Getting rid of the clippies on the number 73 bus route truly marks the “end of an era”.
That’s according to Derek Simpson, an expert at Dundee Museum of Transport, who said people were astonished when bus conductors returned to the city nearly four decades ago.
The Tele recently reported Stagecoach is to axe its bus conductors on the 73 Ninewells Hospital to Arbroath route, one of the last services still running with its own clippie.
Derek, a trustee with the transport museum, said: “The clippies have been going on this route since 1986 when they brought the buses with an entrance at the back up from London.
“Dundee’s city bus services stopped running with conductors back in 1979, but then this started up in October 1986.
“That’s why they had conductors on them, and they ran like that for a number of years.
“Stagecoach conductors had a longer run than most people thought possible.
“The reason they are called clippies is you have to clip for a ticket – if you had a return ticket they would punch a hole in it, that’s how they got that name.
“It is quite sad in a lot of ways, but reflective of the modern age – conductors are now from a bygone age.”
Derek said many passengers enjoyed seeing the clippies as it gave them some social interaction and made them feel safe on the bus.
He continued: “They go back a long time but the public liked them because they were more interactive, some drivers find passengers chatting a bit inconvenient.
“There is that social aspect, so it is sad they are going, there are few places outside London that still have conductors.
“Even safety was an aspect of their job – I guess older people, if they saw a conductor on the bus they knew if there was any rowdy behaviour they could sort it out because the drivers can’t always get involved.
“Conductors also sped up journey times because if there were 10 people waiting to get on the bus and pay they driver, they could just get straight on and pay the conductor instead.
“Also, if you didn’t know where you were going you could ask the conductor.
“I must admit it is the end of an era.”
Derek continued: “The fact they were retained on this route is to Stagecoach’s credit, but they are gone now which is regrettable.
“They were the last of a dying breed, but it a world where it is all about profit, staff are the biggest cost.
“People are losing their jobs as well so apart from anything else I feel for them.
“It is sad this will be the passing of the conductors in this area.
“But in 1986 no one thought conductors would come back and they did, so you never know.”
Derek added although they have exhibits on clippies at the Dundee Museum of Transport, they won’t be able to hold a special event to mark this milestone because of coronavirus restrictions.
He said: “At the museum we are trying to make sure people are safe and just now we can’t have too many people in here.
“It is a shame.
“Because of coronavirus we can’t do much about this in the museum which is a pity.”