THE WORST BUS SERVICE
Can any bus service rival the fine Haley to Bagnall route in Staffordshire? In 1976 it was reported that the buses no longer stopped for passengers.
This came to light when one of them, Mr. Bill Hancock, complained that buses on the outward journey regularly sailed past queues of up to thirty people.
Councillor Arthur Cholerton then made transport history by stating that if these buses stopped to pick up passengers they would disrupt the time-table.
Versions of the story have subsequently appeared in other books, and have circulated online. However, all these other versions seem to rely on Pile's reporting.
And when I searched newspaper archives I couldn't find any confirmation that this incident happened. Which makes me wonder if it really did.
Of course, it might have been reported in a local paper that was never archived online. But some searching around the Internet reveals that I'm not the only one to have wondered if the story might not be true. Check out this comment by "skifans" in the CasualUK subreddit:
it would be great if anyone can prove me wrong but I can't find any record online of councillor Arthur Cholerton existing - let along from that area in that time frame. If you google the name all the results return varieties of this story, there isn't any other record of what they did other then this. This PDF of Staffordshire County Council elections also makes no mention of anyone of that name. A Cholerton stood (and won) a seat in 1973, 1977, 1981 and 1985 - and did not stand in future elections. The seat they stood in for the first to is Stoke On Trent No. 19 (9630), maybe someone knows how to work out where this is but I can't, but for the last 2 it's called Great Fenton - thats in Stoke but not the right area for a route between Hanley and Baghall, on Google maps Great Fenton looks to be just south of the city center and Hanley just to the north, with Bagnall being a small village further to the north east. But the bigger problem, Councillor Cholerton has the first initial F, not A.
There was also an Arthur Cholerton in Stoke, but not as a counciler. Someone with that name was Lord Mayor - but they held the position between 1971 and 1972. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_lord_mayors_of_Stoke-on-Trent) Alternatively maybe F. Cholerton and Arthur Cholerton are the same person? Between 1981 and 1989 Frederick Arthur Cholerton held the position of chairmen of Staffordshire county council, may they have gone under both names? https://www.staffordshire.gov.uk/Your-council-and-democracy/Civic-and-Ceremonial/The-Chairman-of-the-county-council/Past-Chairmen.aspx
"The nightmare of traffic jams. On a street in New York City, the postal clerk George A. Compton, immobilized with his car in a traffic jam, after an exasperating wait went berserk. He got out of the car and took off his shoes and started to climb the river of cars, leaping easily from car to car."
"Will cities be like this? Here's how the problem of traffic in cities could be lightened, if not completely solved: tiny single-seater cars that occupy a small area."
Source: La Domenica del Corriere - December 16, 1962 (via ebay)
Please spend half a minute to contemplate the subtext of this imagery. A pagan housewife (prefiguring BEWITCHED?) performs black magic to seduce and beguile a priest, with hubby nowhere in sight. Happens in 1950s suburbia every Sunday.
On Friday March 28, 1947, at 6:55 a.m., Bronx bus driver William Cimillo got into his bus to start his daily route. But then something happened. The open road called to him. He said later that he was overcome by "that old spring-time urge." He started driving, and he didn't stop until he reached Florida, where he was found four days later at a race track. During the entire trip, no one ever asked him why he was driving an empty New York bus down the highway.
"Baby, this is it... I just got the old springtime urge."
The bus company filed charges of grand larceny against him, but the public rallied in support of him, feeling that Cimillo simply gave in to that "yearning for escape" that everyone feels at one time or another. So eventually the company forgave him and put him back on the job, on the condition that he was on probation for one year.
Read more about Cimillo's adventure here and here.
There was an article in my local paper recently about a man who was loaning his unique car to film-makers. The article didn't include any pictures, however, so I went online to see what made the car so original. I admit that I am not much into cars, even though I love the television show Top Gear. But I know weirdness when I see it, and this car definitely qualifies. This is the 1969 Checker Aerobus (pictured). As you can see, it has four doors on each side. Back then they called it a station wagon, but it is now classified as a limousine. The Checker Motors Corporation is more famously known for manufacturing the iconic taxi cab. The Wikipedia article can tell you more (and it's worth reading).
Carl Hoffman has done a few things that most of us would never dream of doing. He has flown on airlines said to have the worst safety records in the world and ridden in old buses in South America as they crawled along cliff-top dirt roads. He also packed himself into already crowded ferries on the Amazon and trains crossing Africa. Why? To experience travel not as we might while on vacation, but as an ordinary person trying to get from point A to point B as cheaply as possible. Hoffman talks about his adventures here, and in his new book, "The Lunatic Express."
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.