The bus tickets that I best remember are those from when I was a young child in the
1940s. By the 1950s, I was old enough to travel quite long distances on my
bicycle, which I used in preference to buses because it was free and did not
tie me to a timetable.
Bus ticket racks
The 1940s tickets were on
rack which the bus conductor carried, and they were held in place with springs as
shown in the photographs.
A rack of bus tickets as held by bus conductors on London buses during
and just after World War Two. Note the old
money marked on the tickets, with their fares ranging from 1 old
penny to 7 old pennies. Also note the spring fasteners that kept the
tickets in place while enabling the conductor to pull out a single
easily for each passenger.
Photographed in the London Transport Museum.
Smaller ticket rack for use on short journeys.
Photographed in Brooklands Bus Museum,.
Each denomination of bus ticket was of a different
colour and had various destinations and fare stages printed on.
Validated bus tickets, ticket inspectors and breakdowns
Front and back of a used 1940s London bus ticket showing its price and a punch hole indicating the bus stop where the passenger must get off.
Courtesy of Francis Duck.
Tickets had to be kept carefully until the end of the journey.
was that every so often a
ticket inspector would board the bus at a
bus stop along the route and check
Another reason was that buses often broke down, which I
suppose was due to the lack of availability of parts during the
the war and the years of austerity afterwards. When
this happened, all the passengers had to crowd out to wait for the next bus
to come along. Then they had to show their tickets to the new conductor in
order to avoid double payment.
Paying the right fare for a bus ticket
Grid showing 'fare stages' between bus stops.
Passengers had some check on the fare they should be paying because a
grid showing 'fare stages' between bus stops was displayed in the bus, usually above the
luggage hold. Fare stages were usually between farily well-used bus stops.
Changes to Bus tickets in the 1960s
Machine for printing bus tickets, carried over shoulders by bus conductors, 1960s. Screen shot from an old film.
Some years after the war a new type of bus ticket was introduced. The paper was on a roll and
tickets were printed specially for each customer's
journey. The bus conductor had the machine round his neck and shoulders and
operated it with a handle. Out popped the ticket which he tore off and gave
to the passenger. These tickets were old on the buses during journeys, just
as the earlier style tickets had been.
Drivers selling bus tickets from their driving seats
as passengers got onto a bus was years away. When it came, it must have
saved money for
the bus companies because one one person rather than two were required to
staff each bus.