Dick Hunt's Blog

March 25, 2012

Late Taxi. Or Street Car. Or Bus.

Filed under: Current — Tags: — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 5:10 pm

Late Taxi. Or Street Car. Or Bus.
by Dick Hunt, Sunday, March 25th, 2012.

I frequently use the service of the local Taxi fleet when visiting Ruth at Holyrood Manor.  They are usually very prompt and the wait is less than  five minutes after I phone. Occasionally, they don’t appear for up to 20 or 30 minutes, in which case I phone again.  This afternoon was such a time.

I was reminded of two other times when a group of us waited and caused some large ripples.The first was in Montreal in 1941, when I was studying Radio Technology in close proximity to St. Joseph’s Shrine on Cote’ De Neige’ Road, at a R.C.A.F. School which served the Commonwealth Air Training  Plan during the war.  If we wanted to go downtown or anywhere else, the Street Car was the way to go.  At the time, we who were in the armed services were aware of a certain amount of friction with the local population over the Conscription issue. Street car drivers were inclined to be morose and less than happy with the Armed service personel who rode their cars. On one occasion, the operater stopped outside his favourite convenience store to do some shopping and we waited  and waited.  Finally someone at the back of the car said, “can anybody drive this thing?” An unmistakeably Australian voice said, “sure, I drove one in Australia”.  Several voices said, “take us home mate”, and away we went. He didn’t stop to let anyone else on or off, but parked outside the School and off we went to our various activities. The regular driver was not at all happy to lose his street car and a full scale investigation was launched.  All the R.C.A.F. personell were called out on parade and strangely enough, no-one could remember the name of the new driver.
Another occasion took place in South West Calgary in 1943 and the transportation system was called “Felix Monden Bus Company”.   The buses were green, ancient, wheezy and decrepit. The operators were likewise not happy with those smart aleck Airmen from the Service Flying School and the Number Ten Repair Depot. There were times when the buses when full of passengers had to be pushed up the hill for lack of power, by volunteers. Arguments frequently broke out between the drivers and the passengers. On one occasion, the driver and one of his passengers decided to settle the argument outside the bus and went at it with their fists. As the battle proceeded, someone said, “let’s go” and slid into the drivers seat and away we went to the end of the street car line, where the bus was parked and we caught the street car.  To add to the seriousness of the matter, someone stole a whole roll of tickets, which the regular Driver made  clear was a serious offence.  Again a ‘full scale investigation’ was set in force. The only clue seemed to be that the fellow who borrowed the bus was a Corporal so all the Corporals on the two Stations were called out on parade.  And again absolutely no-one could identify the offender .  One would wonder how a war could be won with such forgetful Armed Forces personel.

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