- GrownUps in the Media
- About Us
- Recent Winners
- Visitor Feedback
- My Grownups
- My Messages
- My Profile
- Tell a Friend
This article has been submitted by a GrownUps member. GrownUps accepts no liability for its content and the views and information contained within are not necessarily those of the GrownUps website.
Looking back all these years later, growing up is SW4 the blue collar suburb west of the Whau bridge in the 50's and 60's was certainly an interesting experience
At that time the North western motorway was in its infancy and the region was serviced by two Bus companies and the inconsistent railways
The bus service was operated primarily by The Auckland Bus Company, affectionately dubbed "McRae's Monsters" and Commercial Buses Ltd, both of which employed vehicles way past their use by date, a few were so antiquated that passengers who were on their way to the city were obliged to alight and lighten the load enabling these vehicles to climb the sharp incline from Western Springs, past the Auckland Laundry to Grey Lynn.
There are many stories relating to this form of Public transport in the region, ranging from passengers departing the Bus whilst still moving so the driver did not have to stop or change gear for fear that it may not go any further, to passengers leaping from the vehicle amid plumes of acrid smoke/stream emanating from an overheated engine which had in all probability reached its maximum speed of perhaps 30MPH
During the winter months it was not unusual to observe seated passengers with umbrellas aloft within the interior of the Bus as rain poured in through ceiling light cavities, only one or two of the lights actually illuminated the interior, the rest remained inert
Seats apparently riveted to he chassis were known to charge forward under braking catapulting the hapless passenger into the back of the seat in front or if the seat was part of a facing pair then into the lap of fellow passengers.
This only occurred if the vehicle had an adequate braking system as it was not unusual for passengers waiting at a designated stop to actually board the vehicle at some other point further down the road due to the Drivers inability to halt progress
The trains which serviced the area were slightly more comfortable but equally as unreliable more particularly in the area of timing, they were however extremely efficient in flattening pennies left on the rails as they passed through a plethora of whistle stops between Waitakere and Avondale "stations"
This form of transport was however very popular with business men working in Auckland city and they could be seen waiting to board complete with leather valises in which was carried a packed lunch, Cribbage board and the morning paper all prerequisites for the 50 minute journey
For the most part the "Business Specials" had all passed by 7.45am paving the way for the School run which provided transport to the inner suburbs containing the "Flash harry" grammar schools and other similar institutions with the catholic Diocese.
It was the pupils of the latter which provided the locals with a never ending source of amusement in one form or another and many a time one or more did not actually make it onto the correct train, those that did certainly suffered a host of playful indignities which today would be viewed as definitely not PC
The main game of the day was to attempt to ride free by avoiding the ticket collector so that the 12 trip concession card would last as long as possible
This involved many ploys from hiding in back to back seat cavities , nestling between two adults reading newspapers or simply being conveniently in one of Toilets for a prolonged period, this was a last resort however as the plumbing was never of a very good standard.
The really clever ones took to collecting ticket punching s and seamlessly gluing them back in place to be used over and over until the card finally disintegrated.
Yes SW4 was a fun place to be in those days