A Simple Guide to Bus Etiquette

Cause some people out there need it. I’ve touched on it before (here and here), but it seems like some of the 7 million Londoners are still unsure about it. Let’s go:

1) Whoever gets to the bus stop first gets on the bus first. That’s easy enough to understand, hey? But wait! This is a double edged sword, for….

2) Whoever gets on the bus first has to push their buggy past the pole so that the other person can fit theirs in. That means facing the window, not lengthways on. Diagonal is acceptable if you have a monster buggy and/or a potty attached to the handlebars.

3) To establish the correct buggy-order, we may need to communicate a little bit about who’s getting off first. Only a bit. Don’t feel like we have to talk all the way. I have facebook to check, after all.

4) If we establish we’re getting off at the same stop (woo! that’s a coincidence my Grandmother would be proud of), don’t feel like you have to wait for the bus to come to a complete standstill before even moving out of the seat. Here’s a GCSE-type maths question – if my buggy’s behind your buggy and I’m behind you and you only move you and your buggy at the stop, how much time does that give me to get off the bus myself? That’s right, minus forty-seven.

5) A seat next to the buggy spot would be nice, if there is one. If you’re in any way old, pregnant or disabled, I don’t expect you to move. But if you’re sitting on the outside seat, it’s nice to at least let someone past to sit down (yes, YOU! grumpy old Greek man! Who can walk perfectly well.)

6) (This one’s for Roo) If there’s a sinister looking man sitting next to the buggies with two phones, don’t repeatedly ask me “Why that man got two phones? You got one phone? Why he got two?”. I don’t know, Roo. Maybe he’s a drug dealer. Or he’s having an affair. Or he just likes having more than one phone  but please stop asking.

7) If you see someone look slightly unsteady (maybe they have a baby tied to them and a load of bags, or maybe they’re just using both hands to text and so not holding on…or maybe all three), it’s fine to extend a hand to steady them. When they regain balance (and have finished writing that text), feel free to take your hand back off their elbow. No really, thanks but…the moment’s over. Thanks again.

8) Are you a serial killer? The bus is not the place to share that information. Save it for Jeremy Kyle.

9) Do you feel like you’re about to be sick? The bus is not the place for that. Maybe that one’s more specific to the night bus….

10) (This one’s for me). I understand how confused you get by new things, Kate. I know it’s hard for you now that your contactless debit card stops your Oyster card from beeping, so you have to take it out of the purse in order to beep it. But an H&M gift card is never going to work. Even if you’re only going as far as Vauxhall, they just won’t take it. Keep working on it and you’ll get there.

So, I hope this has cleared up some confusion. All the nuts and bolts of just how you get that darn buggy onto the bus in the first place are covered in my previous post, here, but it’s nice to have a reminder now and then. Happy travels!
(For anyone who’s wondering, yes I DO feel better for getting that off my chest. Thanks for asking).

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