If you ever have to rely on or had the misfortune of using public transport I do sympathise with you!
I did an experiment where I caught the bus for a month. I managed to get through it and now after many sessions in counselling and electric shock treatment, I feel I can talk about it.
Thought One: How Much?
If you don’t catch the bus very often or have never caught a bus before, then you will immediately notice that bus companies are charging an absolute fortune.
A lot of buses in Britain are subsidised by the local council. The bus company’s whack on those extra charges, so they can make some kind of profit out of the route which they are already being paid to run. I don’t see how they can justify charging £5 for a 20 minute bus ride. Sometimes it’s as cheap or cheaper to get a taxi, especially if you are travelling with somebody else.
Whatever you do, do not hand a bus driver any note above £5. This will cause them to instantly go into a state of panic and disapproval. There will be a hell of a lot of head shaking and muttering as they will have to give out a lot of change, or as we call it – doing their jobs!
Absolutely under no circumstances try to give them a £20 note, as this will result in the driver having some kind of seizure or cardiac arrest!
Nowadays, the big bus companies will give out credit receipts as an excuse to not give you change. You can use these on future journeys, but watch them as they have expiry dates on. If you never ever intend to catch a bus again then you will lose your money for sure.
Thought Two: Why Are People Assholes?
If you can get on a bus and it’s practically empty then you are in luck. Catch a bus when it’s full, then God help you!
It’s a rough old ride when you have to stand on a bus and hold on to some kind of swinging monkey bar. The best way to combat a busy bus is to put those headphones on and zone out.
The main problem with buses are – the other passengers! Millions of people catch buses every day and most are perfectly normal, but then there are certain number of annoying people you will see on a bus and these include…
The Bus Freak (aka ‘The Bus Drivers Best Friend’ aka ‘The Bus Driver Groupie’)
These are strange-looking people who hang around bus stations all day and seem to nip on and off buses without paying. They seem to know every bus driver that pulls into the station by name. They stand at the front of the bus constantly talking to the driver and distracting them while they are supposed to be keeping their eyes on the road. These people tend to be mostly lost and desperate teenage girls (I use the term ‘girls’ loosely) or unemployable scruffy young men.
The Annoying Teenagers
I’m not talking about all teenagers, but there is a certain type that are so ignorant and rude and they have no concept of what a queue is. They get on the bus in groups and then sit on separate seats and they definitely wouldn’t give up their seat for anyone. Not even for an elderly person or pregnant lady. They put their dirty feet up on the seats, talk utter bullshit, burn the back of the seats with a lighter and play their shitty music out loud from their phones.
The Smelly Guy
This guy is usually (Type 1) an old guy who seems to have forgotten what personal hygiene is. They can also be (Type 2) a guy who has smelly work clothes and boots. Sometimes if you are unfortunate enough to witness this species of bus commuter then the (Type 1) old smelly guy sometimes progresses to actually pissing himself too!
The Loud Old Women
This is the loneliest person on the planet. She wants to talk to everyone, but most people try to avoid her. It’s an absolute nightmare if the only seat is right beside her. Sometimes you can get lucky and she will chat to the bus freak standing at the front of the bus, so you won’t have to deal with her.
The Prick that Brings Food on the Bus
You know that person who brings a McDonald’s or Subway meal on the bus? They’ve clearly been waiting for the bus for 15 minutes with their food, but decide they aren’t going to start eating it until they have sat down on the bus. There is nothing more disgusting than having to smell second-hand McChicken sandwiches!
The C**t that Opens the Window
These people are the arseholes that open that flappy side window/s, so you have to put up with a gale force wind if you are sitting towards the back of the bus. These people are usually sitting below the window too, so they don’t even feel the draft themselves. What’s even worse is that if you are sitting below a window and somebody slams it shut right above your head without warning, which makes you jump out of your skin like somebody has popped a balloon right by your head!
The Dickhead with Loud Headphones
At least they have the courtesy of actually putting headphones on, but the music is so loud you can hear its tinny noise resonating like a cheap handheld radio.
The Scumbag Who Takes Up a Seat with Their Bag
These are one of the worst human beings alive. Yes, obviously it’s a way to stop people sitting by them. It’s when they don’t move their bag for people when there are no seats available that makes them true jerks!
Thought Three: Why Does it Take So Long?
It takes so much longer even when buses have bus lanes. The bus will go the longest route to get to anywhere, but that’s for an obvious reason. What would take 20 mins in a car takes an hour or so on a bus.
Thought Four: A Feeling of Being Poor
When I have had to catch a bus I always feel poor. I think that people are looking down on me if they see me travelling on public transport. It’s like they are thinking I can’t afford a car or something. They don’t realise how much a sodding bus costs to commute on. More than running their car for the day!
Thought Five: Why Can’t People Queue Properly?
I’m not sure when it happened, but in certain parts of the country, young people especially, just don’t know how to queue for a bus. In the old days the first person at the bus stop would be the first in the queue and then the next people to arrive at the stop would naturally stand behind (like a f**kin’ queue should be!) Now it seems to be a free for all, like at a train station where it’s a blind panic to get on before anyone else. You can wait for a bus for 20 minutes only for some arsehole to come along at the last second and jump on the bus before you. I thought Great Britain was a nation of queuers, but obviously not when it comes to public transport!
Thought Six: Why are Timetables F**ked up?
If you live in a city then you may be lucky enough to have buses running every 10 minutes into the small hours, but if you live in the rural parts of the country then catching a bus is like living in the middle of nowhere. You can forget every 10 minutes, more like every 2 hours or longer.
It’s bad enough that some of the country lanes aren’t even big enough for buses to properly fit through, but the rural bus timetables are so messed up that sometimes the bus won’t even run every day.
If it does run daily, but just to make your life harder, the bus may be a different number and go a different way on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The timetable for Tuesday may be 10 minutes earlier than the rest of the week and It may not even run all day Saturday. If you expect it to run on evenings and Sundays you can just forget about it.
You may get on a rural bus on Tuesday, but not be able to get back home until a week next Thursday! You may as well be in the Australian outback or a time before the combustion engine was invented!
Thought Seven: Where the Hell is My Bus?
You may be paying a premium for your bus and it’s not even on time. You feel helpless and pace up and down. There’s no way of telling if your bus is running late or even coming at all, which can be even more stressful if you have to catch a connecting bus or train.
*I do have to hand it to some bus companies though as some of them do have apps that now allows you to track your bus, buy tickets and even use your phone as a ticket.
Thought Eight: What is this God Awful Place?
Now we are at the worst part of catching a bus. The dreaded bus station! Just think of all the people listed in the ‘Why Are People Assholes?’ section above and multiply that by 20. It’s a true place of woe and despair.