When it was confirmed a few weeks ago that one of Sadiq Khan's first mayoral policies would be a £1.50 bus 'hopper' ticket (that would allow for unlimited bus travel within one hour), many London people rejoiced. All except me, and the many dedicated bus w*****s who negotiate the city on a bright red double decker, every single day.
Why, you ask? Why do our feathers feel a little ruffled? Sadiq is encouraging Londoners to get off the packed tubes and up into the outdoors. Plus, saving people money that have to take multiple bus journeys. And this is great, in theory...
See, there's a certain type of person that dedicates their life to riding the 48/242/55 etc, and us bus people are more than familiar with the 'code' that applies to all bus journeys, the rules (if you will) of riding our routes without conflict.
Throw a bunch of £1.50 'hopper' people into the mix, and you are just upsetting the order of things. Plus, if these people have tube sensibilities? Crikey, we're all in for potential bus chaos.
Don't get me wrong, Sadiq is awesome, and I do think the flat rate/one hour idea is genius... Only thing is, I'm a little protective (don't even talk to me about the tube strike - I felt like Peggy Mitchell screaming 'get outta my paaaaab', only subsitute the word 'bus' for 'pub'), and despite all the 'isms, I do love my bus commute.
So, if you insist on tapping on, let's get some things established. Here are the 13 things you'll ONLY know if you ride the bus. Future 'hoppers' take note...
1. If the bell has been rung, please don't keep ringing it
Look at the screen. It says 'bus stopping' people. Nothing grates like that bell being repeatedly hit when you've got a thumping hangover.
2. The seat behind
Just because I'm not facing you doesn't mean I don't know you are there. Sneezing on the back of my neck is just plain gross.
Don't act all neggy when some poor mum needs to park her buggy in the designated pram section. It's not her fault you've decided to do a Lidl big shop at 5pm on a Saturday.
Just because you have phone reception on the bus, doesn't mean that the whole world needs to hear you talk (rather loudly) about your 'funny rash'. TMI.
5. More seat problems
That awkward moment when a whole bank of seats becomes free but you don't know whether to move away from the passenger you're already sitting next to.
6. Energy drinks
Why do people feel the need to drink energy drinks on busses? It makes the whole aisle smell like a bad uni flashback.
7. Night bus
A law unto themselves, the night bus is where normal commuters morph into chip-gobbling monsters who like to bond over horrific Tinder stories. Always fun.
8. The bus stop scramble
Oh how those tricksy bus drivers like to tease us with their pulling in skills. They stop short of the stop. We all queue. They pull a bit forward. We all jostle. A bit forward again. A woman's shopping trolley has suddenly taken the skin off your ankle. Bit forward again. You get the gist.
9. The windows
There's always one person who insists on closing ALL the windows on the top deck when it's thirty degrees outside. Cue bus sweats and acute sense of humour failure.
10. The token oddball
Ever seen a guy happily singing the names of passing shop fronts whilst sharpening pencils, and picking/flicking his ear wax? True story.
Bless them. I understand that riding the bus is the best way to see the city guys only, do you need to do it whilst eating a family pack of sliced ham and a tube of squeezy cheese?
Always fun when the chap next to decides to listen to Rihanna's 'Diamonds' on repeat, for the ENTIRE BUS JOURNEY.
13. Aisle rage
It's a thing. You can physically feel people fuming if someone dares to share their pole. It's every man for themselves.