Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Shrewd Pensioners Know How To Save Money

I'm back on service work. 12 hours of it for three consecutive days. Purgatory, you may think. But oh no, it couldn't be more different.

I'm driving a donkeys old service from Tyneside to the Lake District. The route started way before the Second World War and at it's peak, the company ran six buses, following one other on a daily service throughout the summer.

It's down to one bus now and the numbers are up and down, but still good. The service's salvation has been the free bus passes for old aged pensioners which has ensured good support for a day trip to the Lakes. Today looked unpromising as I picked up only four passengers from the coach station at the start of the journey. By the time I had reached the Cumbrian border, the bus was full.

One of the passengers was being consoled by the other more experienced pensioners for having to pay anything at all for the trip, let alone £9-50. This was because the authority where the bus started did not accept passes until 9.30am. The bus unfortunately leaves at 9.20am. But they still go for half fare.

"What you do," said one old hand in a whisper, in the misguided belief that I, the driver, could not hear, "is you get yourself to............ road ends where the bus stops at 9.30, then you pay nothing."

I even managed to pick up an Indian family who were intending to take another bus to the same destination. Dare I say it, I felt it was the price rather than the beauty of the bus and its driver which was the deciding factor.

But who will care. My boss won't.

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