Friday, 6 January 2017

The Beautiful Bus Book (2)

Further Research Needed?

There is so much that is gorgeous in the rather expensive volume that it is hard to know where to start and finish. A few snippets have attracted fbbs attention, but much more reading and research elsewhere needs to be done to get a complete picture.

How about a campaign. This handbill was demanding proper blow-up tyres for buses ...
... pointing out the pigs enjoy a comfortable ride on inflatables, but Parisiens suffer hard solid tyres. To what extend Michelin was behind the campaign is not clear, but the company mascot Bibendum features in aggressive pose on the page. 

fbb knows that First Class carriages were provided on the Métro until as later as 1991, but how widespread was First Class on the buses?

From 1928 onwards until 1965 conductors were equipped with ticket machines. 
In the City the conductor (receveur - beware; in French "conducteur" is the driver!) sold books of tickets (Carnet) or single fares which were obliterated and registered by passing through the machine. As well as making it clear that the ticket had been used, the transaction was mechanically recorded aiding cashing up at the end of a shift.

When fbb visited Brussels in 1966 trams and buses all had a seated "receveur" who sold and manually obliterated paper tickets from a rack. No sophisticate system there! For many, many years Paris buses were similar. 

The traffic in Paris offers a memorable experience; half an hour standing near the Arc de Triomphe is both terrifying and amazing. 
Unlike in the UK, vehicle On the roundabout are required to give way to those wishing to JOIN! Here is a much older snap of the Place de la Concorde from the book.
We then learn about radio control and a central "poste de communication" which, fbb surmises, was a very necessary plan to cope with "la circulation des heures creusées"

In the early 1900s, Paris had double deckers ...
... but these did not last long, the remainder disappearing during the First World War. Most bus watchers will tell you that the only double deckers in Paris have bee open top tour buses.
Between 1965 and 1988 deckers operated on conventional route 94 ...
The book tells fbb that the marque was Berliet PCMRE (à étage) with a MAN six cylinder engine.  Passenger capacity was 54 seated and 30 standing. The author does not record how many of the 54 were on the top deck.
The 94 route is little changed, still linking Gare Montparnasse with Gare St Lazare and Levallois.
Is it fair to say that today's vehicles are less interesting?

Then in 1983 the central area of Paris joined the minibus revolution ...
... with the introduction of the Montmartrobus. Here is the cover of the modern leaflet.
Despite the heading "horaires" (timetables) there aren't any. All you get is first and last departures from each terminus and an average ("moyen") frequency.
fbb advises users to treat this information with polite suspicion. On one of fbb's round trips the necessary activities of a team of "éboueurs" held the bus stationary for fifteen minutes along this bit of road.
fbb has ridden this route on two occasion and it was hugely exciting.
In essence it links the Métro stations at Jules Joffrin and Pigalle and wiggles round the "Mount of Martyrs", passing Sacr&eacure; Coeur.
Nowadays, as well as dicing with death by avoiding wandering tourists, scooter riders and other vehicle, your "conducteur" can also aim his bus through gaps approximately 20cm narrower than the bus and battle for road space with "Le Petit Train".
"100 ans de bus" lists the wide variety of vehicles used on the Montmartrobus service.


Lots more to read, lots more to try to understand and a few possible future blogs!
Last Sunday's Quiz Answers
will be published
on Sunday 8th January
If you missed the quiz, read again (here)
Yesterday, fbb went to the Docs for his Shingles jab. Whilst waiting for the prickly prod, the old man perused the piles of pertinent publications and espied the Colyton and Colyford magazine. It was this advert which amused the old fellow.
Give that man a chocolate peanut!

The advert is jolly enough to make fbb book for his excellent services. Sadly, however fbb mansions has no grates and no chimneys. It might be worth installing one!
 Next variety blog : Saturday 7th January 

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