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Stuart0742

Sheffield Bridgemaster 525

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525 was the first bus I was put on as a trainee conductor in the freezing winter of 1963. Worked on it for a week on the Herdings route. Luckily I had the excellent 'Ultimate' ticket machine rather than the 'T.I.M.'  Some passengers would start asking for their destination by name , rather than " Six " for a sixpenny etc.. This caused others to mischievously follow suite and led to having to get the fare book out causing me embarrassment and delay. The T.I.M., had I been unlucky enough to have one on this duty, required both hands, one to hold the thing and the other to set the dial and then turn the handle, whereas the Ultimate was worked easily with one hand without looking at the row of press-down keys, so, had it been a T.I.M., it would have led the duty conductor to take over to catch up, as it was, he sat upstairs and left me to it. 525 was the only side loader amongst the Bridgemaster fleet, but all had a distinct engine sound and air suspension on the rear axle. Must try and see the old girl again at some rally.

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Only used the Ultimate on trial in 1969 for a few weeks whilst one manning, they were not a success.  W/E.

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I've used just about every ticket machine there was over the years. TIM, Setright Speed, Insert Setright, Ultimate, Almex A, Automacheckit and many others. I have to say I never got on with the Ultimates or their bigger cousin the Solomatic because of the problem of ticket values, demonstrated beautifully by the extract from Waterside Echo's booklet.

Because there were only 2, 5 or 6 ticket rolls in a machine and the rolls had the fares pre-printed on them, every time fares went up you either had to have your entire ticket stocks thrown in the bin and re-printed with different values or, as they appear to have done in Sheffield, use multiple tickets to make certain fares. This was ok, but made the total tickets issued counter useless for counting the number of passengers carried because some fares resulted in up to 7 tickets being issued to a single passenger, which would have counted as 7 passengers. because of this a lot of bus and tram operator's passenger figures for post-war years are far from accurate.

The T.I.M, like the Setrights, had dials and levers to set the fare value, which was then printed onto a blank ticket from a single paper roll, or in the case of the Insert Setright, a card ticket from a traditional ticket rack that was inserted into the machine and then overprinted in a special blank area on the ticket.

Ultimate machines were also prone to jamming and tearing tickets down the middle.

A lot of the speed of issue of tickets was down to the skill of the conductor and the exact way that he or she wore her machine and cash bag. Your cash bag should always be over your left shoulder, so it hangs by your right hand. The ticket machine should then be put on over the top of the cash bag but hung from your right shoulder so it rests by your left hand. This is a golden rule to stop any yobbos lifting your cash bag over your head and running off with it.

In the case of a TIM machine you take the passenger's money with your left hand. As you're doing this get your right hand ready with your thumb and forefinger ready to operate the dial or levers, while the other three fingers of the right hand wrap around the handle. Once you have the passenger's money in your left hand, that hand then quickly comes down to rest on the machine's paper compartment to steady it. By this time you've set the dials etc with your right thumb and forefinger, so your right thumb is now free to press the unlock lever or button on the bottom of the machine while you keep your forefinger out of the way and wind the handle with the other three fingers of your right hand. The ticket then comes out of the machine between your LEFT thumb and forefinger which you use to rip it off. Then drop the passenger's money out of your left hand into your right and offer them their ticket with your now otherwise empty left hand, while at the same time glancing at the money to make sure it's correct and then dropping it into your cash bag with your RIGHT hand. Your right hand is now in your cash bag ready to pick up change and your left hand should now be empty ready to be held open in front of the next passenger and ready to take his money. This sounds complicated, but in reality should take no more than about 3 seconds.

I'd offer a friendly challenge to anyone with an Ultimate machine that on a moving vehicle and taking random fares I could take 50 fares quicker with a TIM than they could with their Ultimate!

However that fastest fare collection I've done was on a Blackpool Tram with an old bell punch machine and ticket rack. I was amazed to discover I'd taken 120 fares and issued the relevant tickets in less than 4 minutes! An inspector who was travelling with me was equally amazed and explained he'd checked some of the tickets and they were all punched through exactly the correct values. There is a trick to that, but that's another story.

 

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Yes, fare collection was a work of art in those far off days. The Ultimates we used for one manning were mounted layed flat making speedy ticket issuing virtually impossible.  Now, on the few services left that I worked I can't help but smile, with the electrically driven T.I.M. we could load a bus up in the time it now takes to process twenty or so passengers, or customers as we are now called!  W/E.

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I agree entirely with Stuart0742  , I think most people who worked back loaders or trams would agree that the Ultimate was the best and fastest . If you knew how to use it an Ultimate it did not jam, after a  week or so as a conductor I had cracked it and when working out of town routes for which we were given a TIM I would go straight to another garage/office tell them it was broken and get an Ultimate, this had the added advantage that in another operators area an inspector would take one look at the Ultimate, not fancy checking all those long tickets and not get on the bus.

Herries Road had Setrights, I thought they were awful and when working suet (overtime) from that garage I also changed it for an Ultimate at the first opportunity.

