7 Crazy Calls to the Bus Information Line!

Original image courtesy pixabay.com

Original image courtesy pixabay.com

I’ve written before about my friend and colleague Mister Nasty. We worked in the GM buses control room years ago and Nasty was the man to pass your calls to if your had any problem callers, he’d soon sort them out!

Photo Credit: North Wales Police via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: North Wales Police via Compfight cc

I was rummaging through a box of old stuff ages ago and I found a list he’d made of silly calls! Scroll down to find some of the better ones! I should add firstly that the picture to the right came from a web page that provides royalty free pictures and in no way resembles the GM Buses enquiry room. Imagine a scruffy office full of cigarette smoke, old newspapers and discarded tea cups and you’re on the way to getting the general idea!  We worked with a bunch of timetables clipped into big files and all in alphabetical order and a big bus route map on our desks then one day you’d get a call asking for a bus to Rochdale so you’d open the R for Rochdale folder and find B for Bolton because someone, usually the person sat killing themselves laughing opposite, had re-arranged your timetables during your tea break!

Seated next to me was Dave with a perpetual cigarette in his mouth. (As you can tell this was the early nineties, just before all this politically correct non smoking stuff!) Across from me was Mister Nasty and then Angela and Katie who spent most of the shift chatting to either each other or their friends. On the other side was Camilla whose nickname was PMT and could easily go off on a complete wobbler depending on the time of the month. Jeff, a pleasant enough chap who had lost his job as a driver due to some unexplained medical condition was next. Last of all and sat at the end next to Jeff was Norm, my best friend on the team. Norm was a nice guy but you had to be on the ball with him because if you weren’t he’d pull some trick on you like dialling in on an outside line and pretend to be a customer and then start an argument with you or, like he once did, pretend to be a member of the public who had put a carpet on a bus then followed on a bicycle but the bus was too fast and got away from him! Yes, you had me going then Norm, where ever you are these days!

Dave, the perpetual smoker, was a dour, straight to the point sort of guy. He’d get a call about a bus to Stockport from Manchester and he’d quickly reply, “The 192 service from Piccadilly sir, every ten minutes starting from 07.30 in the morning.” Then if you had nothing else to ask he’d give you the chop, job done and was ready for the next call.

PMT was slightly different. She’d answer the call by saying, “nice day for a trip to Stockport. Are you going to the market? Oh it’s a really good market there, and it’s all under cover in case the weather turns bad . .” And she’d go on and on.

One day, after a really busy session, I think it was a bank holiday or something, PMT must have been feeling really pleased with herself because she asked the inspector who had taken the most calls. The inspector that day was a really nice guy called ‘leave it wi’ me’ because if you ever asked him to sort anything out for you, he’d reply ‘leave it wi’ me’ and of course, never do anything. On this day he asked us all to hang about for a minute while he asked the ancient computer to throw up the figures. PMT was sure she had taken the most calls but it turned out to be Dave, yes dour Dave who answered the question then cut straight to the next call while PMT was still chatting. Well, PMT let off the most fearsome screaming wobbler, told ‘leave it wi’ me’ he didn’t know his ‘arse from his elbow’ and stormed off leaving the rest of us in a fit of laughter. I didn’t stop laughing until Normy got the beers in at the pub over the road!

GN BusesAnyway, as promised, here’s a few snippets from Nasty’s list:

 

GM operator: “Hello GM Buses.”

Caller: “Can you speak up? I’m partially sighted.”

GM operator: “Hello GM Buses.”

Caller: “My dog got on the 192 at Stockport. Has he got off at Hazel Grove yet?”

GM operator: “Hello GM Buses.”

Caller: “Can I use a birthday card as proof of age?”

GM operator: “Hello GM Buses.”

Caller: “My boyfriend has left his trousers and underpants on one of your buses!”

GM operator: “Hello GM Buses.”

Caller: “What time are the buses to Manchester from Roe Green on a Sunday?”

GM Operator: “They are 15 minutes past the hour at Roe Green post office.”

Caller: “They can’t be!”

