I’ve been a convert to travelling by bus ever since I moved to Stokey back in April.
This was partly down to there not being a direct tube to work nearby, and also because moving to east London’s “trendy bit” – hurrrrgh – meant inadvertently subscribing to a lifetime of Death by Rent, wherein an inch of your soul chips away every time you check your bank balance at the beginning of each month.
Happily, using the bus in London saves me a princely £30 on travel; money which can then be flittered away on more worthwhile pursuits – such as ordering three rounds of tequila five minutes before last orders at the bar.
Tequila funds aside, there are lots of reasons why buses are well good. But if you’re thinking of becoming a regular on board, there are a few things you should know.
2. Strategically placing yourself / your bag in the aisle seat to stop anyone sitting there doesn’t work
In fact, I’d say it’s the fastest way to ensure that someone does try to sit there. Because if there’s one thing Londoners love to do, it’s teach other Londoners a swift lesson in rush hour etiquette. Besides, everyone knows the only way to ensure no one sits next to you is to do what the bloke behind me did yesterday, and choose the seat next to a patch of dried vomit. Even then, it’s probably more hassle than it’s worth, because you’ll only have to explain to everyone who tries to sit there why they shouldn’t, and in doing so, alert the entire bus to the fact you’re sitting next to crusty sick. No, good morning to you.
3. By opening the window the minute you get on, you’re basically telling your fellow passengers “Good lord, you lot stink”
Opening the window is always a controversial move for some reason, but especially in winter. I’m always amazed by the top deck’s capacity for sitting in what basically amounts to a morning breath steam room; a place where passengers stare at the fogged glass, forlornly wiping the sweat off the windows with their sleeves as if there’s no other option. Guys, I want to say, this place smells like onions cooked in armpits. Let’s ventilate this badboy. Then I open the window. Five minutes later, the bloke next to me shuts it. No. he wants to reply. We’re fine as we are.
4. You don’t queue to board a bus. You bundle
Apparently, in some parts of the country and very civilised parts of the city (i.e. Fleet Street), people form an orderly queue for a bus. Not so in the wilds of east London, where you’ll be subject to a bus stop free-for-all that no amount of audible tutting can call to order. Ultimately, It doesn’t matter if you got there first, and it doesn’t matter how much you glare. This isn’t the Post Office, mes amie – it’s London’s very own street version of Ryanair. And that’s what elbows are for.
5. Don’t press “Stop” over and over and over again when the sign clearly already says “Bus Stopping”. It’s really annoying
A symptom of the headphoned masses? Perhaps. A perfectly logical thing to happen when you have 70 people in a relatively small space all going about their business? Maybe. An affliction of adults who never really got past the childish lure of a big, shiny red “stop” button? Absolutely.
Obviously this list is in no way complete, so if there’s something else you think newbie bus goers should know, leave it below.
(+10 points for the rhyming sign off, yeaaaah!)