Routemasters! The Double Decker Bus Conductors Arena


Routemasters! The Double Decker Bus Conductors

Documentary celebrating one of London's great characters, the bus conductor. The film tells the stories of five extraordinary conductors from five decades of London's history.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to Routemasters! The Double Decker Bus Conductors. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

# On top of a bus

0:00:310:00:34

# There you'll find us

0:00:340:00:36

# Snug in the back seat On the top of a bus

0:00:360:00:40

# Me and my miss

0:00:400:00:43

# We steal a kiss

0:00:430:00:45

# When no-one's looking

0:00:450:00:47

# We do, do, do what you would do

0:00:470:00:49

# On top of a bus

0:00:490:00:52

# Love knows no cares

0:00:520:00:54

# Why should we worry?

0:00:540:00:56

# When we've paid our fares

0:00:560:00:59

# Spinsters, bachelors How they envy us

0:00:590:01:03

# Riding on top of a bus. #

0:01:030:01:06

Whee-hee!

0:01:080:01:10

Hey!

0:01:100:01:12

Oh, I miss my friends.

0:01:270:01:30

-The job was great.

-I miss the buses.

0:01:300:01:32

-I've been doing it for the last 24 years.

-The people you work with.

0:01:320:01:36

The company in the garage.

0:01:360:01:37

They were good people, good friends.

0:01:370:01:39

-We got on like a family.

-You miss just...

-Life on the road.

0:01:390:01:42

-Contact with the people.

-Doing a day's work.

0:01:420:01:45

-Regular employment.

-The money's useless...

-You think, "I can't wait to be off..."

0:01:450:01:49

But the crack's great.

0:01:490:01:51

Now I've left, I wish I was still on 'em.

0:01:510:01:54

BIG BEN CHIMES

0:01:570:02:02

-BICYCLE BELL

-Morning, all!

-Morning, Ted.

0:02:020:02:06

-RADIO:

-Well, it's nine o'clock,

0:02:270:02:29

and today the last British bus conductor takes his final trip around the streets of London,

0:02:290:02:34

so we're going to play a jolly little tune to send him on his way.

0:02:340:02:37

# Gather round, people

0:02:560:02:58

# Let me tell you 'bout Dupree

0:02:580:03:02

# Gather round, people let me tell you 'bout Dupree

0:03:040:03:09

# And his woman

0:03:110:03:13

# Back in 1903

0:03:130:03:16

# Betty was her name Said she wanted a diamond ring

0:03:190:03:23

# Betty was her name said she wanted a diamond ring

0:03:260:03:31

# Dupree told Betty

0:03:330:03:35

# "You can have most anything

0:03:350:03:38

# "Just lay down, pretty Betty See what tomorrow brings"

0:03:400:03:45

# Said, "Lay down, pretty Betty See what tomorrow brings... #

0:03:480:03:53

Any more fares, please?

0:03:550:03:57

# ..It may be your diamond ring... #

0:03:570:04:00

HE COUGHS

0:04:000:04:03

# Dupree went downtown A .44 in his hand... #

0:04:030:04:07

Coming from Scotland, coming to London, the lights, the people,

0:04:070:04:12

lots of different fashions and so many different cultures.

0:04:120:04:16

It was just wonderful, you know, it was a new life, a different life.

0:04:180:04:22

When I was young, much younger than I am now, erm, in 1966,

0:04:260:04:32

I used to have my hair short, as I have it now, but I looked more like a boy, I suppose, in my uniform.

0:04:320:04:37

And one day I had a busy bus and I was taking fares,

0:04:370:04:42

and a little boy kept saying, "Is that a man or a lady?

0:04:420:04:45

"Is that a man or a lady?"

0:04:450:04:47

And, in the end, I went up, and I said to the little boy,

0:04:470:04:49

"It's a lady, but shush, don't tell anybody."

0:04:490:04:53

You were your own boss.

0:04:540:04:56

And so long as you did the job probably, you never had problems from anyone.

0:04:560:05:00

Tourists were absolutely loved on our route,

0:05:030:05:05

because we used to travel through town and we used to point out all places of interest to them

0:05:050:05:10

and giving them a history of London, you know.

0:05:100:05:14

That was very important.

0:05:140:05:16

And sometimes, often, you would get a tourist asking you

0:05:160:05:19

if you would give them a guided tour of London, "I'll pay you for a guided tour."

0:05:190:05:26

"No, I'll give you it while you're on the bus," you know.

0:05:260:05:29

You see, they went back to their countries,

0:05:290:05:32

saying and remembering how good it was to travel on a London bus,

0:05:320:05:36

and especially on a Routemaster.

0:05:360:05:38

They liked the idea of a conductor being on the back of the bus,

0:05:480:05:51

because then you could help them, whereas on a one-person operated bus you can't.

0:05:510:05:55

Good afternoon, everybody.

0:05:550:05:57

On behalf of Driver Sykes and his crew,

0:05:570:06:00

we welcome you aboard Routemaster 136.

0:06:000:06:04

There will be no smoking on the lower decks.

0:06:040:06:08

We will be travelling at about nine miles per hour.

0:06:080:06:11

The time of day is 10 past 11, our time.

0:06:110:06:16

I trust you will all have a pleasant journey.

0:06:160:06:18

The weather in Copshill is fine.

0:06:180:06:21

Bonjour, mesdames et messieurs.

0:06:220:06:25

Bienvenue. Maitre...

0:06:250:06:27

BELL RINGS

0:06:290:06:30

The regulation position was to stand facing outwards on the platform,

0:06:300:06:35

but for me personally there was always a tendency to be looking in there

0:06:350:06:40

so you could see what was coming up next.

0:06:400:06:43

I normally stand facing... facing the platform.

0:06:430:06:46

You weren't supposed to sit down.

0:06:460:06:48

I normally stand like this or... or like that.

0:06:480:06:51

We used to have a...fire extinguisher there, and you could sit on it.