GM Operator: “Why not?”

Caller: “The post office is closed on Sundays!”

GM operator: “Hello GM Buses.”

Caller: “What time is the night bus to Pilsworth?”

GM Operator: “Sorry, we don’t do a night bus to Pilsworth.”

Caller: Well, how much is the fare then?

GM operator: “Hello GM Buses.”

Caller: “What’s the fare to Oldham for a normal person?”


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What would life be like without your mobile?

It’s funny how mobile phones have literally changed the world. In fact It’s hard to remember a time when we didn’t have them. Off the top of my head I really don’t know what the last mobile free year was and to find out I’ve had to do a google search. The first mobile phone service started in 1983 in, well, where else? The USA. It wasn’t until 1992 that the UK had consumer mobile phones on sale. I remember buying one of the very first ones round about then, it was a motorola personal phone which was a pretty big device and seemed to use its charge up pretty quickly.

The first text message was sent in 1992 and the first camera phone appeared in 2000 with picture messaging available from 2002.

MobileI love my mobile. It isn’t a smart phone but it does everything I need it to do. It has wi-fi which I hardly ever use. It has a camera which is a must on any phone that I buy but when it comes down to it, I don’t really take many snapshots with it. Certain things about mobiles are annoying though and here are a couple of the main ones.

Queuing up at a supermarket till and the woman in front is just about to pay then she decides to answer the mobile phone ringing in her pocket. Is it a vital call? Is it of major importance? No, it’s her mate calling up for a chit chat but all of us in the queue have to wait while she carries on chatting as if she has all the time in the world. I’m at the point of saying “We’re all wanting to pay and get off home!” when someone behind me shouts “We’re all wanting to pay and get off home! Put that f***ing phone down!” The lady appears shocked to hear this but we are all highly fed up of her, including the supermarket till lady.

Why is it that when a vital call is required in a TV soap, the soap star in question has left their mobile behind or is out of battery or even just doesn’t bother to answer? Soap writers just can’t get their heads round mobiles! They are just a plot busting device so what do they do? Characters leave them behind, run out of battery or just plain ignore their phones. Sorry, that just doesn’t happen in real life. Take a look around you in any public place. People are glued to their mobiles!

Anyway, just to finish, here’s my favourite mobile story. Many years ago when I was working as a bus driver in Warrington, I was at the wheel of my bus but had got stuck in a queue of traffic just as we were approaching Warrington bus station. I picked up one of my fellow drivers who had nipped out on his break and popped into the shops. We were talking about a nutter who travelled on our buses and chatted to all the drivers. Now some nutters are pretty nice people when you get to know them but some are the bane of a bus driver’s life! I didn’t really care for this particular guy so I tended not to let him on my bus if I could help it. By coincidence we saw the same guy just then, walking along towards the bus station and my friend said, “go on, pick him up.” Well we were stuck in a traffic queue going nowhere so I opened the doors and let him on. I don’t quite remember how this nutter looked but he did have a kind of Lara Croft thing strapped to his leg.

“What is that?” I asked him.

“That’s me mobile phone,” he said and pulled out a big 1990’s style mobile.

“I love it,” he said. “You can have loads of fun with it.”

“Fun? In what way?”

“Well,” he said, “watch this.”

Now in the next lane there was a tatty old builders van with a mobile number painted on the rear doors and behind it was a very smart Jaguar driven by a very posh chap wearing a suit and tie.

The nutter dialled the builders number and when the call was answered said something like this;

“That bloody van of yours is a disgrace! I’m sat behind you in the traffic and your engine fumes are bloody choking me! Get that great heap off the bloody road!” Then he cut the builder off.

Nothing happened for a moment then the builder, a man with a physique not unlike that of the incredible hulk, squeezed himself out of his van and walked back to the Jaguar.

Just then the lights changed and we drove off. I’ve always wondered what happened next but if you ever get a phone call like that in Warrington check that there isn’t a guy with a mobile phone strapped to his leg in something like Lara Croft’s dagger sheath nearby!


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