On the buses

Being back in the office instead of my wanderings around the island I’ve started to get the bus again. 25 minutes is a good time, although to read I’d appreciate a bit longer. It does provide perfect people watching opportunities. This morning I was struck by how the demographic of Belfast has changed, especially in terms of racial diversity (if that’s the correct PC phrase). Other things that stuck me:

The feeling of smug ‘I’m doing more for the planet than you’ sitting on the bus looking out particularly at drivers of 4WDs – particularly essential for the rough terrain of the Lisburn Road and City Centre. Then remembering how much I need to drive for work, feeling slightly hypocritical, and wondering why I have such a bias against drivers of largmetrocastlecourtlargee vehicles

Bus drivers either must be changing or have been through customer service training recently. Often they were known for grunting and grumpiness (that may be a slight exaggeration, but they certainly have never been the most cheerful of people in my experience). The drivers of both my journeys on Friday and this morning all thanked me as I got off. I doubt I was causing so much trouble – or such a smell that they couldn’t wait to get me off their bus. It did strike me that such a simple act has actually made a difference to my days, Stunned by a couple of words  – simple pleasantries, but nonetheless they definitely helped my day off to a much more cheerful start than some of my usual days stumbling into the office not quite awake with a little morning grumpiness.

Thank you Translink with your pink buses – you definately make my journeys to work more interesting.


11 thoughts on “On the buses”

  1. I’ve suspected for a while that Translink have been increasing their levels of Customer Service Training. It’s good that you don’t get so many nasty drivers, but I did always like the ones who were just kinda grumpy – though I guess being made to say thank you will make them even more grumpy, which is nice.

  2. i have the odd feeling of smug inverse snobbery of driving a crappy, cheap, old ugly car, but at 25 mpg i don’t get the sense i’m saving the planet. though i always go to belfast on the train for the reading and people watching (not to mention beer drinking) opportunities.

  3. I feel the need to confess our recent purchase of a diesel 4WD. I love it; it tows our caravan,makes me feel sporty, lets me look into other people’s cars and see they are messier than mine.

    I am however dismayed at the contempt I feel when trying to get “let out” at junctions. The ‘vulnerable please help me’ smile, just doesn’t cut it anymore. One of my friends likened my purchase to wearing fur.

    If I could take buses to and from work, nursery and school every afternoon I would, but I can’t. Rather than flying in jets to Magalouf, I spend my summers in Bushmills. I recycle and don’t wear fur. I buy free range eggs and insulate my house. I try, I really do.

    I just succumbed, I don’t like being one the bad guys, please give the poor 4WDrivers on the Lisburn Road the benefit of the doubt. I’m sure they make their kids clothes from home-spun linen and recycled plastic bags.

  4. Sorry qmonkey I clearly missed the Reg Varney story.

    Lily you will be the beginnings of my 4×4 driver bias repentance. Just make sure you can park it properly ;). To be fair I also drive a fair bit – I do enjoy getting the bus, but with translink prices I doubt its cheaper than driving. Maybe I need to get a bike…

    The effects of the training seem to have worn off this week with a drop in bus driver pleasantries, with even one Newry bound driver ignoring the guy at my stop frantically trying to wave him down.

  5. Due to living just off the Newtownards road, Im able to get blue (ulster) or pink (metro) buses, the drivers in the blue ones are soo much more friendly, saying good morning, and joking that most of the times I get on the bus with my breakfast in hand, as well as wishing you a pleasent day and generally make friendly conversation to the people getting off the bus. (+ the fact that they get you to town much faster) makes blue buses a pleasent way to get into town.

  6. Lilytodd, I could weep. Do you not remember my campaign to get everyone to stop letting 4WD vehicles out at junctions? Although I do think you hav a good excuse for owning one if you have a caravan, so maybe that balances it out, as long as you make your children from home-spun linen and recycled plastic bags.

  7. Oh WNS, I had forgotten you instigated my social rejection, thanks for that!
    I planted some trees today, hugged them and fed them with old teabags; I’m hoping that offsets my crimes against humanity x

  8. No worries. Any time anyone needs some social rejection, I can oblige.

    The trees are good, but you have to hug them every day, so they will be happy trees. And they might like new teabags once in a while. And put a swing on one of them when it’s big enough, so it will feel useful and small children will love it.

    Then you will be some way to making amends.

  9. I miss living in the city – here in the sticks the only buses we get is the morning bus to the school and the afternoon drop off from school.


  10. The only people who need 4x4s are farmers and construction workers and generally folks working the land, and I would suggest that anyone else is buying them for status. An ordinary car will pull a caravan no problem.

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