Old Bus Tickets

Hardwick’s Services Ltd (Scarborough) – Ultimate

Hardwick's Services Ltd Ultimate Bus ticket

Hardwick's Services Ltd Ultimate Bus ticket Reverse

Here we have a selection of ‘Ultimate’ bus tickets from Hardwick’s Services Ltd based in the Scarborough area of North Yorkshire. The Ultimate system by Bell Punch Ltd was a very popular system each ticket value came on a pre-printed roll which slotted into the ticket machine and was issued by pushing a lever down on the front of the machine. The machines varied by the number of tickets they could issue from a single ticket this machine which I think was called a ‘Solomatic’ to machines that had the facility to issue six different value tickets all these machines were called ‘Ultimate’. On the front of the machine a couple of inch below the lever was a button that when pressed would issue two tickets instead of one when the lever was pressed so if the fare was 10d two 5d tickets could be issued quickly.

Hardwick’s services as can be seen by the advertisement on the rear of the tickets were owned by Wallace Arnold Coaches of Leeds and ran a service using a double deck Leyland Titans from Scarborough along the A170 as far as Allerston taking in the villages of Hutton Buscel, Brompton, Snainton and Ebberston on the way. I am not sure in which of the above villages there depot was but I have been and seen it, I can see it as clear as a bell quite annoying really that I can not remember, if you know please leave a comment. Hardwick’s were taken over by East Yorkshire Motor Services under their Scarborough and District operation in 1987.

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Hardwick’s operated from a depot in Snainton. They were started in a small almost farm building then moved twice till eventually to the depot they used until they ceased operations. I travelled to school for 5 years by Hardwick’s and knew all the drivers very well. Excellent service, not like some of todays buses.

Steve Adamson

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Regarding the garage, In Snainton on a small side road off from the A170 (down from what was until recently Des Winks VW and is now a garage owned by a second hand car dealer) and before the Coachman Pub is a large garage with full height sliding doors. I recall this being used by Hardwick’s, though do check, I was 4 at the time. Hardwick’s operated from a small garage in Victoria Road Scarborough (now a car park next to the newsagent. The terminus was always Ebberston as far as I recall with the buses travelling via the A170 to the ‘top stop’ then going down the village and bearing left at the bottom to return to Snainton (almost passing the garage referred to earlier.

Martin

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The reason why Hardwick’s service did not extend beyond Ebberston to Pickering was because this was in the days before deregulation. United Automobile held the licence and operated a Scarborough-Ebberston-Pickering-Ripon service numbered 128. Between Scarborough and Ebberston the United and Hardwick’s service travelled the same road. In regulated days operators were very protective of their services and competitors would be kept well at bay. The original Hardwick’s service started in the 1920s and therefore when regulation began they would have been granted the licence to operate their existing service which was just between Scarborough and Ebberston.
The front outline of the former Hardwick’s garage opposite the Coachman Inn in Snainton can still be seen on Google Streetview. The heightened roof section to take the double deckers can be clearly made out – the lower height doors on either side held the single deck vehicles. (Google maps and Streetview can be rather strange and, odd though it may sound, first key in ‘Croft Lane, Silpho, Scarborough’ to get started. The white lane forming a triangle with the A170 and B1258, near where the ‘Coachman Inn’ label is, is close to where the building stands. The Coachman Inn is actually on the opposite side of the road than the map shows!)
If you would like to see some old Hardwick’s timetables and photos of the double deckers someone has mentioned I invite you to take a look at my Fotopic site: here.

