Soapbox: Buses

People at a bus stop do anything but queue. Spend ten minutes at a bus stop during rush hour and you will quickly come to the conclusion that getting the bus involves anything but orderly civilised behaviour.

Getting on the bus is a challenge in itself; generally some genius jumps on board before everyone has managed to get off the bus, resulting in a prolonged wait for those on the pavement. Those who dare to attempt to get on board before the blue rinse brigade discover that these bantamweights battle their way onto the bus with brutal force.

To avoid the crush, many opt for a prepaid bus card that supposedly offers the advantage of easy access. But there is nothing worse than standing in the pouring rain, your billion euro prepaid bus ticket and soaking wet umbrella in hand, the prepaid route to dry comfort obstructed by a ticketless moron awaiting the opportunity to slip into the other queue to pay with coins.

When you finally find a seat and sink into it, removing your heavy bag, comfort is seemingly achieved. Then it comes: the ‘get up’ glare. Despite the fact that you are surrounded by an array of empty seats, you are faced with the stare of the passenger who regularly sits in the seat you now occupy. Filthy looks from fellow passengers who are unwilling to surrender their own seats force you to move.

On occasion, you may be lucky enough to find an empty seat – then someone flops in on top of you despite the fact that there are many more available. The ‘don’t sit beside me’ soliloquy generally seems to result in the attraction of an undesired travelling companion.

Alternatively, the attempt to find an empty seat on a seemingly full bus may result in one of two discoveries: either someone is sitting on the aisle and blocking your route to a free window seat or refusing to move in, leaving you perched on the edge of your seat for the entire period of your journey.

When a seat is finally secured, you realise that one thing is missing: there is no mood music! But never fear; your resident Rihanna down the back has a pre-prepared playlist on her phone. Telecommunications are of little concern to this burgeoning Beyoncé, whose high-pitched headphone-piercing harmonies will soothe you for the duration of your journey home.

Opting to take the bus is a risky business. What with the annoying people, the added sound effects and the basic nastiness of it all, I’d advise you to just grab a lift from that one friend you have who drives. They won’t mind.


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