"Ten and a five please."

Life Anyone else of a certain age from Liverpool looking at this little slip of paper and feeling the weight of years? I found this bus ticket pretending to be a book mark in an old encyclopaedia earlier today and was immediately taken back to the early eighties when bus drivers, pre-deregulation, used to issue them from a small metal machine near their cab. 25p would be enough to travel all the way from Speke, on the outskirts of Liverpool where I lived, into the city centre (it now costs £1.50). It would be ten pence for an adult to go one or two stops (it now also costs £1.50 – which is clearly wrong) and five pence for a child.

I remember this so well because on leaving primary school I’d want to rush home in time for The Family Ness or Jimbo & the Jet Set and even though it was only a couple of stops the bus was the quickest route. I’ve shown this to a couple of people today and on both occasions I could see them having similar memories, marveling that such a small piece of ephemera, forgotten in favour of the computerised tickets which came along not long afterwards, could survive across the years. It’s just a flimsy little thing, easily lost in a pocket or bag.

These days, bus companies are rightly or wrongly interested in how many people are traveling on routes and when so that they can adjust their service and also make sure their getting the right amount of money back from their workers, which means printed tickets, large by comparison. In those days, it was simply enough for the council to get you from A to B and make sure there were enough buses to do that sort of thing (even if most of them were falling apart). As with most things in this future of ours, I don’t know that things have actually got better and if you don’t mind me being political in this final sentence, that the companies are more interested in profits rather than actually helping the general public get around town.

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