Strangest bus journey you've ever taken

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Tom Gallacher

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I don't know if there is already a thread along these lines so if there is Mods please feel free to move this to it.

Reading through some of the threads on here, especially those about days gone by, reminded me of a bus journey that I had some years ago and I wondered if anyone else had a similar experience.

During the 70's I was in the Royal Navy based in Rosyth. As I lived in Glasgow I used to go home every weekend travelling home on the Friday evening and going back by train early on the Monday morning. For some unknown reason one Sunday in November I decided that I would travel back up to Rosyth by bus and duly caught the Glasgow-Dunfermline express service that left Glasgow around 7pm.

As far as I remember the only two scheduled stops were at Cumbernauld and Kincardine and the journey time was approx 1 hour. The bus was a single decker (probably Leyland Leopard) belonging to Alexander's Fife and was crewed by a driver and a conductress. There was only a few passengers on the service and I decided to sit at the very front n/s seat. This was all pre motorway so the route took us along the A80 with a diversion through Cumbernauld and returning to the main road towards Kincardine. As we were on the outskirts of Cumbernauld a shout came from a passenger on the bus "hey driver, are you not going to Cumbernauld?". The driver had missed the turn off and had turned at the next junction which was the A73 to Airdrie. He stopped the bus and asked "is anyone getting off at Cumbernauld?" Nobody replied so he just put the bus back in gear a continued along the A73. About half an hour later, when we had been wandering all over the roads of North Lanarkshire, we were driving through a small village when he stopped to pick up a passenger. "Do you go to (some village that I'd never heard of) driver?" "no, but do you know how to get there?" replied the driver. "aye" says the passenger. "ok, jump on and I'll take you" says the driver and off we go dropping the new passenger off a few miles down the road.

We then set off again in the search for the road to Kincardine and ended up driving down a country lane which led to a dead end. The driver gets the conductress to guide him back out as he reverses out of the lane back onto the road we had previously been on. Eventually we came across a road sign that pointed us in the general direction of Kincardine and we managed to get from there to Dunfermline bus station arriving at around 11.30pm.

There was a heated discussion between the driver and an Inspector about what had happened and I assume that he was disciplined but the sting in the tale was that the last bus had already left for Rosyth and, despite my protests, the Inspector wasn't interested in my demand that they either take me to the dockyard or at least pay for a taxi.

Needless to say I never travelled this way again.
 
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Ken H

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Rodney bay to Castries in St Lucia. Buses there were Toyota Hiace minibuses. They ran very frequently. You paid the driver when you got off. You just shouted to the driver when it was your stop. The one back had had the treatment. 2 huge speakers at the back blasting out reggae, he had bells fitted. doorbells with a felt tip pen of a bony finger to tell you how to use it. And leopard skin roof lining. I was told the drivers owned the buses and paid a fee to run on a particular route. Queues of them at Castries bus station. We were there in 2001.
 

TheGrandWazoo

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Don't know about strangest but...

I'd been visiting relatives in Edinburgh. The coach that took me north had been standard stuff so some Tiger. On my return back to Darlington some days later, I went to get my coach to discover it was a Plaxton bodied Seddon of Eastern Scottish's New Street depot. Not a duplicate - that was the one. The driver was keen to keep on schedule and so we headed by Dalkeith and the A7 - not the sort of journey to experience on a Seddon at speed. I was feeling a bit green on arrival at Gala, but then it was all change. What had happened the night before was that the regular service car had failed at Gala. It had been repaired overnight so we all left the Seddon and got onto a Duple Goldliner bodied Tiger with, I guess, a manual box like this https://www.flickr.com/photos/42213...kSdxka-2kS6raq-2jYgwha-2kS8NSL-2kS6BBc-QQJL4x - credit to photographer

We manoeuvred out of the old Gala bus station, around to the right and out towards the main road. Even at that junction, you could feel a slight clutch slip :s We then headed through to Jedburgh, and then over Carter Bar. What seemed the occasional murmur gradually increased as the clutch began to disintegrate. The Eastern driver did his best to nurse the poorly Tiger to Newcastle but the thing expired in Ponteland. National Express support swung into action and about an hour or so later, a replacement coach (probably some Plaxton bodied Leopard from a small coach firm) appeared, and took us to Newcastle. I got to Gallowgate and had chance to go to the gents, reappearing to hear the duty inspector shouting passengers for Darlington. After a whole 5 mins break, I was back on my fourth coach of the journey, arriving in Darlington an hour later. My dad was waiting and complaining about the coach being late. I suggested that he'd had it easy, simply waiting for me, as I recounted the journey.

