Rediscover your freedom on with the Senior Pass!
We meet people at Leeds City Bus Station who are keen to get on the buses.
FEB/MAR 2023 ISSUE
THE PEOPLE PERSON- Gloria
I love travelling by the buses. It stretches my imagination no end. I play games on the bus, with myself. When passengers get on the bus, I try to work out where they’re going. More often than not, I hear the conversations they are having – and I find out where they are really going! I see things every day. And I hear things every day. I’m planning to write stories about what I hear on the buses. I was on the bus one day, when I heard a young man took a telephone call – obviously from his girlfriend. And he proceeded to dump her! Then I had another story from a lady sitting behind me, about how she chose her partner by star signs. Another gentleman was telling the whole bus about all the tablets he takes! So there are all these stories. People sit beside me and a conversation starts. One day, I was travelling to Huddersfield and this lady told me the whole story about how her husband had left her. I’m a good listener. I thought, “Why is she telling me all this?” Perhaps it’s because she knew she would see me again. And I was a good person to unburden to. I just love people. And I love being around people.
I’m a retired midwife. I worked for over thirty years in the community. I’m originally from the Caribbean. I came here at 19-years-old to train as a nurse. I trained in Hampshire and London; then moved to Leeds to do my midwifery training. I worked in Leeds, delivering babies in people’s homes. I was attached to St James’s Hospital. I loved it. Because I was a midwife, I drove. When I retired, I had a car but I realised I was doing fewer journeys. I thought to myself, “Do I really need a car?” I qualify for a bus bass anyway. So just before Covid, I decided to give up driving and sold my car. I started more bus travel.
Gloria sits on the bus and people just talk. She loves to hear stories and people love to tell them to her. She’s an ex-midwife, a lay minister, a volunteer, a storyteller - and she gets everywhere by bus.
"I love the buses. I’ll always travel on the buses. I very rarely take a taxi. They are very expensive."
I live in Moortown and my bus comes down Chapeltown Road. It’s a straight journey into Leeds. I use the bus during the week to come to the Reginald Centre for the Black Health Initiative. I work as a volunteer in the café. I’m a people-person and I’m involved in a huge number of organisations. I’m part of the team who run the Mary Seacole Gardens – and we are organising a makeover, including a new bust. Because a lot of people know me, they come to the café to see me. They tell me about their bereavements, about whatever problems they may have, to come just for a chat. Even if they don’t know me, they talk. One day a lady came to talk to me – she told me she was training to be a witch. People just talk to me! People tell me personal things, especially when they find out I was a midwife.
On a Sunday I travel on the bus from Leeds to Pudsey. I leave the house at 8.20am and change buses at the Bus Sta- tion. I go to church in Pudsey - I attend a Moravian church there. Fulneck Moravian Church. I’m a lay minster. I was brought up in the Caribbean and went to the Moravian church there. It has a German history. When I moved to Leeds, nobody seemed to have heard of the Moravian church. There wasn’t one, as far as I knew. Recently, I just had the urge to go back to the church of my youth. And I found out there was one in Pudsey. I’ve been in Leeds fifty years and I never knew! It’s an almost identical worship style to the one in the Caribbean. I’m so comfortable in that church. I think it’s because it’s in my blood. After six months, a visiting minister came to the service. He came over and chatted to me. And it turned out he was the grandson of the bishop who had done my confirmation!
I love the buses. I’ll always travel on the buses. I very rarely take a taxi. They are very expensive and I live on a pension. On the bus, it’s free. The freedom is marvellous. But people should behave. I’m a force to be reckoned with! I hear so much on the buses. They are great for stories – and I hope to write a book of stories from the buses one day!
ann and peter
Ann and Peter are catching a bus back to their home in Rothwell. “We have a car,” says Peter. “But we use the bus. We never come into Leeds in the car.” The journey is quick and easy – normally it takes about 15 minutes. The couple come in and out of
the city centre regularly. “We’ve just been to the pictures,” enthuses Ann. “Absolutely superb!”Before Covid, Ann and Peter were frequent cinema-goers. However, they’ve been nervous of going indoor spaces, because of the virus. “It’s our first time since lockdown today,” says Ann.
