• Welcome to this forum . We are a worldwide group with a common interest in Birmingham and its history. While here, please follow a few simple rules. We ask that you respect other members, thank those who have helped you and please keep your contributions on-topic with the thread.

    We do hope you enjoy your visit. BHF Admin Team

What was in the B.C.T. Conductors Black Box

horsencart

master brummie
The Question has been asked (but not by me) what was in the Bus Conductors Black Box, there would have been the ticket machine of course but was there enough room for anything else? I have a number of tins there were used to hold the rolls of the tickets I have to assume the they would have fitted in the box add a bit of paper work and I should imagine that's your lot,

So do you open the box or take the money (I am so sorry)
 

Dave89

master brummie
Hi,

As you say, rolls of tickets,paper cash bags and I do remember seeing conductors storing bagged cash from
their satchel in the box. Would the Waybill also have gone in there when the conductor left the bus?
And what about the odd snack !

Kind regards

Dave
 

Radiorails

master brummie
Before paper roll type tickets it would have been packs - presumably of the most used values of the route they were on - to replenish the ticket rack if necessary. I wonder if there were strict conditions about what was kept in there? Or did become an Aladdins cave?
I did have one, which I used as small tool box. Not sure if I still have it.
 

nickcc101

master brummie
Not much different to the Drivers bag nowadays except for the ticket machine. We also had to carry the timetable and company handbook but by far the most important was your sandwiches :)
 

tim eborn

master brummie
MY Gawd, thanks for the memories.
Remember they kept the box and other bits in that little cupboard under the luggage rack, under the staircase.
Lord help you if you were in the way when the Connie needed access, like when they were changing crews at the terminus and they were running late.
 

Banjo

master brummie
I was a bus conductor in 1969 at Coventry Road Garage. We used to have certain shops on 53 & 54 route that would make us a billy can of tea to drink at the terminus. It cost us 4d!
 

Lloyd

master brummie
The box contained a ticket machine and spare tickets plus waybill. The whole lot was handed in at end of duty and the conductor would be issued with a different one next day.
 

Attachments

  • Ultimate in box.JPG
    Ultimate in box.JPG
    85.9 KB · Views: 27

Banjo

master brummie
I always had the same one. At the end of the day after paying in, I would put it in a small locker to which I had a key. This locker had no back to it, which enabled the ticket numbers to be checked against what I had paid in. This check was carried out randomly but, was usually once a fortnight.
 

perry commoner

master brummie
When my father was a conductor on the BCT (1946-1952), the waybill stayed with the conductor. It carried details of all tickets sold by him on that shift. He could not go home until he had counted all the cash taken and it had to tally with the number of tickets sold. Any shortfall came out of his pocket otherwise he would not be allowed home.
 

DavidGrain

master brummie
Also the conductor carried a small directory of all the streets in Birmingham so that he could answer requests for directions. This was long before A-Z.
 

blackcountrymuse

proper brummie kid
I still have my Route and Stage Book somewhere. It detailed every Bus route in the city boundries, the roads and streets, and the different stages, ie, the distance travelled on that section. This gave the conductor the information on the price of the ticket required. Whoa betide anyone who was found by an inspector to have issued the wrong ticket. As for the box, well, that housed the Ticket Machine, the serial number of which was lodged against the Conductors Badge number, and was only changed when the machine failed. ( Very seldom, it was a very robust and well designed machine ) Rolls of tickets, from one shilling, down to the lowest fare, and a halfpenny ticket roll ( For Children mainly, and only during term time, for their fare was one and a half pence ) Money bags, ( Not the modern plastic ones, but stiff paper ones, of different colours for the various coin denominations. ) A small compartment held the days " float ", about a pound in small change depending on the conductors own financial position. The Way bill was a seperate item, usually on a clipboard, which was started on commencement of the days shift. Name, Badge number, Route/s,( sometimes, on a split shift, you could be assigned to a different route ) the next ticket number on the roll, ticket sales, outbound, and then return, route times, and space for an Inspectors comments and signature. This form was filled in by the way, while the Bus was moving, not an easy task, it required a good sense of balance and a steady hand. There was also a leather Money Bag, and a folding wallet for notes. I am afraid there was very little room for any sandwiches, and on bad weather days, I kept mine in the heavy duty waterproof overcoat we were issued with.
I worked out of the Quinton Depot, which, like most of the others, had an excellent Canteen. All the early shifts had a built in break, and the subsidised meals were fanatastic value. Any loss of equipment, was a nightmare. After filling in a report, you then had to travel all the way to Liverpool Street, and then fill in another report for the storeman. Most of the routes were fairly short, but a stint on the Outer Circle was over two hours, and it would surprise no one, that there were several Cafes on the route, where your flask of tea of Coffee could be replenished. Modern technology had banished the old Billy can into the mists of time. " Pegging the Clock ", a task that the driver had to do, was mostly carried out by the Conductor, who would collect the key from the Driver, via the sliding window in the lower saloon. I would leap off the Bus, if we were running a bit late, note the time, turn the key, and leap back on again, the bus never actually having stopped. I was glad when I changed my Badge from a green one, to a Red one, but to earn a bit of extra money, I never turned down a shift on the back on my day off. It was a lonely life in that draughty old Cab.
 

Alberta

Super Moderator
Staff member
In the case of my sister (conductress) and Husband(driver both at Washwood Heath in 60s it was probably their cigs.
 

blackcountrymuse

proper brummie kid
A sackable offence was smoking whilst on duty, well at least while the Bus was moving and had passengers onboard. One of my regular drivers, Ted, used to light up in the cab when it was dark, otherwise it was a wait until we got to the Terminus. There weren't any female clippies at Quinton, non that I can remember anyway, but several at Harborne, Selly Oak and Cotteridge. Ted, who of course had started his career on the old Trams, had some stories of the fair sex, who were almost in the majority during the War. Can't tell you any on here though, far too risque, even by todays standards, best keep them locked up in the old Conductors Box.
 

blackcountrymuse

proper brummie kid
This thread is my first venture on the Forums, and I will finish off with some other things that found their way into that little Black Box. Half a packet of Cream Crackers, already spread with cheese, for they were square and fitted neatly into one corner. A Pack of 10 ciggies,( never twenty ) kept half empty, for the Inspectors were for ever on the scrounge. as indeed were most of the Drivers. Lost property, not obviously umbrello's, but the small and valuable ones. The odd wedding or engagement ring, one half of a very expensive set of ear rings, several watches, ( one a Rolex ) wallets, purses, and various small items of shopping, including a few packets of Durex. They were all supposed to be handed in, and if they weren't claimed, we could go into Liverpool Street and take them home. I once found, and left, two bags of shopping on the bus, knowing, that on the next round trip, a sheepish woman would be waiting at a bus stop somewhere on the route. All part of a days work for the hard working clippy, and now part of some quite happy memories of life with Birmingham City Transport.
 

DavidGrain

master brummie
Thanks Blackcountymuse for adding to the knowledge on this thread. It is always nice when people can talk from their own experience
 
Top