I was, in my teenage years, a bus ‘nut’ and (some may say) remain so today. I used to travel to school on the Birmingham Corporation buses, was a ‘spotter’ and avid traveller in my school holidays. The route I lived on was the 29a which ran from Baldwins Lane Hall Green (South Birmingham) to the Pheasey Estate, Kingstanding which was North Birmingham. This was probably the longest of the BCT routes and, because I got to know a number of the crews, was trusted and allowed to ‘ring the bell’ which was a great help to the (mainly) conductress’s at busy times. After a 4 year stint in the RAF (heavy MT) I tried a number of jobs when I was demobbed including BSM driving instructor, heavy haulage coach and bus driving for the (then) ‘Midland Red’. I came across these tickets during a recent "de-clutter" – at the behest of ‘er indoors’ – and thought they may be of interest to others.
Photographs and Copy contributed by Nigel Edwards
I too Nigel was a "bus nut" in my formative years and some DO say, at 74, still am – I have to agree with them, although the current scene holds little appeal for me, either as an enthusiast or as a passenger.
Like you, I became known and trusted by many of the Samuel Ledgard crews and was a skilled "campanologist". On reflection, although many conductors appreciated the help at busy times, especially on double deckers, it really was a most unwise practice. If any passenger accident had occurred, or a public report been submitted, the conductor would have been for the high jump with his employer and with the Traffic Commissioners.
My eight weeks "squarebashing" was endured at RAF Hednesford on Cannock Chase and there was much of transport fascination in that area in 1954. The local bus company was the wonderfully named "Green Bus Service” (Rugeley and Uttoxeter) Ltd – M.A. & C.J.Whieldon. They had a fascinating fleet which included two Salmesbury bodied Foden double deckers and, from your locality, some ex Birmingham Corporation Daimler COG5s. I still have the one penny time and fare table booklet, in which our huge leading defence training establishment was brought down to earth by being described simply as "RAF CAMP."
Chris’s comments on amateur campanology put me in mind of Roly Wason’s anecdote in his entertaining book "Busman’s View". A conductor was running short of small change, and got off at a town centre stop to go into a shop with a couple of half-crowns. In the meantime a roving inspector seeing the bus standing there, thought the conductor must be upstairs collecting fares. (You know the old saying : "Thought followed a muck-cart and thought it was a wedding!) Helpfully he stepped up, gave the driver a double ring and stepped off again. Then the conductor emerged from the shop to see his bus rapidly disappearing down the road. Inspector says, "Here, jump on this next bus. You’ll soon catch him up." "Not likely," replies the conductor. "You sent him off; now you can jolly-well catch him for me!"
24/02/11 – 07:19
Sorry, but two of those tickets (49Jb 3627 and 40Pb 3467) are not Birmingham City Transport tickets. They are Midland Red.
I was a conductor at Harborne Garage for about 2 years (1968-1970) I was always on the Outer Circle Route. The wage was £19, but with extra trips on the Outer Circle I could earn £60+ per week. The main problem with that route was rush hour between stages. The tickets were Ultimates, being short changed was a problem, if you cashed in and you were short, it would be a trip to head office, and a warning not to do it again (I had many trips). Fares were low, so there were many passengers. Sometimes you were given Plastic tokens for a fare, I would replace these with my own money, and the tokens found there way into my collection.