0:06:510:06:56

Once you left the garage, you were on your own, so there was nobody looking over your shoulder.

0:06:560:07:02

Nothing better than working on an open-platform bus.

0:07:020:07:05

In the summer, it's nice.

0:07:050:07:07

In the winter months, no.

0:07:070:07:09

It is bloody cold.

0:07:090:07:11

You could stand here and, while it was going along,

0:07:110:07:15

you have all the nice cool air blowing in.

0:07:150:07:19

I think of it as freedom.

0:07:190:07:21

And that's what I loved about it.

0:07:210:07:22

When I first arrived in England,

0:07:320:07:35

I really thought that...life was going to be quiet.

0:07:350:07:40

But it turned out to be very, very difficult indeed.

0:07:400:07:46

If it was I could afford to go back home the very first week I started on the buses, I would have done so.

0:07:460:07:53

But I was stuck.

0:07:530:07:55

I was stuck.

0:07:550:07:56

FILM: The control of immigration in this crowded island is one of the big questions of the moment.

0:08:000:08:05

In the last ten months, over 57,000 chose to come from the West Indies alone.

0:08:050:08:09

I think that all immigrants into this country should be controlled.

0:08:090:08:13

Half of them come over here without jobs.

0:08:130:08:16

Consequently, they're making it very hard for our own people to find jobs and housing.

0:08:160:08:20

They come here without any hopes of work.

0:08:200:08:25

They don't have a job when they come here.

0:08:250:08:27

And...that's my opinion.

0:08:270:08:30

They should be stopped.

0:08:300:08:32

# London is the place for me

0:08:510:08:54

# Dum-dum dum-dum

0:08:540:08:56

# London, this lovely city

0:08:560:09:00

# You can go to France or America

0:09:010:09:04

# India, Asia or Australia But you must come back

0:09:040:09:08

# To London City Dum-dum dum-dum... #

0:09:080:09:11

I could have cried.

0:09:120:09:14

I did actually cry one night.

0:09:140:09:16

When I think back, when my life was quite pleasant at home, why did I come here?

0:09:160:09:23

My first week on the buses was hell in a basket.

0:09:240:09:29

Because your very first week, in fact your first day,

0:09:290:09:34

and you do not even know where you are.

0:09:340:09:36

You had your landmarks,

0:09:360:09:39

but you were looking around and you wouldn't know where you were.

0:09:390:09:42

You'd get remarks, "I don't know why our government sent for you.

0:09:420:09:46

"Why did they send for people like you to work on the buses when you don't know where you're going?"

0:09:460:09:51

So sometimes you'll get somebody scratching,

0:09:510:09:53

"How the hell you know where you're going when he doesn't know where he is?"

0:09:530:09:58

At that time, there was a lot of fog and smog about.

0:10:010:10:06

Well, as a black person, I couldn't see my hand.

0:10:060:10:10

You couldn't!

0:10:100:10:13

Those were bad days and especially...cold?

0:10:130:10:16

Oh, my God...

0:10:160:10:18

The officials, the inspectors,

0:10:210:10:23

if they saw you standing by the heat, you would be on report.

0:10:230:10:28

I got reported several times.

0:10:280:10:30

You were supposed to be standing on the platform at all times, other than when collecting fares.

0:10:310:10:36

# ..Well, believe me I am speaking broad-mindedly

0:10:370:10:42

# I am glad to know my mother country

0:10:430:10:47

# I've been travelling the countries Years ago

0:10:480:10:51

# But this is the place I wanted to know, darling London... #

0:10:510:10:55

Anyone who were anybody travelled on the buses at that time.

0:10:550:10:59

You could be full up from about half past six up until half past eight all the time, all the time.

0:10:590:11:06

The workmen, or the people who were doing menial jobs,

0:11:080:11:11

mostly travelled on the top saloon.

0:11:110:11:15

Most of the people who travelled on the top saloon, the top deck, would be smokers or potential smokers,

0:11:150:11:21

and when all 38 of them light up, all 35 of them light up, some smoke up there, you know, mmm!

0:11:210:11:29

All of the posh ones would travel downstairs,

0:11:290:11:32

and even the ones who worked in the City.

0:11:320:11:36

They would always travel with a rolled-up umbrella, a briefcase and a bowler hat.

0:11:360:11:42

And they always struggled to sit to the front. Always, up to the front.

0:11:420:11:47

Snooty!

0:11:470:11:50

I'll be a bus conductor, and you can be a really funny passenger on a bus.

0:11:500:11:54

Any more fares, please?

0:11:570:11:59

I've got a chauffeur,

0:11:590:12:00

and every time I go to the lavatory, he drives me potty!

0:12:000:12:03

-Boom-boom, one in a row! I'm not unusual...

-Fivepenny, please!

0:12:030:12:07

Five beautiful pennies going into the bag,

0:12:070:12:10

and you are the lucky winner of...one fivepenny ticket!

0:12:100:12:13

It's how I was brought up, to interact, erm...

0:12:130:12:17

and always be civil and polite to people.

0:12:170:12:19

And I found that throughout the job, that's a very good thing to be.

0:12:190:12:23

-Would you like a blanket?

-Oh, no, thank you.

0:12:240:12:27

I'm getting off at Market Street.

0:12:270:12:29

And when I first went route learning, at Putney...

0:12:290:12:32

I got on the bus and I rode on the bus to learn the route.

0:12:330:12:37

It's record time, and our first record this evening has been requested by a...Mr Taylor?

0:12:370:12:45

Ah, who I believe is making his first trip with us this evening.

0:12:450:12:48

And I was amazed at some of the conductors and the public in how they dealt with people.

0:12:480:12:54

Coffee, anyone?

0:12:560:12:57

And after about six weeks, I was on the 74s...

0:12:570:13:01

and I went upstairs,

0:13:020:13:05

stood at the front of the bus and...

0:13:050:13:09

Good morning, can I have your attention?

