On the Road: Taking the Bus

As I am currently not driving that often with my car – except this week I in fact was, but only for familial visits – I thought I might as well write about my other means of transportation: The Bus; or more precisely: The City Bus.
One of several possibilities of public transport that probably shows a similar attitude towards its passengers in all kind of cities in all regions of the world. It is somewhat like trams and underground railways, just with a different atmosphere due to its seat layout. Well, and the attitude people have towards it is probably pretty similar everywhere as well.

Anyway, I’d like to talk a bit about my experiences with these things.

Helpful but untimely

I have to say if you do not have a car – or a proper place to park your car or the money to pay the gasoline bill that comes from too often using said car – public transportation can be pretty helpful.
That is, if their timing is right…
Using public transportation means, you are bound to take them at a certain time and not whenever you feel like it. They have a fixed schedule and nothing will change said schedule.
Not even standing right before closed doors of the vehicle and asking for entrance and the driver SEES that you do so and refuses to let you in, but never mind.

They’re a good thing for reducing costs for gasoline and the traffic in general, but there are quite a bunch of problems accompanying them. The City Buses in the German cities where I have actually used them look pretty similar: They’re either Articulated Buses or a normal version of those. The inside depends on how young/old the bus is. If it is a young one you have a huge area for baby buggies and wheel chairs. (Basically meaning: The younger a bus, the more spacious is this area and the less seats you have.)
Still, depending on when you use the bus, this area and the whole bus is pretty much cramped.

Annoying changes

But this is a thing that the bus company in my city kind of just re-invented…
When I returned from studying in the end of last year they had made some pretty annoying and ridiculous changes.

First of all: All people – except those that would use the area(s) mentioned above – had to enter through the first door. This caused people to either just stand around in the front of the bus, so you had to squeeze your way through them or actually walk to the back of the bus as the company had “planned”.

The second thing was: You have to show the driver your ticket, every freaking time you enter the bus.

This however was not as publicly noted as the entrance change had been.
While the first had posters on the bus itself, the second had a hand out for about a week or so – of course a week where I was NOT taking the bus.
So I just entered like always without taking out my ticket and the driver just grabbed my arm and rudely told be to take out the ticket.
As I complained that it was at the bottom of my bag pack, he stayed stubborn. Furthermore, a woman that stood just behind his booth chimed in and told me that everyone had to do this. When I told them that this never stood anywhere she told me that there had been a hand out before. I just grumbled that I hadn’t been there to get that information.
This of course all took place while I rummaged through my bag pack for the annual ticket that by now costs more then one month of my rent.

It is not surprising that my mood that morning was even worse than before as I am not that much of a morning person. A fellow student of mine had to suffer through my tirade back then, but sometimes you just have to let out the bad emotions to come to peace.
Well, or at least stay calm for the next things to follow.
Oh, and they did all these changes for our safety no less! And of course every now and then there are still the patrols to check if all the tickets, that have been shown to the driver – or not if he was not busy cashing other people while you walked in – are correct/existing…
Everything for our safety…suuure…stumbling through the cramped bus, long time-consuming lines at the entrance where everyone squeezes in at the same time and hurried bus drivers that don’t care if the (older) people already found their seats or that there is a speed limit…but I digress…

The Crowd

Taking the bus in the morning however leaves me with three choices, where my sleepiness more or less decides which evil I pick:
– Mainly noisy, annoying school-kids, some sleepy adults, annoying teenagers
– less school-kids, more awake and talkative adults and teenagers or
– quite a bunch of loud, crying, screaming, annoying babies and children and still the adults and some teenagers

If you do not have your music player with you, the ride can be pretty nerve-wrecking. Especially if there are other people that also listen to music but way louder than you or the driver tries to find a fitting radio station and so forth.
Well, I was once the person with the far too loud music, but I wasn’t used to listening via my mobile phone and another passenger had to inform me about the drivers complains. Though I am sure he didn’t really notice WHAT I was listening, as that would have been even more awkward (*cough* it was Edguy’s Sex, Fire, Religion *cough*). Though thinking about this, I never really saw a bus driver ask for quieter music again, even if there were some pretty loud ones, might have been the late hour…

Anyway, a bus ride can be fun too (except all those things above). You can meet interesting people or coincidentally meet pals and/or colleagues.
There are also people that simply greet me because we saw each other time and time again in the bus. There even was a woman for a short time, whose toes I nearly stepped on every time I stood up… >_<
Beside that there are two stories that are somewhat funny regarding this.

The first is about a member of the “group” I am more or less a part of: I saw her every now and then at the bus, before I met her through the group. I thought the whole time that she looked familiar, that I have seen her somewhere before, but I just couldn’t remember where. When I saw her again at the bus after one of the groups celebrations I actually recognized her and realized that it was the bus where I had seen her before. 😀 By now I saw three people of the group in the bus and depending on the mood and how talkative we felt, we even conversed.

The second story is about a girl that I saw reading in the bus. I always thought about talking to her as she mostly read Fantasy stories, but I never really had the guts to do so. Well, one day I just seated myself beside her and she started a conversation, telling me that she had seen me reading as well…
By now we had one or the other weird bus ride, with me being grumpy and only half-awake and her being far too lively and loud  for my sleepy mind, but it is still fun and a better way to wake up then screaming kids…

But not everything is bad about buses

As I said it can be fun with people you know, but it also gives you time to wake up some more before work. You can close your eyes again and doze off for a short time. Or as I occasionally do: You can scribble down a story/idea that has been on your mind throughout the morning/night/day. I’ve gotten quite used to writing while the bus is bumping through the streets. Though this does not mean I always am able to decipher what I wrote…
Additionally it gives you time to think. You also have that time in the car, but you do have to pay a little more attention while driving, just a tiny bit more. 😉
Think about said ideas, think about what you would need to do that day and so forth….or just listening to the music that is currently playing and let your mind wander…
See there is good to taking the bus. 😉

I don’t really know much about City Buses in other cities – only those I went with – but I guess the perception of other people is not that much different from my own. Everyone is happy to get out of the bus again, unless you have something to write or talk about and would like to continue that.

But what I know a little about are the Intercity Buses in my region: They only drive very rarely (once a day being often) and take long. Would I take such a bus for driving home it’d take twice the time as if I’d take my car, not to get started on the prices….

In bigger cities you also have trams and underground railways. I always get confused about which ticket would be the best for me to buy or which way to take, having people around to show you the way is a pretty helpful thing here 😉

And speaking of underground railway: I’ve read (and saw) in Clive Barkers story from the Books of Blood about some pretty interesting inhabitants of the New Yorker underground railway in the Midnight Meat Train that I do like to mention whenever I take such a means of transport. 😀 (This story even has an interesting watch-tale that I might write about it at a later point.) Am I right to believe that  no one has actual prove of that? 😉

And on a completely different note: This Blog now has a FaceBook Page as well: RandomPoison on FaceBook and if you don’t want to follow this Blog via WordPress, you can keep up to date through that side as well.

PoiSonPaiNter

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