Tuesday, 2 March 2010

The Etiquette Of Riding A Bus

by Rachel Surtees (@RVSurtees)

Etiquette isn’t really a word that you hear bandied about much anymore. It’s become a relic of the past like corn beef, or petticoats. But enough is enough Britain (or do I just mean London?); surely it’s time to reinstate some etiquette on the buses? Reaffirm a code of honour? Reinstate a mode of practice?

So today, you’re not going to get a traditional ponder. You’re going to get ten micro ponders - all for the price of one.

Try to answer a couple of them. However, if like me you fail to find any reasonable explanations for any or all of the below maybe it’ll spur you to take a bus down to City Hall and have a little chat with Boris. Here goes…

The Boardee

1. You’ve been waiting for over 20 minutes, during which time three buses have driven past without stopping. I know because you told me. You told all of us in fact… at volume. I understand that you were very busy with all of that waiting that you had to contend with, but surely, surely you could have found the time to unzip you bag, stick your little hand in it, rummage around a bit and pull out your oyster before boarding the bus?

2. Do you genuinely think that stepping onto a packed bus and shouting “can you move down please” is actually going to create more space? Believe me when I say I don’t enjoy journeying with my head wedged into a fat man’s armpit so if you see it, don’t ask me to move down. I would if I could.

3. When you see a pack of school kids running at the bus like donkeys in a derby do you really think that your perfectly rehearsed look of disdain is having any impact? Do you really think they care? I tell you, it’s far more fun to just do like Rome and get stuck in. Run faster, get your elbows out, tread on their little toes, push ‘em over to get to the seat first.*

The Boarded

4. Why did you open the window? It’s mid winter and there are 50 other people on this bus.

5. When did we stop standing up for the elderly and pregnant? Seriously, we’re known internationally for having debilitatingly good manners and yet all that we currently seem to have is a debilitatingly sophisticated system of selective blindness.

6. Do you not think it’s time to buy better headphones?

The Driver

7. You saw me running, right?

The Others

8. Dear Car Driver,

Can you see that pulling out into a queue of traffic and blocking the four oncoming buses carrying over 200 people to work is a deeply, deeply selfish thing to do?


An Angry Bus Rider

9. Dear School Run Driver,

Can you see that stopping in the middle of a one lane road to drop little Timmy and Josie off, thereby blocking the buses carrying 200 people to work is a deeply, deeply selfish thing to do?


A now late Angry Bus Rider

10. Dear Pigeon,

Can you see why flying directly into a bus might be fairly disturbing for those inside the bus?



So? Any answers?

* Calm down. I’m kidding.


  1. 4. I think I can answer this one. Some people (me) are often hot and sweaty by the time they arrive on public transport in the commute, and must take off coat/jumper/extra layers before boarding, or open the window. People stare. This is fine. Also, everyone smells. All of that is probably more of a tube issue though..

  2. Surely the 10 different types of music blasting out of mobile phones isn't on either, it used to be bad enough next to someone with a loud walkman!

  3. Solution: bike to work.

    Although, as you know, that also has it's inherent problems...

  4. good info ... enjoyed the article ...
    the bordee and the borded eh ???
    i need to blog about this as well ...
    good pointers !!!