0:13:100:13:12

And I said, "I'm your friendly bus conductor,

0:13:120:13:15

I've come among you for the last six weeks, saying,

0:13:150:13:17

"Fares, please," and "Thank you," and all I get is... "Ngh. Uh."

0:13:170:13:21

"Ngh. Uh."

0:13:210:13:22

I'm not coming down to your level, how about coming up to mine? Thank you.

0:13:220:13:26

In London Transport, you have...

0:13:300:13:33

officials who had little badges,

0:13:330:13:34

and it was a lady with a little silver badge got on my bus the next day and she said,

0:13:340:13:39

"Very nicely done, conductor, I like the way you did that."

0:13:390:13:42

-More!

-More!

0:13:420:13:44

More! More!

0:13:440:13:46

More!

0:13:460:13:48

People come on the bus,

0:13:480:13:51

and you see the character, the way that they behave

0:13:510:13:56

and how you approach them.

0:13:560:13:58

Some people get on miserable.

0:13:580:14:00

"Hello, good morning!"

0:14:000:14:02

Everybody would tell you their problems and their jokes.

0:14:020:14:06

They like to talk to somebody.

0:14:060:14:08

You also hear an awful lot of stories.

0:14:080:14:11

-Sometimes you could be a predictor.

-You do see a lot of life, yeah.

0:14:110:14:15

Sometimes you can be a healer.

0:14:150:14:16

Take care of them, they take care of you, too.

0:14:160:14:19

You see everything on this job.

0:14:190:14:22

# Just lay down, pretty Betty See what tomorrow brings

0:14:250:14:30

# Said, "Lay down, pretty Betty See what tomorrow brings... #

0:14:320:14:39

You've taken children to school,

0:14:420:14:45

they grow up, they have babies,

0:14:450:14:46

and then their babies you take to school as well, you know, so you feel really old.

0:14:460:14:51

But because these children have grown up with you,

0:14:510:14:55

they can confide in you something

0:14:550:14:58

they probably can't tell their mother, ask advice on their lives.

0:14:580:15:02

You have people who have broken relationships who you go through the saga with them,

0:15:020:15:08

or if they've lost a pet, or how they're feeling.

0:15:080:15:11

Some of the older people who used to ride on the bus all day long because they couldn't afford their heating.

0:15:110:15:17

So when we used to get to the points, we'd buy them a cup of tea.

0:15:170:15:22

And if children were crying at a bus stop,

0:15:220:15:25

they'd no money, someone used to let them ride on the bus.

0:15:250:15:28

I've had one or two people who, you know, have had mental problems

0:15:280:15:32

that I could talk round and help

0:15:320:15:35

until such time as we got someone else to take care of them.

0:15:350:15:39

And that's... that's quite sad,

0:15:390:15:42

because people taking advantage, making a fool of...

0:15:420:15:47

There but for the grace of God go we.

0:15:470:15:49

-FILM:

-Here, in the near countryside,

0:15:560:15:58

two African students studying in London

0:15:580:16:00

have been enjoying a walk in the fields and now have to get back to their studies.

0:16:000:16:06

Visitors from overseas are always impressed

0:16:060:16:09

by the efficiency and comfort of the London Transport bus service.

0:16:090:16:13

Collecting fares and giving tickets is very important business,

0:16:180:16:22

and when passengers help the conductor by having their money ready, his task is made easier.

0:16:220:16:27

Any more fares, please?

0:16:390:16:40

Sometimes you would get the passenger

0:16:440:16:48

who, when you go to them for a fare,

0:16:480:16:51

they would throw the money on to the seat and tell you, "There it is."

0:16:510:16:56

And you would have to pick it up.

0:16:560:16:58

And when you gave them the ticket,

0:17:000:17:03

they would stare. They would still say, "Thank you,"

0:17:030:17:06

but they would snatch the ticket in the process.

0:17:060:17:09

This man, he got onto the bus and left his luggage on the pavement,

0:17:120:17:17

and then he said to me, "Pick it up."

0:17:170:17:21

I smile, I says, "No!

0:17:210:17:23

"It's yours, you pick it up."

0:17:230:17:26

So he says,

0:17:260:17:28

"I'm telling you to pick it up!"

0:17:280:17:30

And I said, "And I'm telling you that it has nothing to do with me."

0:17:300:17:34

But he almost threatened me.

0:17:340:17:37

I have never yet been accosted in that manner in my life in Barbados,

0:17:370:17:43

so when I got here to be accosted like that,

0:17:430:17:46

it was terrible, I thought, "Oh, no, I thought that this was supposed to be a civilised country."

0:17:460:17:52

I was at Tottenham Court Road when somebody came on.

0:17:520:17:56

A lady

0:17:560:17:57

with a dog on the seat.

0:17:570:17:59

I told him point-blank that the bus was full up.

0:17:590:18:02

-"Excuse me, madam, your dog isn't allowed on the seat."

-I don't know why it happened.

0:18:020:18:07

-But she was getting off at North End Road!

-He just spit at me.

0:18:070:18:12

"You're a nigger, and don't you forget it!"

0:18:120:18:14

# London is the place for me

0:18:140:18:17

# London

0:18:170:18:19

# This lovely city

0:18:190:18:22

# You can go to France or America India, Asia... #

0:18:220:18:26

There were 32 of us who came, at that time there were 32 garages,

0:18:260:18:30

and we were scattered all over London, and we all kept in contact with one another

0:18:300:18:35

because it was just us, we didn't know anyone in London.

0:18:350:18:39

Imagine a youngster leaving home, coming from school, 18 or 19,

0:18:390:18:44

then to have to come here and do that.

0:18:440:18:47

# ..My mother country

0:18:470:18:49

# I've been travelling to countries years ago

0:18:490:18:52

# But this is the place I wanted to know... #

0:18:520:18:54

The boys, when they finished their normal duty, they would hibernate in the canteen,

0:18:540:19:00

because you could get something to eat and never have to go home and cook.