I can also recall a very skilled United driver at Bishop Auckland where the clutch cylinder went on the LH I was travelling on, as he managed to get it from Spennymoor to Bishop without a clutch and using it almost as a crash gearbox....but tell that to kids today and they wouldn't believe you!
 

Clydeflyer

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This is going back 15-odd years I reckon. The buses in question were First Glasgow rather that Stagecoach but...

X8 old Pollok Centre to Glasgow... I board and there's a group of passesngers at the front and a group at the back... I settle in the middle. We hit the M77 Glasgow-bound and as soon as we do the group at the front all stand up and shout "Strathclyde Police Drugs Squad, put your hands on your head where I can see them". It turns out they were who they said they were and the group at the back were dealers! Thing was I didn't know that and duly put my hands on my head where they could see them. One of the officers then paused at my seat and just glanced at me as if to say "what are you doing you daftie?". We then got to Bothwell Street in Glasgow where police vans met us and took them all away.

It was then I decided it was time to move to another area...
 
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Don't know about strangest but...

I'd been visiting relatives in Edinburgh. The coach that took me north had been standard stuff so some Tiger. On my return back to Darlington some days later, I went to get my coach to discover it was a Plaxton bodied Seddon of Eastern Scottish's New Street depot. Not a duplicate - that was the one. The driver was keen to keep on schedule and so we headed by Dalkeith and the A7 - not the sort of journey to experience on a Seddon at speed. I was feeling a bit green on arrival at Gala, but then it was all change. What had happened the night before was that the regular service car had failed at Gala. It had been repaired overnight so we all left the Seddon and got onto a Duple Goldliner bodied Tiger with, I guess, a manual box like this https://www.flickr.com/photos/42213...kSdxka-2kS6raq-2jYgwha-2kS8NSL-2kS6BBc-QQJL4x - credit to photographer

We manoeuvred out of the old Gala bus station, around to the right and out towards the main road. Even at that junction, you could feel a slight clutch slip :s We then headed through to Jedburgh, and then over Carter Bar. What seemed the occasional murmur gradually increased as the clutch began to disintegrate. The Eastern driver did his best to nurse the poorly Tiger to Newcastle but the thing expired in Ponteland. National Express support swung into action and about an hour or so later, a replacement coach (probably some Plaxton bodied Leopard from a small coach firm) appeared, and took us to Newcastle. I got to Gallowgate and had chance to go to the gents, reappearing to hear the duty inspector shouting passengers for Darlington. After a whole 5 mins break, I was back on my fourth coach of the journey, arriving in Darlington an hour later. My dad was waiting and complaining about the coach being late. I suggested that he'd had it easy, simply waiting for me, as I recounted the journey.

I can also recall a very skilled United driver at Bishop Auckland where the clutch cylinder went on the LH I was travelling on, as he managed to get it from Spennymoor to Bishop without a clutch and using it almost as a crash gearbox....but tell that to kids today and they wouldn't believe you!
Driving a stottie box ( Leyland LH) from Newbiggin by the sea to Newcastle I lost the use of my clutch and managed the last few miles by matching the revs to change gear, with care it was possible to get a smooth change.
 

TheGrandWazoo

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Driving a stottie box ( Leyland LH) from Newbiggin by the sea to Newcastle I lost the use of my clutch and managed the last few miles by matching the revs to change gear, with care it was possible to get a smooth change.

That's exactly what the Bishop driver was doing on that Bristol LH. I was taught to do the same by my dad as you never know when you might need it! Reasonably easy going up the gears but a bit more skill coming down :D
 

Devon Sunset

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Don't know about strangest but...

I'd been visiting relatives in Edinburgh. The coach that took me north had been standard stuff so some Tiger. On my return back to Darlington some days later, I went to get my coach to discover it was a Plaxton bodied Seddon of Eastern Scottish's New Street depot. Not a duplicate - that was the one. The driver was keen to keep on schedule and so we headed by Dalkeith and the A7 - not the sort of journey to experience on a Seddon at speed. I was feeling a bit green on arrival at Gala, but then it was all change. What had happened the night before was that the regular service car had failed at Gala. It had been repaired overnight so we all left the Seddon and got onto a Duple Goldliner bodied Tiger with, I guess, a manual box like this https://www.flickr.com/photos/42213...kSdxka-2kS6raq-2jYgwha-2kS8NSL-2kS6BBc-QQJL4x - credit to photographer

We manoeuvred out of the old Gala bus station, around to the right and out towards the main road. Even at that junction, you could feel a slight clutch slip :s We then headed through to Jedburgh, and then over Carter Bar. What seemed the occasional murmur gradually increased as the clutch began to disintegrate. The Eastern driver did his best to nurse the poorly Tiger to Newcastle but the thing expired in Ponteland. National Express support swung into action and about an hour or so later, a replacement coach (probably some Plaxton bodied Leopard from a small coach firm) appeared, and took us to Newcastle. I got to Gallowgate and had chance to go to the gents, reappearing to hear the duty inspector shouting passengers for Darlington. After a whole 5 mins break, I was back on my fourth coach of the journey, arriving in Darlington an hour later. My dad was waiting and complaining about the coach being late. I suggested that he'd had it easy, simply waiting for me, as I recounted the journey.

