Throughout high school my mum drove me to school. Yes, I was one of those kids travelling in style, who didn’t have to suffer a half an hour bus journey with all the children from younger years threatening me for my lunch money. Well, if you can class riding in my mum’s roaring chav engine as “travelling in style”. (It’s a Vauxhall Corsa, with an excessively loud engine, the kind that would be seen in race between two idiots.) The only times I had to get myself to school was when the car was in for it’s MOT, or when it snowed. So, it came as a great shock when she told me it was my responsibility to get myself to university. And another great shock when I found out my university trip involved 1.5 hours bus travel.
For some reason, when you only take the bus on the odd occasion; to buy yourself some gorgeous shoes from town or an inflatable sheep for a friend (has happened), you never run into any problems. You get to just sit there staring at the beautiful scenery, or prison and housing estates in my case, and enjoy the ride. But when you’re forced to sit uncomfortably close to strangers every morning it’s not all sunshine and prison scenery. Here is my list of ‘things I hate about bus travel’. Grab a cup of tea; this might be a long one…
Here’s a small bit of maths for you. In a car it would take me 15 minutes to get to university. On the bus it takes 90 minutes.
90 ÷ 15 = 6
Which means it takes six times as long for me to get to uni by bus. SIX TIMES.
Not only that, before you even get to the actual bus travel you have to stand in the freezing cold at the bus stop, waiting for the bus to decide to turn up. If the bus misses (which for me it often does) then you’re stuck there waiting, unable to do anything about the fact you’re likely to be late. I’m sure getting my brother to drive me to university would be more reliable. And I don’t even have a brother.
The length of the journey also means that I’m unable to roll out of bed fifteen minutes before my class, like I used to do in sixth form. When I get up it’s dark. The streetlights are still on. These are not appropriate waking hours.
The Seating Arrangements
Or standing arrangements in my opinion. So many times I’ve got on a bus and there’s been no seats left. And sometimes I get on and there’s a single seat left that happens to be occupied by someone’s bag. A someone who is pretending to be asleep. Unfortunately we’re not in a day and age where it’s appropriate to shake sleeping strangers. Instead we’re in a day and age where it’s more important for a handbag to be seated than a human being.
If you do get a seat there are still other issues that face you. The people sitting beside you. There are the people who spread their legs out and rest them on yours. The people who read the Metro – half on their knee half on yours. The people who decided to bring their chest infection to sit next to you. Don’t even get me started on the people who decide to speak to you when you’re reading a book. I know you really needed to share the news about your son getting married, but is it really more important than To Kill A Mockingbird? No. No it isn’t.
As well as having to suffer this awful experience you also have to pay for it. With real money. Your hard earned cash is exchanged for 30 minutes of listening to an unwashed woman harping on about how many nappy bags she bought at Asda. And prices are rising for this wonderful experience. By 2020 it’ll be cheaper to invent teleportation devices than travel by bus. I might get started.
Yes, I’ve decided to be really picky now. On the buses I use, you have press the bell when you want to get off, so the bus driver doesn’t kidnap you and take you to the dodgy side of town. This is made incredibly awkward on busy mornings, when all the bells are covered by standing travellers’ backs and hands. I’m always left nervously reaching for the nearest one, and hoping I don’t skim my hand across an angry stranger’s back, or worse, their hand. Nothing’s more awkward than a bit of unintentional hand brushing on a morning. Especially if the victim misinterprets it as a romantic gesture. Curl yourself into a ball and cry – you have successfully left the bus at your stop.
The people have got to be the best part of bus travel. In a world where everything I say is a lie, of course. Travelling by bus brings you the joys of coming into contact with a diverse range of people. And by that I mean a diverse range of idiots. The majority anyway. I’m often surrounded by crying children, uncaring mothers, loud teenagers, drug users and many more different annoying people. Am I supposed to enjoy this diversity? I hope not.
During this year I have had a drunk woman give the man next to me a lap dance. I’ve had a crazy woman shout abuse at me and all the other passengers. I’ve had a man stand directly behind me (with his crotch uncomfortably close). I’ve seen an abandoned bus bleeping and announcing criminal activity. I’ve witnessed an old lady falling off her seat as the bus driver set off. I’ve had a dodgy-looking passenger glare at me for an entire journey. And that is just some of the things that have happened.
I’d dread to think what else will happen if I don’t pass my driving test before October. Think it’s time I started downing the Red Bull – I need those wings.