0:19:000:19:05

Some of them came out here and were about to take their A levels or O levels or whatever.

0:19:070:19:12

One boy, in particular he was so intense,

0:19:120:19:17

and the problems started when he was doing late turns.

0:19:170:19:21

And he would finish at say half past one in the morning.

0:19:210:19:26

By the time he reached home, it might be two or half past two, and he would go straight to his books.

0:19:260:19:32

And he would study all the time until about five or six o'clock

0:19:320:19:36

the following morning, then he would leave the books,

0:19:360:19:39

and he was doing this concurrently from week to week.

0:19:390:19:43

And I'd be telling him, "Man, you've got to give it a break!"

0:19:430:19:46

But it never happened.

0:19:460:19:49

BLUES HARMONICA PLAYS

0:19:510:19:57

I'm going to work one morning,

0:20:190:20:21

and everybody's looking at the common, Ealing Common.

0:20:210:20:25

And my friend is walking on the common in the winter naked!

0:20:270:20:31

Stark naked!

0:20:310:20:33

Because he'd had a mental breakdown.

0:20:350:20:38

But that's the kind of pressures that we were under.

0:20:380:20:41

We met in the Green some years ago,

0:20:430:20:46

and by then he had left the buses and was driving a London cab.

0:20:460:20:51

I was so pleased to see him, and I said, "Are you all right?"

0:20:540:20:58

He says, "Yes, boss, I'm all right now.

0:20:580:21:00

"I am all right now."

0:21:000:21:02

London's always had double-decker buses with a front engine and entrance at the rear.

0:21:050:21:10

Now these conventional buses are being compared with a design that reverses the familiar pattern,

0:21:100:21:15

with engine at the rear, entrance at the front.

0:21:150:21:18

It's the driver who operates the front entrance door.

0:21:200:21:23

Front-entrance buses are nothing new

0:21:270:21:29

but they'd not been tried in the congested streets of the capital,

0:21:290:21:32

and this caused a bit of a hoo-hah right at the start.

0:21:320:21:35

Police said the demonstration bus had been causing obstruction.

0:21:350:21:39

At least one passenger was distinctly puzzled by the whole thing.

0:21:420:21:46

BELL RINGS

0:21:520:21:53

Now, is the winter of our discontent

0:21:580:22:02

made glorious summer by this son of York.

0:22:020:22:06

Fares, please! All the fares...

0:22:060:22:08

I was never, ever bored as a conductor, because you never knew what was coming next.

0:22:080:22:14

-Any more fares before the soliloquy?

-No, no, no!

0:22:140:22:16

Ha, such stars as do collide... And stand back!

0:22:160:22:20

Each journey would be different.

0:22:200:22:23

-A man got on with a snake.

-Each few yards would be different.

0:22:230:22:26

And he put it straight around my neck.

0:22:260:22:28

-Two women started to fight.

-One of them was hitting the other one's encyclopaedia.

0:22:280:22:33

The guy then wobbled a bit on the platform.

0:22:330:22:35

He'd just about lost his legs at that point.

0:22:350:22:38

He head-butted the railings near the Marquis Estate.

0:22:380:22:41

And literally disappeared into an abyss at about 30 mile an hour

0:22:410:22:46

and rolled up this side turning like a sack of potatoes.

0:22:460:22:49

-Come on then, start if off. Let's go.

-Ring the bell.

0:23:030:23:06

-You want to start it off?

-Ding Ding.

-All right.

0:23:060:23:09

Ding ding!

0:23:090:23:11

-What's Granny's name?

-Meager.

0:23:150:23:16

-What's Granddad's name?

-Meager.

-What's Mummy's name?

-Meager.

0:23:160:23:20

-What's Uncle James's name?

-Meager.

0:23:200:23:22

-What's your name?

-Stephens.

0:23:220:23:23

I started driving buses because my husband was a bus driver.

0:23:300:23:34

He lost his licence for two years, so he was my conductor for two years.

0:23:370:23:41

The reason I started conducting was that I got done for drink-driving

0:23:440:23:49

and then lost my licence for two years.

0:23:490:23:51

Dad drives like a complete and utter nutter.

0:23:510:23:54

My mum, she's just so calm and just toddles along.

0:23:580:24:01

The men's meant to be driving and the women's on the back.

0:24:010:24:04

In our case, it was me on the back and you driving.

0:24:040:24:07

I'm the man you see.

0:24:070:24:09

It felt like I was taking over a woman's place.

0:24:090:24:12

You should have put a skirt on. You'd have been right at home.

0:24:120:24:15

In the mornings when I go in there, I have to get his time pass,

0:24:170:24:21

his log cards, sort his money out for his cash tray.

0:24:210:24:25

And when he gets off, he comes in - I cash in for him, take his module off,

0:24:250:24:30

sign off - he doesn't even take his emergency pack out of his back pocket.

0:24:300:24:35

I have to take the emergency pack out the back pocket.

0:24:350:24:38

He does nothing. All he does is get on his bus, drive.

0:24:380:24:41

And when I go in the canteen, all you hear is "Helen? Helen?"

0:24:410:24:44

And it's not just from him, it's from a few other drivers in there, as well.

0:24:440:24:48

"I'll have tea." I'm carrying six teas with lids on - juggling them.

0:24:480:24:52

When I get there, they say, "Oh, you forgot the sugar."

0:24:520:24:55

You're only good for two things, cooking and cleaning.

0:24:550:24:58

Nothing else.

0:24:590:25:01

Ain't it marvellous(!)

0:25:010:25:03

They won't let us have equal pay.

0:25:030:25:05

They won't let us become inspectors.

0:25:050:25:07

They won't let us drive the buses. What will you let us do?

0:25:070:25:10

Shall we tell her?

0:25:100:25:12

# When I was just a little boy

0:25:180:25:21

# My mother said to me

0:25:210:25:23

# Sonny You don't have to beam at strangers

0:25:230:25:27

# Lucky as can be... #

0:25:270:25:30

For the sexually promiscuous male...

