Title: A London Country
Busman 1975-1990 Author: Matthew Keyte Publisher: Capital Transport
Publishing ISBN: 978-1-85414-481-2 Specification: 305mm x 220mm,
144pp, hardback Price: £30
Matthew Keyte is an enthusiast and professional busman with a passion for scheduling. “I can pick up a timetable and analyse it to see where the changeovers might be, to see where the most efficient duties might be, to see if drivers’ hours rules might be breached,” he writes in this account of the first 15 of his 45 years in the industry, starting as a junior management trainee.
His enthusiasm is more for software than hardware. “I spent nine months in Schedules South [at London Country Bus Services] and at the end of it realised that I was much more interested in what the buses did than what the buses were; after all, without passengers there would be no buses.”
Those formative years were spent with London Country and one of its four successors, and this commendably human memoir describes the people he met there. Men known to their workmates as ‘Tinny’, ‘Spud’ and ‘The Prof’, a formidable chief driving instructor whose given name really was Mr Perfect and a driver called ‘Ginger’ who worked on the buses only from autumn until spring, leaving each year to spend the summer as a circus clown. Some had been with the company and its predecessors for over 40 years.