MELBOURNE AND METROPOLITAN TRAMWAYS BOARD RULES AND REGULATIONS 1957 – Relating to Employees Concerned in any Aspect of Fare Collection, Ticket Issues, and Monies in Connection Therewith
Issued by Order of The Board, HA Warner, Secretary (No publishing information)
Back in 1994 I emerged fresh from uni, with an honours degree in science in my pocket, bright eyed and ready to take on my first real job. It wasn’t until 1996, due to a small thing you might have heard of called ‘The Recession’ – that I got my first job (after nearly two years of 40-job-applications a week unemployment) – as a tram conductor at Glen Huntley Tramways Depot.
They’d made all the connies redundant when the new ticket machines came in – two years later were still hiring part time contractor connies as the machines were not operational and the tickets did not yet sell themselves. I had a green uniform and a leather bag from probably 1957 and into the Melbourne winter I traveled on Z1s (all the heaters were broken).
We had regular training at Transport house (known in the Met at the time as Bulls*t Castle) in Collins St. I got a copy of the handbook because my father worked in a tram depot back in the day when all the old stuff got chucked out so the employees took them home. They threw out destination rolls too – know how much those things are worth these days! They used them on the ground as paint drip catchers, back in the day, couldn’t give them away. Anyway, I have two copies of this little gem of an instruction booklet, written in the most gloriously pompous language, back in the days when people went into the tramways for a career for life. Back when there was a tramways, distinct from the entire system.
I find one of the oddest things about this handbook is how little of it has really changed between 1957 and 1994. The job was essentially the same and most of the things we did and how we did it were the same. You still had to do a running sheet of tickets – ” Each Conductor must enter on the appropriate forms particular of cash he pays in and the full closing number of the blocks of tickets returned.” I was always dismal with mine – mental arithmetic was not my strong point and thus my money never matched. But you still had to write down the ticket numbers on your running sheet for all the different types of tickets.
I sold the yellow paper tickets you had to snip with a punch.
I sold dailys, two hours, 60 plus, concessions of these two sections, and I never sold a weekend family ticket (two adults and 4 children, all day ticket, only available on weekends and public holidays). Everyone’s family ticket block was whole and unsold – I heard tell of one person who had sold one once but I never was able to prove it. Any two adults who wanted to travel with 4 kids on the weekend were unlikely to do it on a tram, and if one adult had a weekly or there were less than 4 kids the ticket wasn’t worth it. We didn’t do the larger tickets, like the weeklies or the monthlies, people had to buy them at the stations, they stamped the date in ink on those, the tickets were cardboard and much bigger. I also checked tickets and argued with people who didn’t want to show their tickets or concession, just like in the book it said to do.
Also the same as my day. “Each conductor is supplied with change consisting of Twenty shillings in cash, and the full amount must always be kept in bag. Periodical examinations will be made” – well, $20 in my day. You hated those gits who would wave a $50 at you. One connie was so tired of a guy doing this she went and got change in 5c coins for a $50 which she hauled in a bag and waited for him to come on. The next time he hopped on and said “A daily ticket please – but I’ve only got a 50 and no change!” she took the note, gave him the ticket, and dumped the change in it’s bag on the counter.
Well played, Conductor.
Pretty much the job used to be a bit stricter and a bit more stringent but all the regs about tickets were pretty much the same…I for example would wear a starfleet badge on my uniform, which is not in the rules and regs -probably there is another book out there for uniform rules, though. Also I was a female connie – which seemed to not be thought of back then.
Some other things have changed too:
“If a car is heavily loaded and a Conductor sees that he will be unable to collect all the fares before reaching the end of the section, he may stop the car or signal the Driver to reduce speed to enable him to do so. The driver must be on the art to assist in this direction”.
Really…slowing down a tram to sell tickets? We’d have been in so much trouble if we did that. Trams run to a timetable and the drivers get beeped at if they don’t stick to the schedule. Great in heavy traffic, all that beeping. Not.
One of the drivers, doing a Chapel St peak hour tram made an announcement: “Ladies and Gentleman, welcome to the shopping tram. The only tram service in the world where you can get off, do your shopping, and when you get back, the tram is still there!”
“No person, who in the opinion of the Conductor is in a state of intoxication, shall enter or mount upon any tram, or enter any premises of the Board.”
Maybe they should drive home instead and not mess up our trams with their…fumes? A different world. And now no more conductors. Which is great, it was a really horrible lonely boring job, with split shifts (early peak, 3 hours off, late peak) and your neck and back hurt from being on a jerking moving vehicle for hours and people trying to rip you off, and a sore shoulder from your bag weighing you down with coins. Whine whine.
Also–‘Mounting on a tram’, ooher–that’s a bit rude! Though… that’s what some of the connies and drivers would do in the tram in the depot parked in the ‘bang road’. If the tram was rocking, don’t come a-knocking. Totally true story. The end tram in the parked road in the depot was traditionally available for shenanigans. And there were tram driver groupies who would ‘collect’ the drivers. Which you cannot believe unless you’ve seen it, I saw it and I’m still confused. Tram drivers – the rock stars of the suburbs.
Now there is nothing in the booklet about THAT.