0:25:300:25:33

working on the buses would be ideal.

0:25:340:25:38

# ..Lucky lips are always kissing Lucky lips are never blue

0:25:380:25:44

# Lucky lips will always find A pair of lips or two... #

0:25:440:25:50

It has ruined my life, I know that.

0:25:500:25:54

Cos I've been married twice and I've been divorced twice and the ladies would not leave me alone.

0:25:550:26:01

No, correction - I could not leave them alone.

0:26:010:26:05

# ..You don't need A four-leafed clover

0:26:050:26:08

# Just as your good luck charm

0:26:080:26:11

# For with lucky lips

0:26:110:26:13

# You'll always have A baby in your arms! #

0:26:130:26:21

That's it. OK. Yeah.

0:26:210:26:24

THEY CHUCKLE

0:26:240:26:26

When we came here,

0:26:260:26:28

we saw the conductors were so filthy.

0:26:280:26:32

Their uniforms were filthy.

0:26:320:26:34

I'm sure that if you had taken them off some of those fellows uniforms and put the trousers to stand up

0:26:340:26:40

they would start walking.

0:26:400:26:42

They were really filthy.

0:26:420:26:44

They started to have a go at us.

0:26:460:26:48

Telling us that they've come here to show us the job.

0:26:480:26:50

Your shoes would be shining and your hat would be clean.

0:26:520:26:56

Your clothes would be pristine and the passengers recognised that.

0:26:560:27:01

They did.

0:27:010:27:03

What was your ideal way to pick up the ladies?

0:27:030:27:08

You had to psychoanalyse them first.

0:27:110:27:14

You couldn't just go straightaway.

0:27:140:27:16

You talked to them

0:27:170:27:19

and if they responded, then you make a move.

0:27:190:27:22

They would struggle to sit on the long seat. At that time, it was cold,

0:27:240:27:28

there wasn't any heating on the buses. They would sit...

0:27:280:27:32

HIS FEET "CHATTER"

0:27:320:27:34

"Why don't you go up there and sit?" "No, I'm OK here." We start talking.

0:27:340:27:38

Until I get myself into trouble again.

0:27:380:27:41

I'd put my thumbs in my pocket, and they'd find interest in my pockets.

0:27:420:27:47

You get what I mean. Sometimes They say, "You want a sweet?"

0:27:470:27:51

Oh, yes, but it wouldn't be a sweet, there'd be a note with the sweet. So what do you do?

0:27:510:27:56

If, for instance, I had seen a lady that I really fancied,

0:27:580:28:03

I had a trick.

0:28:030:28:05

Especially if it was early-morning.

0:28:050:28:07

I would go looking smart,

0:28:090:28:12

change my clothes every day, in fact. I changed my shirt every day.

0:28:120:28:16

Then I get some aftershave, and when I'd go to collect her fare...

0:28:160:28:20

I would crawl down low beside her...

0:28:200:28:25

..and she would say, "Oh, you smell nice."

0:28:270:28:29

I'd say, "Yes, and you look nice." I'd start a conversation like that.

0:28:290:28:33

-MUSIC: "Lucky Lips" by Cliff Richard

-# Lucky lips are always kissin' Lucky lips are never blue... #

0:28:330:28:40

-Sometimes you'd find yourself with three or even four girlfriends on the bus at one time.

-Yeah?

-Yes.

0:28:400:28:47

One particular incident sticks in my mind - my wife was sitting at the front.

0:28:500:28:57

The girl that I went with was here...

0:28:570:29:00

..and I had another girlfriend on the top deck.

0:29:070:29:10

Everybody wanted to talk, and I couldn't do that.

0:29:120:29:15

If the two girlfriends were on the bus and not my wife, it would have been OK.

0:29:200:29:24

Up and down like a yo-yo.

0:29:240:29:26

You liberty-taker! Give me my darts back.

0:29:330:29:35

-Come here, give 'em back!

-BOTH GIGGLE

0:29:350:29:37

Now stop!

0:29:370:29:39

-No, look, stop it.

-OW!

-What's the matter?

0:29:400:29:43

-Blimey, your badge is sticking in me.

-Oh, sorry.

0:29:430:29:46

-What's going on, then?

-He's practising self-defence, All-in wrestling.

0:29:470:29:51

That the "busman's grab", is it?

0:29:510:29:53

No, the clippie's clutch.

0:29:530:29:56

# Every day I get in the queue

0:30:190:30:21

# To get on the bus That takes me to you... #

0:30:240:30:28

I used to love to ride on my mum's bus when I was little.

0:30:280:30:32

Then I felt very important because my mum was a bus conductress.

0:30:320:30:36

She was in charge of this vehicle.

0:30:360:30:38

Maybe I had it in my blood to begin with, that at one point, I would go on the buses.

0:30:450:30:50

So, at 18 years old, in May 1972, I started on the buses.

0:30:510:30:56

My first trip, I had to book on at 4.44 in the morning.

0:31:080:31:15

I didn't realise that that time existed!

0:31:150:31:18

and the bus was packed full of chars going to the City to clean offices.

0:31:180:31:23

They said things to me like, "You don't look old enough to do this, darling, you only look about 14".

0:31:230:31:29

Back in the '70s, London was the place to be.

0:31:330:31:37

Buses would be heaving. And I truly felt that London was a melting pot.

0:31:390:31:43

And the bus was a melting pot, as well.

0:31:430:31:46

You have to remember, there wasn't anywhere like as many passes.

0:31:480:31:52

So you're fiddling around with ½p, 2p and goodness knows what else.

0:31:520:31:57

At 18, I was a pretty young thing.

0:31:590:32:02

I had men chatting me up - and I didn't know it!

0:32:030:32:07

They'd start asking me questions, "What time did you start today?"

0:32:070:32:10

"Do you live far from the garage?" "Who do you live with?"

0:32:100:32:14

Working as a bus conductor you could have a reason for looking at people.