I can also recall a very skilled United driver at Bishop Auckland where the clutch cylinder went on the LH I was travelling on, as he managed to get it from Spennymoor to Bishop without a clutch and using it almost as a crash gearbox....but tell that to kids today and they wouldn't believe you!
Those Tigers all had semi automatic boxes so it was probably something to do with the flywheel.
 

Busaholic

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Early 1970s, boarded a Routemaster bus at Trafalgar Square in the late evening for the short journey to Victoria Station with my wife (I was a child bridegroom!): empty bus, young conductor cowering at the far end downstairs. The only other person on the bus was somebody in full Arab gear including headdress, and as my wife went up the rear stairs he lunged at her with something that appeared to be a sword. I was right behind her, and his lunge luckily only met the fresh air between us, whereupon he jumped off the bus and started running up the Strand. I shouted to the lone, bored P.C. standing outside South Africa House twenty yards away and, to his credit, he gave chase. The conductor had no idea what to do, but I suggested he ring the bell for off (we wanted to catch the last train to our home in Sittingbourne.) My wife remained upstairs, smoking, while this went on, and when I joined her she enquired ''what was that all about?''as she'd been totally oblivious to it all! The bit that really got me, though, was the conductor coming to take our fares, because when I produced my staff pass he didn't immediately vanish but hung round waiting for my wife's fare, the ONLY time this ever occurred on a London bus when I worked for LTE. I quickly disabused him of the notion that he was getting anything from us, considering that his inactions could have led to serious injury or even death. I've no idea what happened to the intending perpetrator, but I made discreet enquiries as to whether the conductor had reported the incident to Chalk Farm garage when he'd finished his shift, and he hadn't.
 

TheGrandWazoo

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Those Tigers all had semi automatic boxes so it was probably something to do with the flywheel.
I was a bit dubious that it would be a manual but knowing the SBG, such things were not out of the question :D

Again, I don't know but wonder if the route was the erstwhile "Humber Scot" that I think went from Glasgow to Hull?
 

Tom Gallacher

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That's exactly what the Bishop driver was doing on that Bristol LH. I was taught to do the same by my dad as you never know when you might need it! Reasonably easy going up the gears but a bit more skill coming down :D
Not a bus, but I drove an LDV Maxus van all the way from London to my home in Glasgow without a clutch including a stop for fuel. It was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be and probably a testament to the old days when double de-clutching was part and parcel of driving.
 

lxfe_mxtterz

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Not as strange as some of the other examples, but probably the most terrifying bus journey I've done...

I was waiting for an Arriva bus at a bus stop in a relatively rural area on a bright, sunny afternoon. I saw a bus coming, and the sun glare made the destination blind unreadable, so I didn't flag it down right away in case it was the wrong one (I had already flagged down a wrong bus earlier in the day for the same reason, and the driver wasn't particularly friendly about that).

Only as it got closer, I could make out that it was in fact the correct bus, so I stuck my hand out; the bus drove straight past me. Clearly, the driver didn't see my signal - I had to chase after the bus to get it to stop, and when it did, the doors flung open and the driver yelled in an unnecessarily aggressive tone, "Look, I'm not the only bus that stops here. If you need to get on, flag the bus down. Next time, I'll drive right past." Even after explaining my situation and apologising, he responded with, "I don't care," and patronisingly re-emphasised, "Next time, I won't stop."

Alas, I reluctantly took a seat onboard this monster's bus - the front seat on the left-hand side. The whole journey was spent watching the driver slamming his fists on the steering wheel, cussing under his breath, grunting, moaning, swerving between cars at worrying speeds along residential roads and braking ridiculously hard at red traffic lights - to the point at which I genuinely thought we were going to crash at certain points along the journey.

Unfortunately, this kind of nasty, unprofessional attitude isn't all that rare among Arriva drivers where I am - I've got tons of other stories of being yelled at, treated like dirt or publicly humiliated in front of the whole bus for stupidly insignificant things (such as this). I now tend to avoid them unless absolutely necessary.
 
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