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5 June 2008
This is a specialised market with many pitfalls. In general the UK transport operators (buses in particular) used perhaps four types of ticket machines. The dispenser of preprinted tickets, perhaps adding a printed digit or two to indicate class or place of joining the route. A basic printer of a ticket on a blank paper roll. Ticket would contain fare paid, date, class, serial number, route number, etc. A canceller - not really a machine as such - this was a clipper that cut a small piece of ticket out of a preprinted token that indicated the place boarded by way of a stage number. Finally, the modern machines print place boarded, time/date ticket printed, serial no, fare paid on thermal paper doing away with purple inky ribbons that faded to the point of leaving no impression at all. Popular machines include the Setright - a supern British machine that uses a 1" wide paper roll. They print fare/class/stage/date/serial no and are compact and reliable. A nice Setright should cost £45. The Almex machines are generally found in the form of Almex A or Almex E. Both printed a square paper ticket, the A machine being recognised by the selector bands in red, green or yellow. The E was seen in London at the time of the SMS/DMS vehicles and printed route/serial no and fare. MOdel As are common and can be bought for £20, the E model is rarer and can fetch £60 for ex-LT ones. Ultimate machines were popular too. They came in various sizes dispensing a small square preprinted ticket. The machines held between 1 and 6 rolls and could print a stage number on the ticket. Generally the 1 or 2 roll machines were used by local authorities for deck chair hire, car parks etc. Prices vary from £15-£50. Finally, the Gibson A14 - this is the classic London machine. Generally seen with fare codes rather than numerals they command £250-£350 per machine. Some models purchased through the LT Museum has the LT name ground off the printplate which reduces their value. Rarer models are the ex-Country area machines. They could be recognised by way of a date instead of a route number on the printed ticket. They were unique in having a rasping ratchet sound as they turned over and the experienced conductor could issue a ticket one handed by holding down the release catch with one finger whilst spinning the fare selector.
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