0:32:230:32:27

So sometimes, people would look back.

0:32:270:32:30

"What are they thinking?" "Why is he looking at me like that?"

0:32:300:32:35

And then sometimes the look would be just a bit longer than normal.

0:32:350:32:39

# ..I want it, I want it I want it, I want it...

0:32:450:32:50

-# (You can't have it!)

-I want it I want it, I want it, I want it

0:32:500:32:55

# Thruppence and sixpence every day

0:32:550:32:58

# Just to drive to my baby... #

0:33:000:33:03

With a job like this... You're a woman,

0:33:070:33:10

so, of course, you take, you WOULD get...attention from passengers, men passengers.

0:33:100:33:17

I stand here and sometimes I look at the mini-skirts them come on the bus.

0:33:170:33:22

You'd have bus groupies. Girls would follow you around on the bus.

0:33:220:33:25

-Conductors were trained in first aid...

-Had some streakers follow me down the road...

0:33:250:33:30

I'd only learned mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

0:33:300:33:33

..run up the bus, run back and jumped off.

0:33:330:33:35

I've caught a pair making love upstairs.

0:33:350:33:37

..both female.

0:33:370:33:39

MUSIC: "Love Is The Drug" by Roxy Music

0:33:390:33:42

I hadn't started on the buses that long, and I met Frank.

0:34:150:34:19

# Love is the drug I'm thinking of

0:34:190:34:22

# Oh oh can't you see?

0:34:220:34:26

# Love is the drug for me

0:34:260:34:30

# Oh o-o-o-oh

0:34:300:34:34

# Oh o-o-o-oh. #

0:34:370:34:42

This knicker elastic don't half cut into your legs!

0:34:500:34:53

You're not turning funny, are you?

0:34:580:35:00

-What you got those things on for?!

-What?

0:35:020:35:05

I'm not going up the stairs on a bus without them, I'm telling you!

0:35:050:35:09

You won't get away with it. One day, you'll forget to put them on,

0:35:090:35:12

the conductor will catch you and you'll BOTH go inside.

0:35:120:35:16

A handsome city, needs a handsome public transport to keep it looking and feeling its best.

0:35:200:35:25

By employing top designers for everything, London has a one-class system with a first-class look.

0:35:250:35:32

Once we decided that we were going to move in together,

0:35:350:35:39

it seemed like the most natural thing in the world to work together.

0:35:390:35:43

It's almost like it was meant to be.

0:35:450:35:47

The first few months, every shift was special.

0:36:100:36:14

It was not like going to work.

0:36:140:36:17

It was just like going out together. The two of us are getting paid for this and this is great!

0:36:170:36:23

# I want it, I want it I want it, I want it...

0:36:300:36:34

-# (You can't have it!)

-I want it I want, I want, I want... #

0:36:370:36:42

We left home together, we got in the car together,

0:36:420:36:45

we got to the garage together, we signed on and we went to work. And it just worked so well.

0:36:450:36:52

Frank and I, we were a well-respected crew because we always did a good job.

0:36:550:36:59

We worked hard, we didn't muck about.

0:36:590:37:02

I'm quite sure a lot of people realised what our relationship was,

0:37:020:37:06

but nobody in our garage batted an eyelid.

0:37:060:37:10

That bit of glass made all the difference.

0:37:100:37:14

If I wanted him to turn round,

0:37:140:37:16

I could get him to do that simply by slowing up the way I rang the bell.

0:37:160:37:20

DING...DING!

0:37:220:37:24

And he knew that he had to look at something.

0:37:240:37:28

He hated working with some other conductors, because they only gave him one bell signal to go.

0:37:300:37:35

I thought, "I know how to wind him up!"

0:37:350:37:38

So through Aldgate, all along Whitechapel, Stepney Green, I'm giving him a one-bell signal to go.

0:37:400:37:47

-Got to Marylebone station...

-DING!

0:37:470:37:50

Bus didn't go.

0:37:500:37:53

So we've got 40 people trying to get to their destination

0:37:530:37:57

not knowing that the driver and conductor are having a bit of a row!

0:37:570:38:01

So I came down the stairs, quite slowly and deliberately, and went...

0:38:010:38:07

DING...DING!

0:38:070:38:09

Frank turned around with a great big cheesy grin that said, "I've won".

0:38:090:38:15

I ain't got no change!

0:38:370:38:39

We had a good laugh, messing about,

0:38:410:38:44

joking about with passengers from Finchley Park to Battersea Bridge.

0:38:440:38:48

Battersea Bridge and back again. Four rounders a day.

0:38:480:38:51

It was the worst two years of my life.

0:38:530:38:56

He used to bully me, he used to pick on me. He was forever telling me how to drive.

0:38:560:39:01

I'd be thinking, "Please, lights, change, so he don't come down the bus and nag at me."

0:39:010:39:06

He used to come out because I wasn't driving quick enough.

0:39:060:39:11

He poked me with a walking stick and told me to go faster .

0:39:110:39:14

Everybody on the bus knew he would pick on me at some time during the day.

0:39:140:39:18

They'd get on the bus to watch him have a pop at me.

0:39:180:39:21

If he was upstairs - you could feel him going up, cos the whole stairs went plonk -

0:39:210:39:25

as soon as he was up, I put the brake on. You'd hear him bang, bang, bang...he hit the front of the bus.

0:39:250:39:31

I was always worrying where he was. if I couldn't hear him or see him,

0:39:310:39:35

I would be looking at all the buses passing, making sure he wasn't on them. I'm sitting there...

0:39:350:39:39

Next thing I see is a 22 go past me, and he's standing on the platform going "Woo-hoo!"

0:39:390:39:46

He'd say to me, "Come on, come on". So I'd go behind the 22 and pick him up at Green Park.

0:39:460:39:50

-I don't do nothing, just stand on the bus. "Fares, please."

-You fibber.

0:39:520:39:56

-I've never done what she says.

