Thursday, September 24

Using buses

This post is partly in response to a posting by Steve on the Garden Hens blog, but also something worth posting about in any case.

There is an art to using buses, although, having been brought up as a child using buses regularly, it hasn't been so difficult to go back to using them. Also if one makes do with buses for a long time before learning to drive, then returning to them later isn't such a big deal.

I do think that some people learn to drive because they think it means they are more competitive or that they are more likely to get a job. But really i think that is more to do with the sad state of affairs in society today, rather than any absolute reasoning.

I use the buses all the time, to get to work, shopping etc. Last year I took the bus out to the Roman Villa at Fishbourne (the 700 Coastliner service from Havant). Quite a day out! On the way there, the other passengers were very helpful and pointed out the stop I needed to get off at for the museum. On the journey back I had to wait for the bus and decided to have a beer in the nearby pub whilst waiting. Then on the bus back, I went on the top deck and watched the fantastic scenery go by. It was a great day out and because I used a weekly ticket I was using at the time, it didn't cost any extra.

You certainly have to change your concept of time and life when using buses. A newspaper, magazine or book are handy whilst waiting for a bus. I don't tend to plan much using a timetable unless of course I have a meeting at a specific time, so I can find myself waiting at the bus stop for up to half an hour. I suppose the worst case scenario is that I would have 'wasted' an hour in a day.

But is it really wasted time?
I have met numerous people at bus stops and got into some interesting conversations, although you never usually learn other bus users names, you do tend to 'know' them and their quirks after a few years, annoying as they may well be. In the past, discussions on buses and at bus stops have included TV soaps, climate change, rubbish on the streets, supermarkets, the loudness of the chimes of St Georges church etc.
Given that most people waste a lot of time using computers, watching TV etc. Actually talking to locals at bus stops must be a positive thing.

An alternative to waiting at the bus stop reading a magazine, is to pop into a nearby cafe for a coffee or tea. After a while you can end up being a 'regular' at a bus stop or cafe. Life is certainly different when using the buses, but it doesn't have to be unproductive or frustrating.

If you haven't used the buses much, it can be quite daunting to change and start using something that seems alien, especially if you have heard so many bad things about them. It can take weeks or months to get your head around what is or isn't possible using buses. After a few years, you just take them for granted and curse all the car drivers that pull alongside the bus in busy traffic!

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