I check my bus app, fly down the road like I’m a world class athlete, dogging obstacles like I am a pro hurdler and I zoom in on the target, the red double decker bus. I have maybe a few seconds before the last person at the stop gets on and I reckon I can make it.
The last person enters the bus and I see the doors closing in. I rush like crazy, am out of breath and completely exhausted, but by all counts as the bus has not left and the door have just closed, I am good. I knock loudly on the closed doors, proudly internally congratulating myself at my marathon run.
But my elation is premature. The bus driver ignores my plea, indicates and pulls away. I am forced to wait another fifteen minutes for a bus.
Then one day I run and I catch this bus. I see a woman and a man who are not so lucky and they have the peed off look in their eyes as they bend their heads between their legs and try to catch a breath. The bus driver drives away and then two stops later, he rests the bus for more than a few minutes for no apparent reason. I wonder why if he had time, he couldn’t just wait a few more seconds to help the man and woman out. It makes no sense.
The way of the bus
There are general issues with all transport but the bus has its own special unique blend which only applies to it.
No other transport option can arrive early and then drive away without waiting for people that have got to the stop on time. No other transport option can open its doors a million miles away from the actual stop due to a bus pile up and then ignore the people at the bus stop who are patiently waiting. No other form of transport can turn you away because you have insufficient money on your oyster card and not have a topping up solution near by.
Fair enough, trains are late, tubes are late, trams are late but buses are a different type of late. I think this may be down to the fact that the bus only has an estimated time of arrival whereas all other transport has a set time to arrive and then you can complain about it being late.
To be fair to them they are subject to traffic lights, other drivers and other buses. And although I am a great fan of having more bus lanes, practically it is not possible, as some roads that they go down are narrow with barely enough room for two way traffic. But even when this is considered, as mentioned above, there have been plenty of times when the bus is late to a stop because they have spent up to 5 minutes chilling at another stop.
I had love before.
Ok, my relationship with buses has greatly deteriorated since I started to need them. They are the infrequent bane of my life. Even yesterday I just missed one and had to walk home to avoid the 30minute wait for the next one.
At the end of the day they are how I get from the middle of nowhere to the start of civilisation. So my dislike of them has to be tempered with my need for them. It is a tricky issue.
To be honest
Maybe its because the bad times overshadow the good, that I always have qualms about them. But as I ran enemy of the state style towards the bus this morning, to prevent it from driving off without me. And the bus driver assessing his options decided to wait rather than run me over, I could not deny that even though they remain my least favourite way to travel, they can be alright… sometimes.
What could they do?
They should create an Oyster cab and an Oyster cab inclusive travel card. I bet they would make a load of money and then people with these inclusive travel cards have the inherent option to get a cab home instead of waiting for the bus.
This would not only solve the growing crisis between black cabs and Uber by giving black cabs another purpose. But it would make relations with buses much better as everyone wouldn’t be as reliant on them.
Will it happen? I doubt it. But as I run down for another bus, I will be thinking about it and dreaming of a better tomorrow….