Monday, 15 March 2010

Thoughts of a Bus-taker

Public Transport is supposed to aid the general population in so many ways. An efficient public transport system will not only save time and money, but also the environment. The aim of public transport is to reduce the need to drive a personal automobile, cause congestion and in the end, waste money and resources.

London, one of the supposed leading countries of the world, fails in this aspect. Our public transport consists of Trains, Trams, Underground, Buses, Taxis and even boat services. I doubt any of these fulfil the aims and purposes of public transport to an acceptable level.

However, the one that surpasses expectations the most, the one that EVERYONE gets annoyed about, are the buses. Being a regular bus taker, I have devised a few simple rules to guarantee successfully getting on the bus when there is a rush, as well as a peaceful and enjoyable journey:

1) Take a Risk-
Running for the bus comes at a cost. Your reputation is at risk when you run full speed like a madman towards a bus. The last person has nearly got on, and you are panting for breath. Just a few more metres. Depending on whether you are in front or behind the bus, you could do either of the following. If you are in front of the bus, literally run in front of the bus. Being on the road means the bus cannot leave, forcing the driver to let you on (I have witnessed this several times). If you are behind the bus, make sure you wave your arms in the air or do something to let the driver know you want the bus, then pretend to fall over. My friend ACTUALLY fell over, and the sympathetic bus driver waited for him...

2) Times have changed-
How times really have changed. When I first got to the UK, queuing was an unwritten law, a sort of common public transport code. Now? Pushing is the norm. Do not be afraid to use a little elbow. Keep your head held high and stare your opponents down. Make your presence known by announcing "I thought Britain was known for queuing" loudly to a friend (which works 80% of the time), as people immediately back away.

3) Body Language
Showing your discomfort or disgust at someone either during queuing or during your journey can help greatly. A glare usually works its magic to those eating food in an anti-social manner whilst a slight cough to those in your way usually does the trick. Be prepared to intimidate.

Those rules are purely for entertainment purposes, but it really does reflect how crazy people have become. Why do they need to do any of those things?

-Buses never being on time along with inconsiderate uncompassionate evil drivers mean people have to make an additional effort to run and even putting their lives at risk just to get from A to B.

-Rude antisocial unmannered youths pushing their way onto the bus have influenced the elderly to do the same, and queuing has become a thing of the past! I have to say, it is the elderly lady who does most of the elbowing nowadays!

-The growing anti-social behaviour on buses and stereotyping means that people no longer confront and be honest in the fear of being attacked by a group.

The combination of social changes as well as the slack in reinforcing their laws (such as removing the travelling rights of anti-social youths) means that people take advantage and bus journeys are chaotic both inside and out. People don't care if they are playing loud music, talking loudly, swearing and being profane; NO ONE does anything about it. On top of this, infrequent buses, late buses and general malfunction mean such service is unreliable, unenjoyable and inefficient.

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