-You're a lying fibber.

0:39:560:39:59

All change please!

0:39:590:40:02

So, if you're feeling hungry, just stick out your hand for a Cadbury's Double-Decker.

0:40:030:40:08

DING-DING!

0:40:130:40:14

There were times when men used to start talking to me.

0:40:170:40:20

And I'd realise that... "This guy's chatting me up, here."

0:40:200:40:25

I would often say to them, "It's very nice of you, but my other half's driving the bus".

0:40:250:40:31

And when they got off, you'd see them walk up the side of the bus and they'd stare at Frank, and walk off.

0:40:310:40:39

Frank would say, "What was that guy looking at me for?!"

0:40:390:40:43

Settling down at the age of 18 -

0:40:440:40:47

it seemed great at the time. And it was very romantic.

0:40:470:40:51

But there was a lot of living to do out there

0:40:510:40:54

and, after five or six years, I probably thought I'd missed out on a bit.

0:40:540:41:00

There was one particular gentleman,

0:41:030:41:07

a stunningly good-looking businessman dressed in a suit...

0:41:070:41:12

I got the businessman's fare - he was travelling to Davis Street.

0:41:120:41:17

There was a pensioner on the front seat. He was just looking out of the window.

0:41:180:41:24

I got the pensioner's fare - they had to pay then -

0:41:240:41:28

And I slowly and deliberately walked towards the back.

0:41:280:41:32

I was looking at him, he was looking at me.

0:41:330:41:36

We both knew exactly what was what.

0:41:360:41:39

Four minutes later, he got off.

0:41:420:41:45

And it was a very pleasant four minutes.

0:41:450:41:48

When that happened, exciting as it was,

0:41:480:41:52

it was also a realisation that...

0:41:520:41:54

things between Frank and I were not as it should be.

0:41:540:41:59

It was the beginning of the end, if you like.

0:42:000:42:03

When we realised that things weren't working out, it was very difficult working together.

0:42:070:42:13

It was very strange.

0:42:130:42:16

We did try to swap shifts so we wouldn't work together.

0:42:320:42:36

But we would see each other at some point during the day, when we were out on the road.

0:42:360:42:42

I went to see my manager at the garage,

0:42:460:42:49

who was very, very accepting of the situation

0:42:490:42:54

and he arranged that I could transfer to another garage,

0:42:540:42:58

quite quickly.

0:42:580:43:00

When I told Frank that I'd got the transfer,

0:43:000:43:03

he arranged that we did work together on the last day.

0:43:030:43:07

It was very special, it was very sad.

0:43:110:43:15

It was nine years ago that Frank died.

0:43:170:43:19

We became such good friends.

0:43:220:43:25

But you didn't know that at the time.

0:43:250:43:28

And I often think now, "Wonder what Frank would've thought of that?"

0:43:330:43:37

A whole new plan for London buses is in hand.

0:43:560:44:00

This includes special lanes for buses only, exempting them from certain traffic regulations.

0:44:000:44:06

A much bigger part of the plan is the new type of service -

0:44:060:44:09

shorter routes to get more regular running and buses worked by one man to step up productivity and wages.

0:44:090:44:17

Whether one likes them or not, there must always be changes

0:44:170:44:21

if we are to keep the vital bloodstream of the capital circulating, and London on the move.

0:44:210:44:27

When I heard the conductors jobs were going, I then made the decision to become a driver.

0:44:270:44:33

After being a conductor for so many years, I found it so lonely,

0:44:360:44:40

SO lonely sitting in that cab.

0:44:400:44:42

Although you were higher up and could see everything that was happening on the road, the one thing you missed

0:44:420:44:47

was interacting with the public.

0:44:470:44:50

I did love conducting.

0:44:510:44:53

I would still say we need conductors on the back of buses.

0:44:530:44:58

It's the greatest ambassadors we could have -

0:44:580:45:02

on the backs of buses, speaking to the public, representing the company.

0:45:020:45:06

Representing Great Britain, actually.

0:45:060:45:09

In this traffic nightmare, the mood of the commuters mostly matches the colour of the sky.

0:45:140:45:19

It's part of the fun for "Duke" Baysee, going out to perform before the toughest possible audience.

0:45:190:45:25

How did it all start? To shine a little light in the deep ravines of human misery, perhaps?

0:45:250:45:31

..Desde Londres, reporto par ustedes, Juan Carlo Vejerano...

0:45:310:45:34

I am the London singing bus conductor.

0:45:340:45:38

Duke's been entertaining his passengers with Motown hits for years.

0:45:400:45:43

SPANISH REPORTER CONTINUES

0:45:430:45:47

But now, he's got a hit of his own. No. 1 in the South African charts.

0:45:490:45:54

A CAPELLA: # You can run you can run for the bus

0:46:040:46:07

# But it's rolling on

0:46:070:46:08

# And if you wait any longer, girl, I'll come strolling on

0:46:080:46:14

# So don't forget who's taking you home

0:46:140:46:16

# And in whose bus you're gonna be

0:46:160:46:19

# Oh darling, catch the last bus with me. #

0:46:190:46:22

I started singing on the bus to piss people off.

0:46:220:46:26

# Bus stop...! Do the bus stop

0:46:260:46:29

# Are you ready to do the bus stop? # Once again, my friends!

0:46:300:46:34

Some people say, "Why don't you f*** shut up?!" And others say, "Are you singing today?"

0:46:340:46:39

A bloke from the BBC got on my bus the other day and asked me to appear in one of his programmes.

0:46:390:46:44

I said to him,

0:46:440:46:45

"Nah, I'm a bit busy mate".

0:46:450:46:48

People get on the bus and ask me, "Why are you still here?" And I tell them, "The bus is my agent!"

0:46:480:46:53

When I started, I came straight from the streets.

0:47:280:47:32

Taking fares was like begging, to me.

0:47:320:47:35

It was an embarrassment!

0:47:350:47:37

I don't beg for NOTHING - cos I'm a HUSTLER.

