This is a fairly large ticket at 5 by 1¾ inch (127 x 45mm) but it is valid for six days and at this size it is less likely to get lost. This is obviously a workers Monday to Saturday ticket which allowed the holder to make one return trip per day to and from there place of work. Condition 2 on the reverse of the ticket clearly states this. The day markings on the side of the ticket are for punching on the day of travel, the left side for the journey to work and on the right for the return journey.
Rhondda Transport Company were based about 5½ miles South East of Rhondda in a small town called Porth which was about half way between Merthyr Tydfil and Cardiff. In the mid sixties their fleet was made up with Regent IIIs and Vs for double deckers and Royal Tiger and Tiger Cubs for single deckers. Their livery was a very uninspiring all over dark red for buses but at least their coaches were cream and red
I couldn’t be totally sure, but the layout of the printing suggests that this was printed in a normal "Setright Speed" machine (i.e. with roll). Some variants had slots which allowed the introduction of an "insert" ticket between the normal ticket roll and the printing plate. Accordingly a blank ticket from the roll was also issued at the same time. I seem to remember that Hants & Dorset issued "insert" tickets in this way on the Swanage-Bournemouth route for journeys which traversed the Studland-Sandbanks ferry. They also carried stocks of Bell Punch tickets, which I presume were for journeys wholly within the Bournemouth Corporation zone.
I agree entirely Stephen about the ticket being printed on the normal Setright Speed, but inserted into the slot which could be had as an option on these excellent machines. Just an optional theory, a pure uninformed guess, about the Bell Punch tickets – could these I wonder have been an emergency system in the event of a stubborn malfunction in the Setright ??
On a slightly pertinent note – does anyone remember also the small "Cancellation button" on the front of, I think, most if not all Setright Speed machines – we certainly had them at Samuel Ledgard. If a ticket was issued in error you simply inserted it into the slot, pressed the button, and it emerged with the next serial number printed on the blank rear – simple and avoiding the need to ask embarrassed passengers for their names and addresses.
Yes Chris, my local operator, Bartons, always used the cancellation button (as well as the punch) to validate return tickets for the return journey. This was usually printed on the "face" side of the ticket, which tended to produce a messy and blurred impression (particularly if the machine had recently been re-inked). In theory it proved validity to roving inspectors by showing the date, serial number, machine number and stage boarded. In practise the indistinct purple smudge simply showed that it had been used for a second journey, and would most certainly not be acceptable for a third!
What a very strange practice at Barton Stephen – why on Earth I wonder didn’t they insert the ticket the other way around, as we did, so that the new printing (heavily inked or otherwise) did not interfere with the original on the face side ??
I found the comments by Chris Youhill and Stephen Ford about the cancellation button on Setright machines intriguing. I’m sure we didn’t have them on West Yorkshire – I certainly don’t remember having one. The practice was simply to put the wrongly-issued ticket to one side, (we were not required to take the passenger’s name and address), and then to submit it with the day’s takings and a note, (I believe there was a short form to complete), stating it had been issued in error. The company’s attitude to accepting this seems to have been frequency: one ticket now and then was O.K. 47 every day was not! Inserted speed Setright tickets were not used on WY.
14/05/11 – 18:11
No-one seems to have commented on the date of issue! Along with the lack of cancellations of the trips I suspect this ticket was never used and has been "issued" retrospectively and not necessarily on the date stated!
22/07/11 – 07:56
I have an ex West Yorkshire Setright in my collection of machines, and confirm that their standard Setright (they may have had some that were different) did not have either an insert slot or a front mounted button canceller.
They also appear (I have seen a few others) to have had the unusual habit of stripping the black paint off the machine’s front panel and polishing it when it got tatty.
As for the front mounted canceller button – these generally worked so you put the ticket in face outwards, which then got a smudge on the front and (in theory) the date and machine number of the machine used for cancelling on the back – although the latter is usually indistinct.
This would prove to an inspector (or a forgetful conductor) that the return ticket had been cancelled on that bus (or not as the case may be)
22/07/11 – 15:12
Have a look at the Western National tickets I submitted a while ago (link below). You will see there a return tidily cancelled with a double clip, and impression on the reverse from the machine on the return trip (which happened on this occasion to be the same machine – 098, presumably the same bus, and only 39 tickets later!)
Link to the Western National ticket
05/11/11 – 07:36
Setright Speeds were available with three varieties of cancellation/insert slot on the frontplate.
Full width for issue of 1 7/8" wide tickets.
1 1/4" for issue or cancellation of standard insert setright tickets. covering the area of the facets which did not show the ticket number.
1" for cancellation of roll tickets – this only printed the ticket serial number.
Some machines had dual 1 1/4" and 1" slots.
Allan T Condie