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Bus Travel Blues

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…

The Waiting

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.

The Price

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.

The Bell

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

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 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.

12 thoughts on “Bus Travel Blues

  1. Wow. You are really lucky! I have been taking public transport since young because buying a car in my country is really expensive. Fortunately since it is small so it is easy to travel from one place to another.

    Good luck for your driving test! Then you can drive yourself to school in future.

  2. I wish that you’re analogy of riding the bus wasn’t true for me, but it was. I dreaded going to school just because of the bus. Our bus was so packed that there weren’t enough seats for everyone and of course, I was the last stop. 🙁 Memories I’ve blocked from my mind!

    Oh my goodness. That sounds awful. I am so thankful that I don’t have to do public transportation anymore. I’m either close enough to campus or I have my car (that I’m a bit in debt for…). I hope things get better (as in less crazy, drunk people) and that you pass your test in the fall!

  3. I feel so lucky that my university was twenty minutes away from my house so I would walk. My sister moved out for college so she took my car and my parents obviously used their car. I didn’t mind it though…walking was awesome. I would also ride my bike to school~ I also was lucky that I have an awesome friend that would pick me up on her way to school. We always had things to carry with us to studio so it was heavy walking to school.
    Half a year before I graduated, my parents bought new car, so I got the one they were driving. But since I was already so used to walking to school or getting a ride, the car was just parked there until this summer…when I graduated. Now I’m all over the place and I’m so thankful the car is there. Public transportation in Los Angeles is….not very good. We have a metro system…but in order to get to the closest one, I have to drive fifteen minutes…….

    I hope that somehow the bus experience will get better~

  4. hahaha, ohh public transport. It’s a nightmare. Especially here in China, where you literally feel like a bunch of Mexican jumping beans being packed into an already packed steel tube of other jumping beans. If you get caught in the crush in the middle and it’s your stop next, be prepared to get those elbows out and barbarically push your way out. This is the subway in China though, I don’t know about buses because I haven’t ridden one in years. When I used to live in the UK, the bus service wasn’t too bad, because the only people who rode the buses regularly were old people. They were always empty, so I didn’t have the handbag-on-chair problem or lap-dancing ladies (which is just inappropriate! the children!). I’m glad; lap-dancing old grannies…ugh. The waiting is awful, I can’t agree more. My younger sister used to chant, “The bus will come in dot,dot,dot,dot,dot….” and so on until the bus actually showed up. The silly button is the worse. Enlighten me? At what time is it appropriate to press the button? Like how long before you stop shows up or right before the stop or at the stop? I never know… I always feel like I get it wrong and then the bus-driver glares at me as I exit.

    Good luck on your future bus travels! Don’t let the idiots get to you!

  5. Ug, I would never be able to ride the bus. I would rather get up at the butt crack of dawn and walk/ride my bike. LOL Other people invading my space and it taking forever to get there is such a horrible thing. I had to ride the bus a few times when I lived in Arizona as a kid and your right, it was just that awful. Now, granted, mine was a school bus but it was such a small town that they used one bus for the elementary and high school. DX Bad Idea DX It took hours to get home when really it should be 10 minutes.

  6. Sounds like we’re both in the same boat. Or was. I remember when I did not have my driver’s license, I literally had to start taking the bus to where ever I had gone. I literally talked my dad and grandmother into letting me go by myself to my own doctor appointments. Needless to say, my Grandmother hated that idea (I swear when she was alive, I got treated like a weak person). Anyway, it’s so funny how you mentioned all of what goes on in a bus actually does go on in a bus!

    There were times, were I had to sit next to someone that I didn’t want to sit next to, heard screaming babies, someone’s obnoxious ringtone, and the list goes on and on. Public transportation is a must for some, and though I’ve had the pleasure and experience of doing it, I hope to god I don’t have to do it again. I don’t have a car at the moment due to not being able to save up since living on my own. But I will more then likely get one sooner or later. Used of course, but enough of that.

    Yeah, Facebook is meant to see what your friends are doing. NOT what the world wants you to see. It’s gotten out of hand really. If I wanted to be depressed, I would sit down and watch the news every day. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen pictures of the same one twice over. Or pictures stating that a celebrity is dead, when clearly they’re not.

  7. It’s true u.u Bus journeys usually suck. Luckily I don’t need to take a 90 minute bus journey to work now but I suffer on the tube x.x Sweaty armpits. Mmmm…

    I’ve experienced most of what you’ve written here. It’s not a fun experience I have to say. My housemate did have a fun bus journey on the night bus where drunk people started meowing throughout the whole bus – she loved it.
    If someone leaves their bag in an empty seat just pick it up and dump it on their lap – or the floor, it’s their fault for not looking after their belongings!

    Hopefully you wouldn’t have to suffer too long. Good luck with the test! CRAM IT!!!! I remember when I did mine, I got so scared I just told myself I failed and just did it normally like a driving lesson. I ended up passing. I was shocked.

    Thanks for the comment! You should deffo go to one of the conventions! Hyper Japan is the best if you love Japanese culture and shopping. MCM is more of the comics, games and purchasing ofJapanese, anime and manga related items. Although I do love the DDR machines there ^^

  8. I’ve never ridden a public transportation bus, but this reminds me of riding a school bus. I don’t think I’d last at all on a public transportation bus simply because of the amount of germs and other forms of filth that would likely be on it. ;x (Yes, I am a germ freak.)

  9. Your bus journey is so long compared to getting the car. D: My bus journey to school is 1.5 hours compared to 45 minutes in the car, but weirdly, I quite like it. In the morning I have 1.5 hours to listen to my music and wake up; in the evening, 1.5 hours to relax before I start my homework. My school has minibuses (yep) so there aren’t very many people. I used to go to a different school with a bigger school bus but I’ve just learnt that if you put your iPod in and stare out the window people don’t talk to you.

    On both my school buses, everyone had set seats. Like, everyone just took the same seat every day to make life easier. There was a hierarchy on my old bus: sixth formers at the back, Year 7’s at the front. That was it. And you dealt with it.

    I used to put my bag on the seat next to me and when someone wanted to sit there they never asked me to move it, just shoved it onto the floor. -____- It really pissed me off.

    The people are the worst part of public transport, full stop. Trains are pretty bad, I’ve found, when they’re jam-packed. So many morons in one place.

    When you get an empty train or bus, though, it’s bliss.

    Hair straighteners are indeed terrifying things…

    Yep, Knight and Day has Cameron Diaz in, and Tom Cruise. It’s easy watching. 🙂 I didn’t get to see the rest of it, though. The power came back on at 3am.

    I might give Trollied a try then!

    Take care! xx

  10. Ugh…I as so happy during high school that I lived so close to the school. It as only 5 minutes of walking from home. But things are goona change when I am moving to college. I will have to take the subway or worse, the bus. Trust me you don’t want to feel the smell in the summer time. It’s awful.

    Besides buses, I hate trains. I always have the impression that they are so dirty and full of viruses. I swore that I will never ever take the train to Bucharest. They are horrible.

  11. I don’t like taking public transit at all. In DC, it’s so much easier to get around via car (even though a lot of people deny it without trying it) and much cheaper! It’s been hard in college because I rely 100% on public transit and it takes so much longer, but I’ve tried to make it an experience.

    Over the summer, I took a commuter bus and it wasn’t too bad. It sounds like you’re taking more of a city bus but it was hard for me to rake up $3.50 for a bus ride each day and I had to sit at the bus stop for an hour because it didn’t run when I got off of work.

    I feel your pain.

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