0:47:390:47:42

I'd never had to deal with the public before

0:47:460:47:50

and I was getting it very wrong.

0:47:500:47:53

I was getting into lots of trouble.

0:47:560:47:58

My record was three telephone directories thick.

0:47:580:48:02

Poor attendance, bad language, uncollected fares, aggressive behaviour, abuse to officials,

0:48:020:48:09

using a mobile on the job.

0:48:090:48:11

I wanted to be a zoologist to study animal behaviour, but I ended up doing it on here, didn't I?

0:48:110:48:16

We had girls selling drugs in Dalston, blokes chasing the dragon,

0:48:160:48:19

pickpockets in Shaftesbury Avenue, kids with guns in Clapton,

0:48:190:48:23

two black eyes, one broken nose and a punctured kidney.

0:48:230:48:27

The first thing ever happened to me on a bus was when I got assaulted.

0:48:270:48:30

I was assaulted once.

0:48:300:48:32

I was standing collecting fares and this bloke came up to me.

0:48:320:48:35

He had two carers with him...

0:48:350:48:36

-"Fares, please". "Why?"

-..I'm standing here...

-"What do you mean, why? You're on a bus."

0:48:360:48:41

Thought it was a joke.

0:48:410:48:43

-And just there...

-He's hit me...

-He just punched me in the face...

0:48:430:48:47

Kicked me in the head...

0:48:470:48:48

-Knocked me against that...

-Broke my watch...

-My jawbone is still...

-Broke my glasses...

-..dislocated.

0:48:480:48:54

And just ran off.

0:48:540:48:56

BAYSEE: One of our guys was held up at gunpoint.

0:49:050:49:08

But I narrowly escaped it being me cos I was late. We went straight past their bus at Clapton Pond.

0:49:080:49:14

The bus conductor was inside his bus having a break.

0:49:170:49:20

Seconds later, a gang stepped into the bus and started robbing them at gunpoint.

0:49:220:49:27

The crew was too scared to call for the police until they had gone.

0:49:270:49:32

If I had been on time, it would've been me

0:49:320:49:35

and I probably would've got shot.

0:49:350:49:37

Cos there's no way I'm letting a punk with a gun intimidate me.

0:49:370:49:41

# ..With me now and evermore. #

0:49:510:49:56

The trade union family, of which Ronald Jones was a member,

0:49:560:50:00

will do all it can to bring to an end the assaults and the vandalism

0:50:000:50:05

and bring about respect for others, which should be a mark of a civilised society.

0:50:050:50:11

BIG BEN RINGS

0:50:110:50:14

BIG BEN BEGINS TO STRIKE THE HOUR

0:50:320:50:34

It's a transport treasure that's been as synonymous with London

0:51:100:51:13

as any one of the City's famous landmarks, now, for 50-odd years.

0:51:130:51:17

Yes, but the familiar sight of the red double-decker bus with the open-back platform and conductor

0:51:170:51:22

will soon be a thing of the past.

0:51:220:51:24

There's nothing dangerous about a Routemaster.

0:51:340:51:36

It's the PEOPLE that make 'em dangerous.

0:51:360:51:40

Look how a dog behaves on one.

0:51:400:51:45

He waits, hangs on, gets off when it stops.

0:51:450:51:49

Never seen a dog jump off while it's moving.

0:51:490:51:52

# London pride has been handed down to us

0:52:040:52:07

# London pride is a flower that's sweet

0:52:070:52:11

# London pride means our own dear town to us

0:52:110:52:14

# And our pride it forever will be

0:52:140:52:17

# Oh, my word see the coster-barrows

0:52:170:52:20

# The vegetable marrows and the fruit piled high

0:52:200:52:24

# Oh, Liza, little London sparrows Covent Garden market

0:52:240:52:28

# Where the costers cry... #

0:52:280:52:30

No bus impresses no-one in the world like a London bus.

0:52:300:52:36

It's going to mean a lot to me when the Routemasters go.

0:52:380:52:41

All those people, all those contacts who'll go.

0:52:410:52:46

I'm going to lose my agent!

0:52:460:52:48

Going to lose my agent!

0:52:490:52:51

The beauty of this bus is the platform.

0:53:040:53:07

You just stand there and watch the world go by.

0:53:100:53:14

All the scenes - it's like an action-packed movie.

0:53:140:53:18

And the passenger just steps on board.

0:53:200:53:24

# ..Nothing ever could break or harm The charm of London town. #

0:53:240:53:32

The time has come for Man to move on.

0:53:340:53:37

Cos, if they are moving on, yeah, you've got to move in the same way.

0:53:370:53:42

I'll miss it but... one way or the other...

0:53:420:53:45

what can you say?

0:53:460:53:48

Life goes on. Right.

0:53:480:53:51

-Step along.

-One at a time, now.

-Any more fares, please?

0:54:030:54:07

-Hold tight!

-Hold on, here we go!

0:54:070:54:10

Your stop next, madam.

0:54:100:54:12

Fulham Broadway, Fulham Broadway next stop.

0:54:120:54:15

-Any more fares, please?

-Any more fares, now?

0:54:150:54:18

Hold tight, now. Ding-ding!

0:54:180:54:20

How far? You're saying...? OK, Howard's - next stop.

0:54:200:54:23

-Fares, please.

-Move along please!

-Hold on tight, please. Thank you.

-Hold tight now, please...

0:54:230:54:29

I can do the bell if you like.

0:54:290:54:31

Standing inside only! Ding-ding! Away we go.

0:54:310:54:34

Any more fares?

0:54:340:54:35

-Pass down the bus, please.

-We can get everybody on.

0:54:350:54:38

Will you please sit down?

0:54:380:54:40

We have got a timetable to run to.

0:54:400:54:43

Documentary celebrating one of London's great characters, the bus conductor. The film tells the stories of five extraordinary conductors from five decades of London's history, rich with period music and archive.


Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS