Hans Indaruck wrote: ↑
Tue Feb 23, 2021 11:58 pm
Yes indeed Cap’n - bus tokens became an alternate currency! If I remember correctly there were adult and child tokens - the yellow ticket machine was for the children (up to 16 yrs) token and the red machine was for the adults? The tokens were not dissimilar in size and shape to the current £1 coin (albeit they were silver coloured).
When the tokens were replaced by a square 8 journey ticket there was more opportunity for misuse (apparently - ahem!) by rubbing a bit of wax on the ticket before putting it in the machine to be franked - then scraping the wax off after the journey to re-use several more times! Such shocking criminality!! This was of course, the advent of the ‘one man bus’ (I.e. sans conductor) - you didn’t get away with much with the conductors!!
Aye - it were tough then - but you try telling the kids today...............!
The bus tokens, as you say, silver and about the size of a pound - but thinner and made of a light alloy. The children's ones could also be used up to aged 18 if travelling in school uniform for those doing A-levels rather than leaving school at 16. Of course sometimes that might not have been obvious as sometimes kids, usually but not always, grammar school kids, had to cover their uniforms with "unregulation" coats if they had to travel through areas where "themuns" lived, depending on who "themuns" and "usens" were.
The tokens were also open to abuse - you used one or two depending on the length of your journey. If travelling from outside the central area into the central area, you used one token and received one ticket. If however you were travelling on one bus from outside the central area, and right through to beyond the central area (and many services went from one extreme to the other across town), you put in two tokens at the start of your journey and received two tickets. Tickets were marked to show where you got on if an inspector asked to see them.
If you were doing the latter (as many school kids did) and you had a friend with you who was only going into town and getting off anywhere within the central area (many had to change buses), both could use one token each, and when the second person was getting off in the central area, and no longer needed their ticket to show to an inspector if required, they could give it to the other person, who if asked for their tickets, could produce two as required.
There were several routes across town that I can think of -
Malone Road via Gt Victoria Street or Bedford St into Belfast and then out the other side to Springmartin via Shankill & Woodvale Rds
Cregagh via Woodstock Rd through Belfast to Glencairn/Forthriver via Shankill, Woodvale and Ballygomartin Rds
Balmoral via Lisburn Road through Belfast then out to Ligoniel via Shankill, Woodvale & Crumlin Rds.
Obviously the return routes on each of these too. There must have been others I can't recall.
There were a host of schools off Malone and Lisburn Roads and lots of school kids travelling across town. Very handy for those who could do the journey without having to change in central Belfast ... if
they were so minded to do the double ticket thingy
Of course the draw back in them thar days was you never knew when the buses might be cancelled due to rioting, or indeed even if you would be turfed off your bus and have to walk the rest of the way as it was burnt out somewhere (usually on Shankill, Crumlin or Falls/Springfield roads as they were the main hotspots - literally if cars and buses were burning. It did happen very frequently and there were plenty of "interesting
" sights to behold along the way. It was then you might have been glad to be wearing that coat that hid your uniform, if you happened to be in the "wrong" area.
Kids nowadays don't know how lucky they are .... thankfully!