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Normal Service

Commuters in the Greater Burstock Metropolitan region awoke this morning to transport chaos for a second day running as disruption resulting from yesterday’s 24 hour strike by omnibus operatives continued to impact on their daily journeys to work. With numerous vehicles “in the wrong place at the wrong time” [sounds pretty normal to me [Ed]]” “it was impossible” transport guru Owtov Cervis said “to maintain even the usual level of service our customers have come to tolerate”. “Every journey will be delayed and several will not operate at all", he added. "Passengers may find themselves waiting at some stops for a very long time, wondering if the bus will ever arrive… Fortunately most have had a lifetime getting used to it and many will notice little change”.

Specialist employees like “clippy” are fighting to preserve both their status and their hard-earned skills.

Members of the DTWU [Dorset Transport Workers Union] had switched off all engines and immobilised ignitions at 5am on Tuesday morning in protest at the lack of progress in talks over pay and conditions. The Union is demanding new contracts for its members - closer to those enjoyed by the county’s GPs - ie one-day working weeks, enormous salaries, an opt-out for unsocial hours, the freedom to work from home and an option to communicate with passengers via telephone if their members so preferred. understands that omnibus conductors in the region are also fighting to retain their ticket punch machines in a concerted stance against what shop steward - Everrey Wonowt - describes as an unacknowledged and surreptitious management policy of incremental deskilling. The Union's action has drawn a good deal of criticism but has been supported by the usual suspects including the militant wing of DoLdop - the Dorset League for the Defence of Outmoded Practices.

Amongst the general populace, the impact of the unpopular strike has been widely felt. Regular shoppers Bernard and Sissy Painswicke say their daily trip to the local shops has been badly hit by the logjam of parked buses at the Burstock terminus causing them to have to “manoeuvre around them” and adding up to 45 seconds to their journey to their local Edna’s. “It might not sound a lot”, 83 year-old Sissy says, “but when you are laden down with several Wispas Golds and a Walnut Whip, it just adds to the sense of strain". “It takes away a lot of the pleasure”, adds, Bernard who looks like a man who knows what a lifetime of having pleasure taken away from him feels like.

Efficient transport systems are vital to the Greater Burstock region. Without them passengers like Mr Walken-Sticke cannot access vital services like bingo, public toilets, tobacconists and - in the case of Mrs Walken-Sticke, haberdashers, iron-mongers and certified cobblers.

A spokesperson for the GBMTA [Greater Burstock Metropolitan Transport Authority] declined to say how long the disruption was likely to last or exactly when the 10.05 to Blackwater would finally depart; but, striking a more optimistic note, he suggested that it was not all bad news. “Today is the first day when the wearing of face masks is no longer compulsory for those using our vehicles; so the fact that very few buses are operating is likely to bring significant health benefits to the many passengers prevented from travelling”.

In a further statement, the GBMTA emphasised that, though passengers would be able to sit “wherever they like and with whomsoever they choose” once normal services* are finally resumed, social distancing between vehicles will continue: they will be spaced approximately four and a half hours apart.

* Asked to define normal services, the spokesperson paused before suggesting "more or less as they are now and were during the industrial action only a tad worse".

About DoLdop - Our Outmoded Practices Correspondent Ludd Eiyt writes:

DoLdop was founded in 2015 by reformed domestic flue cleaning operative Chichim Cheroo who famously defended his stance on under-aged employment by declaring that "those chimney's don't sweep themselves you know". DoLdop went on to support a number of causes including the defendants in the notorious case of Regina v Oats in which Mr Ray Oats of 12, The Diet, Chetnole [explore his lovely home HERE] was accused of requiring his wife Brenda to "love, honour and obey him" as well as "keep a tidy house and provide clean laundry and three square meals a day". Mr Oats famously lost the case in what proved to be a landmark for human rights and a disaster for husbands countywide.

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