Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Bus Drivers Do Their Community Service

"Would yer mind bringing me back a Mirror?" said the old lady at the bus stop, handing me a 50p bit. "Thanking you kindly." She normally came down on the bus to the paper shop in town every day. Today the weather was awful and hence she asked for help.

This is a piece of the bus world which I am delighted to say has not disappeared in the North East. The community service side to buses. When I started driving on the Vallium Run, the boss instructed me to stop in the middle of the road by the newsagents and wait for the shop assistant to come out and give me the papers. They were wrapped in brown paper and held together by binder twine.

Further down the road at odd intervals I would stop at a farm gate, open the window and throw the paper out onto the driveway. In dry weather, of course. In the wet I would have to get out, walk across the road and place it in the mailbox. I would leave larger bundles in the village telephone box or bus shelter.

We used to transport more. Car parts between garages, for example. I wish people would use certain bus routes more for delivering items. There is a natural network for distributing any manner of things.

Maybe when the Royal Mail is privatised, they will look at this. But I suspect TNT, DHL, UPS or whoever the purchaser is will view the idea as counter productive to the profitability of their networks and sound the death knell.

Perhaps I will be confined to delivering the odd Mirror, together with 5p change on the odd occasion, as I did for the old lady who was waiting at her gateway in anticipation of her newspaper.

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