Ok so there are old people and OLD people. Some people get old but stay young and others seem to get old. This is about OLD people. I hope you see the difference.
We live near a community centre that has a pensioner's coffee morning and lunch club. Every week they have a trip or two out in the local community bus. So far so good. Sounds OK and on the face of it, it is. The room they meet in could be better but it has some comfyish chairs and they get together for a natter. So what's the problem I hear you ask.
DH has just started to do a bit of voluntary driving for them. They have three other volunteer drivers so DH has only been covering trips that the others couldn’t/didn’t want to do. I go with him and up to now we’ve done four trips. The first was one that we suggested and everyone seemed happy. We took them to Saltaire, Shipley Glen and Esholt (the original Emmerdale village). The second was to Hebden Bridge to which we added a visit to a bakery/café where you could watch cakes being decorated whilst you drank your tea and Oxenhope to see the steam trains because just Hebden Bridge didn’t seem to be much considering they’d paid £7.50 each. The old people seemed to be really happy with the extras although a couple told us that the other drivers weren’t so happy lol. Neither were they happy that we dropped people off near to their homes rather than at a central point although it made sense to us as it was no hassle to do a few more drop offs.
The last three trips haven’t been so nice but we thought it was what the people wanted. A couple of weeks ago we went to Leeds market for 4 hours. We past the time at the museum because we couldn’t see what people could do in a market for 4 hours. Last week we took them to Barnsley market. Again they there for 4 hours. We wandered around as slowly as we could and had lunch but we couldn’t pass more than 2 hours lol. We wandered again and ended up back in the bus an hour early because we were so bored. Today we went to the York Designer Outlet. Yet another 4 hours shopping. When they came back to the bus I commented on how much they liked shopping as they’d been to Leeds, Barnsley and now York Designer Outlet for 4 hours each time.
“Oh no,” they said, “we hate shopping but we go where they decide because after all it’s a day out.”
“What do you mean?” we asked. “Don’t you have any say in where you go?”
Apparently the drivers and the centre manager have a meeting and decide where the trips will go. They don’t even ask the old people.
We asked them what sort of places they’d like to go to. They weren’t fussed but they didn’t like to be told where to eat. Again we asked what they meant. And here’s where we found out about the rip offs. Some of the trips include a meal (which they have to pay for on the day). They don’t have any choice. If they don’t go for the meal they can’t go on the trip. It turns out the driver gets a freebie from the restaurant for taking so many customers in. There also go to certain garden centres for coffee (whether they want it or not) and yet again the driver gets a freebie. The driver also uses those trips to buy her gardening requirements and transports them in the minibus. The other ‘trip’ they told us about was the mystery tour. Sounds OK until you find out they always end up at one of three places and guess what? They have to have a coffee in a certain café and the driver gets a freebie.
These people are paying for a day out and basically getting taken to where ever the driver wants/needs to be. Sometimes they go to the Dales because one of the drivers' has family up there and visits them whilst his poor passengers go wandering around the same place they’ve been a million times before. To crown it all the centre manager gives the driver £5 for lunch and the passengers have a whip round for the driver which usually amounts to between £7 and £12 so it's not as if they do it totally out of the goodness of their hearts. We tried to say no to the whip round but the passengers wouldn't hear of it.
We made a few suggestions of places to go and they were really keen. They haven’t even been to the Deep in Hull which is only 6 miles away. So if DH loses his job and is able to do more driving we’re going to shake up the system and take them for proper days out lol.
vampirequeen Tue 09-Dec-14 20:26:51
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