TIMs were fine for O.M.O. and I think better than the more modern machines,

I have used Ultimates for O.M.O. work outside of Sheffield and thought they were fine for that if mounted correctly..

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On 14/05/2016 at 16:20, Fiddlestick said:

525 was the first bus I was put on as a trainee conductor in the freezing winter of 1963. Worked on it for a week on the Herdings route. Luckily I had the excellent 'Ultimate' ticket machine rather than the 'T.I.M.'  Some passengers would start asking for their destination by name , rather than " Six " for a sixpenny etc.. This caused others to mischievously follow suite and led to having to get the fare book out causing me embarrassment and delay. The T.I.M., had I been unlucky enough to have one on this duty, required both hands, one to hold the thing and the other to set the dial and then turn the handle, whereas the Ultimate was worked easily with one hand without looking at the row of press-down keys, so, had it been a T.I.M., it would have led the duty conductor to take over to catch up, as it was, he sat upstairs and left me to it. 525 was the only side loader amongst the Bridgemaster fleet, but all had a distinct engine sound and air suspension on the rear axle. Must try and see the old girl again at some rally.

I started in 63 around August or September but at Townhead Street but we did have some duties in those days which did routes from other garages ,we did a couple of rounds on the 95 and and a few on the 101,s 102,s & 105s from Leadmill and a bit on 97/98 from Herries

 

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Hi, Sammy. After the training period I also was posted to Townhead St., so we probably met ? Spent weeks on reserve, sat in the canteen waiting for my number to be called, then having to leg it to Snig Hill etc. to cover on the 82's / 88's for a conductor who hadn't turned up, the passengers assuming it was me who had turned up late ! My first regular driver was Haydn Hutchinson, an old eccentric who had converted from tram driving in his late 50's. His eccentricities included knocking it into neutral and letting the bus roll on tick-over on a downward stretch, this he compared to 'throwing-off' the power when a tram had reached speed, quite against the rules with buses of course. He had great trouble with the few remaining Pre-Selectors when starting on a hill, always needed two or three lurching tries from 1st to 2nd. There are photos of Depot inspector Bill Fiddler and others on 'Picture Sheffield' if you type in 'Townhead Street bus garage'.

 I later went on the Gainsboro' Key Board with driver Ken Taylor, a first class, smooth driver; he had a brand new, pale green Ford Corsair at the time. On Remembrance Sundays, Ken would always stop the bus and switch off, asking the passengers to observe the minute's silence and then we'd stand outside.

Andy1702, you're welcome to your love of the T.I.M. , but the Ultimate did allow for holding a rail with the free right hand when the bus jerked and, as I said, you didn't have to look down at it to issue a ticket, you did with the T.I.M.. Four actions to work a T.I.M., 1. look down / 2. dial the fare price / 3. click off the safety catch / 4. turn the handle ( which couldn't be turned full circle and would lift away from your body, sliding to the left, if the left hand wasn't holding the machine steady. You yourself may have mastered it, but most got around the bus far more quickly with the Ultimate which needed no such wizardry. 

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4 hours ago, Fiddlestick said:

Hi, Sammy. After the training period I also was posted to Townhead St., so we probably met ? Spent weeks on reserve, sat in the canteen waiting for my number to be called, then having to leg it to Snig Hill etc. to cover on the 82's / 88's for a conductor who hadn't turned up, the passengers assuming it was me who had turned up late ! My first regular driver was Haydn Hutchinson, an old eccentric who had converted from tram driving in his late 50's. His eccentricities included knocking it into neutral and letting the bus roll on tick-over on a downward stretch, this he compared to 'throwing-off' the power when a tram had reached speed, quite against the rules with buses of course. He had great trouble with the few remaining Pre-Selectors when starting on a hill, always needed two or three lurching tries from 1st to 2nd. There are photos of Depot inspector Bill Fiddler and others on 'Picture Sheffield' if you type in 'Townhead Street bus garage'.

 I later went on the Gainsboro' Key Board with driver Ken Taylor, a first class, smooth driver; he had a brand new, pale green Ford Corsair at the time. On Remembrance Sundays, Ken would always stop the bus and switch off, asking the passengers to observe the minute's silence and then we'd stand outside.

Andy1702, you're welcome to your love of the T.I.M. , but the Ultimate did allow for holding a rail with the free right hand when the bus jerked and, as I said, you didn't have to look down at it to issue a ticket, you did with the T.I.M.. Four actions to work a T.I.M., 1. look down / 2. dial the fare price / 3. click off the safety catch / 4. turn the handle ( which couldn't be turned full circle and would lift away from your body, sliding to the left, if the left hand wasn't holding the machine steady. You yourself may have mastered it, but most got around the bus far more quickly with the Ultimate which needed no such wizardry. 

Hi Fiddlesticks, we most likely did meet my first driver was Ian Green "flying officer Green " I went permanent reserve then Manchester board then driving left in 67

I married a conductress from Townhead Street and she still ain't got rid of me ha ha 

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I owe a part apology, but it was 50 years ago ! Everywhere I mentioned the T.I.M. I was meaning the Setright, but both were equally more difficult than the Ultimate, which for most was 'The Ultimate' !

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