Ann and Peter come into Leeds every week for a walking group. The group meet at the Bus Station and visit locations across Yorkshire. “We get to the countryside and all sort of places, “says Ann. “Last week we were in Horsforth. There were 24 of us. It used to be a walking group that had been going since the 1970s. Then, in the lockdown, it folded. But we all still meet, even though it’s not an official group.” It’s a full day’s adventure; they usually leave the house at 10am and get back at 6. Members of the group take a packed lunch, but the highlight comes after the walk: “We get to the pub when we’ve finished!” says Ann. “That’s the best bit,” laughs Peter. Ann is keen to stress how social the group is: “They’re really good company. We have a lot of friends in the group.” The couple have an infectious good humour and love the bus as a means to get into the countryside. “We love a day out!” says Ann.
Ann and Peter have lived in Rothwell for 20 years and have been together for 56 years. They use the bus to come into the centre of Leeds and go all over Yorkshire with their walking group.
“We get to the countryside and all sort of places"
John and Pat
Khwaja comes to Leeds on the bus from Bradford. He’s really keen on using the bus to get around. “I’m disabled so I can use my pass really easily,” he says. “The bus is usually on time, usually get a seat.” Khwa- ja’s disability means that getting a bus is the simplest, safest – and cheapest option. Khwaja comes to the city to study. “I go to the library, up to the college” he says. His specialism is history: “Ancient history, classical history, that sort of thing.” He’s interested in the ancient world and researches the history of the Arabic and Muslim people’s. Khwaja went to the University of Oxford and has taught at the University of Leeds.
Khwaja much prefers Leeds to his home city of Bradford. “People are much friendlier here,” he says. “The Pakistani people are very nice.” He is a very chatty and active person and involved with many organi- sations. He likes to help other disabled people learn about ancient history and develop other skills. “I like to get around,” he says.
Khwaja is an ancient historian who uses the bus to get to Leeds on a regular basis. He knows many people and is very sociable.
John: We’ve travelled from Rawdon. It’s a spot-on bus service. The bus was absolutely on time. The bus driver was perfect.
Pat: He didn’t talk very much but he said “Cheerio!” when we got off. We’ve moved house so we could be on a bus route. It comes to Leeds and we can go to Bradford, Ilkley, Harrogate. And Otley. We’d never normally come on the bus. Never use a bus. It was a novelty.
John: We don’t use the bus passes normally, but we’ve just started. We haven’t used the bus for many years because were off the bus route. We had quite a walk form where we lived. A bit less use of the car, is the idea.
Pat: It’s too expensive! The bus is cheap. We get it free.
John: And I’ve never enjoyed driving. It’s an A-to-B job as far as we’re concerned.
Pat: I used to enjoy it but I hate it now.
John: Instead of fetching the car to Leeds and parking in John Lewis, we’ll be able to go with the bus. Maybe we’ll come to Leeds then go on to Wetherby, rather than take the car. In the good weather.
Pat: Sit by the river. And there’s the bus that takes you to the seaside – for nothing. That’s a good thing.
John: Today we’ve been looking at ladies’ fashions...
Pat: I’ve bought a cardigan. We went to Pret for lunch.
John: The cardigan was a bargain price.
Pat: For Valentine’s Day! We’ve been married for 56 years. We met at work, in printing. Now we’ve got 2 daughters, 4 granddaughters, 2 great-granddaughters – all girls. And another on the way.
John: And we’re waiting for another new one – if it’s a girl, it’ll be Girl Number 8!
John and Pat moved house to be nearer to a bus stop. We spoke to them on their first day of trying out the bus!
"We don’t use the bus passes normally, but we’ve just started. We haven’t used the bus for many years because we are off the bus route. A bit less use of the car, is the idea."
There are many ways to explore Yorkshire with the Senior Pass, the way for older people to travel for free. Go for a drink, see a film, meet up with family and friends, volunteer, go shopping. The possibilities are endless!
Check out all the details about how you can use your Senior Pass to rediscover Yorkshire here on the First Bus website:
You can use the First Bus app to see when the next bus is due – and where it is in real time. All the details on how to put the app on your smart phone are online here