Friday, 3 February 2017

Travellers' tales.

Our local bus service reached a new low this morning. Phil had to dash into the town centre for a checkup at the eye clinic and the hurry back in time for us to set off to catch a train to London. Had there been a major delay, plan B was for me to grab the bags and meet him at the tram stop to go into Manchester. However, as he is a perfect gentleman, he preferred to come hime and do some of the bag toting himself. For all the more rabid feminists out there, I have no objection to somebody volunteering to carry bags, especially if some of the stuff in the bags is his stuff. I feel no urge to prove that I am super strong when I know that it is not so.

Anyway, his dash in was no problem. His checkup at the eye clinic went fine, on time, no waiting around. There was a handy bus only a few minutes after he left the clinic. So far so good! Then the bus reached the Mumps interchange. The driver got our. It was the end of his shift. Another driver was due to take over. Fifteen minutes or more later the passengers were informed that the driver had been held up in traffic somewhere. in fact other buses had been he,d up by the accident causing the delay. This explained the presence of drivers who were hanging around without buses. And so they were cancelling the bus Phil was on and sending it somewhere else. All the passengers were simply advised to catch the next bus. Presumably the bus route coordinators must have known there was a mismatch of drivers and buses. Driverless buses and bus-less drivers should be a solvable problem. Apparently not. Even though one of the bus-less drivers, when asked, agreed that he did know the route for Phil's bus and so could have driven it. but it was not in his schedule. It was more than his job was worth to depart from his schedule. Well, yes, that is understandable. You can't have anarchy in the bus service. However, surely it is not beyond the wit of bus management to sort it out! You would think so!

In the event, the delay did not cause any problems. We got into Manchester in plenty of time, got on our train and has the usual silly conversation about booked seats. Somebody was occupying our seats so, rather than kick up a fuss, we sat in a couple of empty ones nearby. Inevitably someone else came along and pointed out that he had reserved one of those seats. Another little discussion ensued and he sat in yet another empty seat nearby, all of us prepared to move if the situation grew more complicated. Or if there was an officious guard insisting onus all sitting in our rightful places. It began to feel as if we had strayed into an odd version of the Red Riding Hood story.

A very British problem! I say that but I have witnessed funny scenes on the bus that does the journey between Vigo and Porto. When you book your ticket, it does say that the seat number is not indicative of where to actually sit. It merely serves to tell the computer how many places have been booked. And yet I have often seen people, usually British or American, walking up and down the bus looking for "their" seat and being given short shrift by bemused Spaniards who always disregard that mind of thing!

Such are the joys of travel!

Once we safely reach our son's house ( we are travelling to a birthday celebration) I shall try to post this.

Please note the restraint: no rants about any politicians today.

Tomorrow, however, is another day!

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