HOW TO USE A BUS – AN ALTERNATIVE GUIDE
Tuesday 22 January 2008
WMESB™: No problems today, except for a couple of ditherers, who always seem to be at the front of the queue for the 53 or 55. Make your bloody minds up!!
Talking of public transport, a colleague mentioned she’d seen a piece on GMTV this morning about Stagecoach issuing a leaflet on how to use the bus. I found the article on the Telegraph website. Sadly, the leaflet just comes across as rather patronising, especially to anyone with the slightest semblance of intelligence. Let’s take a look at the advice given:
“When you see your bus approaching the bus stop (check the route number on the front) simply signal for the driver to stop clearly putting your arm out. Wait for the bus to stop and the doors to open and hop onboard!”
The first line is common sense but its amazing how many people don’t do it and are then amazed when a bus drives past them. The driver’s not a mind reader. Of course at some stops into Edinburgh it doesn’t matter if you indicate correctly or not because the bus won’t stop. Usually down to the driver being in the wrong lane and not being bothered to correct his own error. Anyone trying to get on a 53 or 55 at the Garden Court Holiday Inn at Craigleith will know exactly what I mean. As for the hopping?
“Tell the driver where you are going and what type of ticket you require – if you’re ensure then your driver will be able to advise you”
I wouldn’t bet on it. Regular passengers like me know the buses better than the drivers. Although to be fair to them, passengers don’t do enough research of their own into what buses go where and what ticket they might need. If they did the buses might not be delayed so often.
“But please remember you are not the only passenger on the bus, it’s not very nice for people to have to listen to loud music or ringtones, smell other people’s food or wade through their litter. Keep the buses nice for everyone!!”
Individual ringtones can’t be helped but when you have some moron playing every single ringtone to their friend or playing games without the mute button then, as far as I am concerned, they are fair game for a verbal assault of Alex Ferguson hairdryer proportions. People should also ensure that they have good quality earphones so that other passengers don’t have to listen to their shite taste in music. Anyone listening to girl groups, 60s pop, 70s powerpop or 80s indie is obviously exempt.
“If you are unsure about where you have to get off, then simply tell the driver when you get on where you need to be and ask if he can let you know when to get off. If you know where you are going then just press the bell once when you want to get off”.
We only need ONE person to press the bell ONCE. We don’t need a full rendition of The Floral Dance.
There is certainly a missed opportunity and I’d like to add a few suggestions of my own to improve the use of public transport.
If you’re at the front of the queue:
- Be positive and don’t dither. It’s your responsibility to move as soon as your bus comes into view. As the head of the queue, you’re in control and people behind are looking to you for guidance. Don’t wait for the bus to stop before you move because the people behind you will get very irritated and you also risk being overtaken by scourge of the public transport user – the queue-jumper. Having said that, if you don’t move, you’re fair game and will be left behind. It’s survival of the fittest and no room for, er, passengers.
If someone tries to jump the queue:
- Confront them and shame them. Remind them that there is a queue and you’ve not been waiting for half an hour in the cold just for some Johnny-come-lately to saunter past within 10 seconds of arriving at the stop/terminus/park and ride. Back up the person confronting the queue-jumper and they’ll soon take the hint. Unless he’s built like a brick outhouse. Or the driver.
If you’re not sure what bus to get:
- Do some research. Phone the company or visit their website ahead of time. Don’t leave it until the last minute and assume there will be plenty of buses. All this does is delay the bus and upset the regulars who will scowl at you when you finally take your seat. It’s not hard; it’s not rocket science.
- Don’t assume the driver knows where he’s going, especially on a route that constantly changes. Passengers in Fife can confirm this. You don’t need a degree in Public Transport Use but it helps.
- Don’t assume the driver knows how to use his ticket machine either. It pays for regular bus users to know what buttons on his machine he should press for your ticket. That way you can inform any new driver that he should actually be pressing “Mega, 8”. What the hell, you might as well drive the bus too so make sure your driving licence is up to date.
- Put your feet on the seats. It’s rude and disgusting. Other passengers have to sit there. Again, shame these people by pointing out what they’re doing. If you see someone else challenging a miscreant, back him or her up. Too many people sit back and do nothing, whilst moaning under their breath…mutter, mutter, youth of today, mutter...
- Assume that every other passenger wants to hear all the dull details of your uninteresting and pointless existence, especially at a Spinal Tap-esque volume of 11. Not all passengers have headphones that they can use to block out your inane ramblings. Pipe down – we don’t care about your kitchen extension or your extended family.
- Get on the bus without having performed some sort of personal hygiene routine. There’s nothing worse than sitting next to someone who has BO or stinks of wee.
- Take up more than one seat. You only have one ticket and it entitles you to ONE seat. If you’re on a rush-hour bus, especially, then ensure that any prospective passenger has some room beside you rather than having to sit all the way home with one butt cheek in the aisle. The same goes for bags. The luggage rack is there for a reason. Use it. Always make a point of asking for a seat that someone has put a bag on.
- Leave your litter on the bus. Take it with you. Most bus stops have a bin so you can drop it off when you get off the bus. Don’t stick it in the Used Tickets receptacle either.
- Jump the queue. It’s rude. Be patient. Prepare to be confronted if you choose this rudest of habits. You’re not better than a murderer and should be treated accordingly.
There, that's the buses sorted out. Which way to Iraq?