Public Transportation for Dummies
I need to get my rant on! All my previous public transportation rants have been aimed at the system. This one's at the users. Funny how your perspective changes when you have insider information. Not that I don't think the system still has problems - it certainly does, but some of the users just beggar belief.
- Be at the bus stop on time. Yeah, we all run late sometimes, but it's how you handle being late more than the being late itself. If you're running for the bus as it's pulling up, and the bus stops for you, don't then slow to a walk. The driver's been nice enough to stop for you even though you aren't technically AT the stop hailing the bus, so at least do him/her the courtesy of hurrying up (at least a brisk walk) so everyone else can get to where they're going reasonably on time as well.
- Hail the bus. Come on, it's not that hard to stick your arm out for a few seconds when you see your bus driving toward you. It avoids confusion all around if you just let the driver know you do actually want to catch the bus! Your driver is (probably) not psychic. Simply standing by the bus stop as the bus approaches does not constitute 'hailing' the bus. It just means you're standing by a bus stop. Anybody can do that. And sitting on the bench talking on your phone just means you're talking on your phone. How is the driver supposed to know you want to catch the bus if you just sit there? My own rule of thumb is to hail until I see the bus's indicator start flashing. Only time you can get away with not hailing the bus? If you're married to the bus driver and you've discussed earlier the potential for you and your kids to be out at a particular bus stop at that time. (But even then I think I still hail the bus, if only for Caleb's sake because he's still learning.)
- Have your ticket or money ready when you get on the bus. It's a waste of everyone's time to stand there at the driver's seat digging through your handbag/pocket/wallet, counting out your money, realising you're 10 cents short, and then go rummaging through another pocket for the rest of the change. Your bus driver is often trying desperately to keep to the timetable. Every second you stand there looking for your money or your ticket is another second you're holding up everyone on the bus. And don't try to pay the driver with a $50 note, because you just look like you're trying to scam a free ride.
- Hang up your mobile phone when you're purchasing your ticket and actually tell the driver which ticket you're purchasing. Or you may just end up with the most expensive one on the list for failing to pay attention.
- If you throw up on the bus, don't laugh about it and then use your mobile phone to post on Facebook that you threw up on the bus, and then announce to the whole bus that you just posted to Facebook that you threw up on the bus. Head. Bang. On. Desk.
- Don't whine at the bus driver that the bus is an older one. Believe me, when given the choice, no driver picks the ones with stairs and crap air conditioning. They all hate them too - not only are they hideous to ride, they're hideous to drive.
- Be aware of which buses are express services. And then don't complain if you go to the bus stop, hail the (express) bus, and it doesn't stop for you.
- When it's time to get off the bus, do it expeditiously. (Yes, we watched Oscar this weekend.) Don't sit there playing with your mobile phone and wait till the bus starts pulling away (after sitting at the interchange for up to a full minute) to jump up and say 'Hey! I wanted to get off the bus!' because that'll just annoy everyone. If you're lucky, the driver will only mutter under his/her breath. If you're not...well, can't say I didn't warn you.
- Those signs on the back of buses that say to give way to the bus when it's pulling away from a stop? OBEY THEM! Seriously, your little Nissan Micra (or whatever it is you drive) against an articulated bus? Who do you think is really going to come off best in that match? It won't be you, I can guarantee it!
- Oh, and if you fail to give way to a bus (which in Australia you are legally obligated to do, by the way), you look like a complete idiot if you then honk your horn at the bus every time you go past it at another bus stop. Because you ARE a complete idiot who just can't let it go.