March 28, 2004

Life in the Bus Lane

Following my recent undercover investigation of bus ticket machines, I decided that some follow up bus research was needed, so I arranged to meet my secret bus contact, at an undisclosed location in North London. This contact had done extensive research into bus travel, mostly by 'going on the bus to work', and 'sometimes even taking the nightbus home'.
She offered three stories of how life can be on the buses, but I'm afraid one of them was what you might call a 'non-story'. I'm afraid that having an argument on the night bus with some Australians just doesn't cut it.
Anyway, the first episode relates to the surly manner and general mean-spiritedness of bus conductors. My contact claims that she was at a bus stop, when a quite full bus pulled up, and a couple of passengers got off, including a woman with a pram. When she then tried to board the bus, she was denied access by the conductor, as the bus was 'too full'. The more logical amongst you will deduce that if two people got off, then there is room for two more people on the bus. It seems though, that bus conductors are not so logical, and in fact my contact claims that the bus conductor was SMIRKING, as the bus pulled away. My contact took the only course of action left available, which was to raise a hand and extend the middle finger.
The second incident concerns the conduct of some fellow passengers. Namely, a man and a woman with a big dog that was sitting in the aisle. Now, as far as I am concerned, the aisle of a bus is no place for a dog, and in fact the best place for a dog is in a cooking pot, but I will leave aside my personal dog prejudices for the time being.
My contact, upon boarding the bus, accidentally knocked the dog as she walked past. The result of this purely accidental action, was the dog's owner saying, 'Say sorry to my dog'. Rather than pointing out that dogs don't normally understand English, especially verbal apologies, my contact then said 'No'. The result of this, was that the woman with the dog then asked my contact to 'get off the bus and have a fight'.
As appealing as that sounded, my contact was not interested, and so suffered verbal abuse for the rest of the bus ride, but at least she didn't have to talk to a mangy old dirty dog blocking up the bus aisle. Actually, it might have been quite a nice dog, but I'm using a bit of poetic licence.
So, riding the buses is not all the fun and enjoyment that people like to think it is, and in fact my contact, who originally wanted her identity to remain secret for fear of reprisals by angry bus conductors, would now like to come out into the open and declare her identity.
She is Laura Savory, aged 25, formerly of Ipswich, Suffolk, lately of North London. She has travelled extensively on the buses for many years now, covering a wide variety of routes. She specialises in North London bus routes, and drunken bus riding. She was born a mutant, but is all right now...

Posted by paul at March 28, 2004 05:21 PM