David Slater

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Just a note to clarify the names of the various Bell Punch machines of this system as there is a bit of confusion. The "Ultimate" was the small machine normally used by conductors, and could accommodate between one and six ticket values (or banks). The "Solomatic" was a giant and unwieldy machine intended for one person (driver) operation. The format of the tickets for both machines was identical except for one feature. Rolls of 500 or 1,000 tickets were used in the "Ultimate" machines, but for the "Solomatic" concertina packs (as in cinema box offices of old) were the correct items. Some operators, including to drivers’ frustration and annoyance Leeds City Transport, unwisely used the heavy ticket rolls in the "Solomatic" – the mechanism had difficulty in rotating the rolls and raising the tickets several inches to the exit slots and blockages and "jams" were frequent, necessitating selling the tickets by hand "over the top." I imagine the purpose of this dubious practice was to avoid keeping two different stocks of expensive tickets but it caused much delay to services.
Just a further interesting feature of both machines – the issue of a double ticket caused the serial number of the second ticket to be over stamped by the machine.
On the smaller "Ultimate" this was achieved by pressing the front button while depressing the trigger, whereas on the large "Solomatic" a lever on the trigger had to be squeezed at the same time as the issue.

Chris Youhill

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An unusual choice of fare system for an operator with a fairly long route. British Rail made considerable use of the Solamatic – although I seem to remember them being referred to in one publication as Ultimatic. Maybe this was another variant, but it also featured heavy paper zig-zag packed tickets. I think London Underground made some use of them too. They were usually used for the most popular issues of local tickets. When I first started work in 1966, at Long Eaton (called at the time Sawley Junction) they certainly used them for day returns to Derby and Nottingham, and I think also to Beeston, Attenborough and Spondon – all high volume rush hour destinations with major industries close by. The advantage of course, was speed of issue compared with date stamping Edmondson tickets.

Stephen Ford

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The Ultimatic was a member of the Ultimate family, but was not the same thing as the Solomatic.
The Solomatic was designed for use on (what were then termed) OMO buses, with issuing levers on the side nearest to the driver, and the ticket dispensed on the passenger’s side.
The Ultimatic was designed for a ticket office desk, and the ticket was issued from a slot above the issuing lever.
Also, most Solomatics were set up to issue single length tickets and print a fare stage, Ultimatics set up to issue a double length ticket and print the date.
As with Stephen’s example, I remember Ultimatics on BR, with one or two machines at each window being used for the most frequently issued tickets – mainly (from a south London suburban station, standard tickets to London (SR). Everything else at that time was an Edmonson card ticket, priced and dated through a NCR cash register derived machine.
There is a picture of a (BR) Ultimatic machine – here – I’m not sure whether this site accepts direct links!

KK 69521

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Absolutely KK. Of course, the other advantage of the Ultimatic was that a zig-zag pack of Ultimatics probably contained more than a full tube of Edmondson cards. The last thing you wanted in the middle of the morning rush hour was to flick out the last in the tube, and have to start writing out blank cards for a queue of impatient latecomers just as the 7.55 to town was running in!

Stephen Ford

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17/09/11 – 18:05

Quote from the original narrative: "if the fare was 10d two 5d tickets could be issued quickly".
This is not quite true. The 10d was not ‘two 5d’, but a ‘double 5d’. Operation of the ‘double button’ below the main trigger of the Ultimate resulted in the serial number of the second ticket being struck through and no stage number being printed on it. The machine could count the number of doubles issued (in this case showing the number of 5d tickets that had been used for 10d fares). This applied to all (usually 5) banks of tickets except one, which counted the total number of tickets issued.

Bill Nichols

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30/11/11 – 15:35

Ultimatics were a godsend in busy booking offices. I had a friend who was relief booking clerk between Perth and Montrose, and Dundee Tay Bridge office had a whole bank of the things to issue day returns. On busy weekends they used to move the loadings around to suit requirements and like the bus conductor’s Ultimate which is still the fastest ticket issuer ever they could speed up dealing with the queues considerably.

Allan T Condie

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06/02/12 – 16:00

My dad was a conductor for Hardwicks and used to cycle from Ebberston to the depot at Snainton every day in all weather. I often used to travel into Scarborough with him to the depot in Victoria Road which closed eventually and they were moved, first to share with Wallace Arnold in Northway and finally to one near the old Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round close to Valley Bridge. I have many happy memories and seemed to spend much of my childhood and youth on Hardwicks buses!

Malcolm Jackson