conductor’s locker for a day or two if the Company required very detailed data of each passenger journey for revision purposes. As far as memory serves they were in standard use throughout the Company at one period, although I do remember as a child at some time receiving a WY Bell Punch rack ticket (and being surprised) on a Leeds Depot Bristol K5G from Cookridge Street on service 34 to Ilkley.
It was also a West Yorkshire rule that ONLY copying ink pencils were to be used to write the Automacheckit tickets – can we believe now that Monsieur Biro’s ball point pens had yet to be invented at that time.
Thanks for that extra information, Chris. You always seem to make interesting points that give cause for thought, and I’m always grateful when my sometimes incomplete memory is corrected. At the time of which you write, (I was then living in York), York-West Yorkshire used Ultimate machines, so if the Automacheckit system was, as you believe, standard issue, WY may have excluded or restricted their use at York Depot. I never came across Automacheckit on service 97, for example, (York to Wetherby), which I used often; always Bell Punch rack tickets until Setright machines were introduced. You mention, incidentally, WY collecting detailed information, which reminds me of their later practice, (the 1960′s), of using what we called ‘bum counters’. A few Bristol Lodekkas, (DX’s in WY parlance), were fitted with a sensor under the seats, connected to a graph which, from memory, was mounted on the lower deck behind the driver’s window. Passengers found the sensors uncomfortable and, (apart from complaining!), would jiggle around constantly on the seat. During 1964, I was for a short time, when I worked at East Parade, Harrogate, engaged on analysing the information collected. I don’t think the management ever made much use of the information, regarding it as of little more value than the conductors’ waybills. It gave a broad picture of the balance of passenger load – information that was pretty well known any way - but not much more.
Bum counters…passengers jiggling around on the seat…balance of passenger load. Have I got a warped sense of humour or what?!
Just a small comment. Yorkshire Woollen used these machines on long distance services but I have a hazy recollection they were used on local services too. Of course they were superseded by Setrights, Ultimate machines were used by Frost Hill depot.
09/10/11 – 06:48
I also remember Yorkshire Woollen using Automacheckit machines on services into Halifax during the 1950′s, but they were then replaced by Setright Speeds. Hebble used them exclusively during the 1950′s and well into 1960′s, but they were then replaced mostly by TIM’s, though they also had a small number of Setright Speeds. Emergency tickets were Automacheckit style tickets, but made of a thicker fawn coloured card with red printing, and I believe these were used right up to the end.
It was widely known that unscrupulous conductors – of which Hebble had more than its fair share – could work a fiddle by inserting something between the ticket and the carbon copy as previously mentioned. I remember a piece in the local paper about a number of staff being dismissed for this, and this was said to be the reason these machines were abandoned.
09/10/11 – 09:33
"Automacheckit" style emergency tickets were still in use by South Yorkshire Road Transport right up to the sale of The Company to Caldaire on July 8th 1994 – and what a complete nightmare they were, especially on one person operation. There were four tickets to a page, with carbon copies, four a page, underneath – and the hinged cardboard shield had to be placed under each set every four tickets. Not much imagination is needed to show what a total disaster this system was for timekeeping !! I still have a new unused pack of the beastly things to remind me of "the good old days."
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