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  • Unreliable but you have to use it if you are not a car owner!
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      15.09.2012 21:05
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      getting the bus is cheap and that's what matters these days,

      I live in the West Midlands and I generally don't mind getting the bus to get around even though there are alot of negatives of getting the bus.

      ---------Expensive but Cheap--------
      Every year bus fair goes up and every year I feel like I'm paying extortionate rates just to catch the bus especially being an unemployed student at the moment. Just this an adult monthly bus pass went up from £52 to £54 and if it keep it up at this rate in just 23 years I will be paying £100 a month just to get the bus and my guess is it will probably go up much faster. Although this seems like alot of money to be spending a month just to get around for the non reliable service being given but it's alot cheaper than a car, train, tram and basically every other form of transport other than a bike. A bus pass is probably better than paying daily fares because a day saver is £3.90 and a one way trip for an adult is £1.90 so £54 turns out to be nothing when you look at in this way for a regular traveller.
      The problem with paying all this money for a bus pass is the fact that some drivers don't even bother to look at it and just let people stroll on the bus. There are very few bus drivers that take their job seriously and make sure people pay their fair. This annoys me because I pay my money so the least the drivers can do is look if my pass is in date after all that is what I pay for.

      --------What kind of servie am I paying for--------
      Well I regularly get the bus to get around and I would say 75 percent of the time it is OK but the 25 percent would probably be just awful. In terms of do buses come on time well it depends on the route really. My area the buses I have to catch are almost never on time most of the time they are late and some of the time they are early which is really annoying. Although my area the buses are unreliable where my college is in Walsall the buses tend to be quick and I never fall short of a bus to get me back to Birmingham. There was on time were I waited 1 hour and 43 minute to be exact for one bus on a freezing cold winter evening. On the other hand were I have been in a hurry and a bus has saved my life by coming early and speeded to my destination.
      I tend to sit downstairs at the back these days because upstairs on Double Decker buses are always has smokers, loud school kids, someone playing loud music or generally just filthy. One good thing is that I have never been on a bus that has been in an accident and they don't take place to often so you know buses are safe.

      --------Experiences on the bus------
      I have had so many wacky, funny and unpleasant experiences on buses and to be fair I very rarely never have something to talk about when I get off a bus.

      ---------Wacky Experience
      One time I was on a bus going home and there was a man on the bus with a bible in his hand and he was preaching to the bus whilst walking up and down the bus. The man was quite scary to be fair at first I was just thought OK well he is just trying to get his religion across to people then when he got closer to were I was sitting on the bus the stench of Alcohol was horrific and I just thought wow.

      Another wacky experience was when I was on the bus and it was all peaceful while waiting at a traffic light then a passenger went crazy. A man who was sitting a few seats in front of me randomly got up and started shouting and then went to the front of the bus and starting kicking the door and telling the driver to let them off. If you think that's crazy enough he started shouting abuse about hating Birmingham then ran to the back of the bus and jumped out the back fire exit. Next thing you know the man is across the road with his trousers down and middle finger up. The whole bus was in hysterics it was funny but very weird.

      ---------Funny Experiences
      I have had plenty of funny experiences on buses and it mainly comes in the form of arguments. One time I was on the bus and a couple was arguing and the woman made the man cry. I felt so sorry for him but come on he was a man toughen up a little.

      ---------Unpleasant experiences
      I think unfortunately these happen way to often for me it's unreal. As I always sit downstairs at the back the seats are facing each other and on a number of times I have had people come and sit next to me and take their shoes off and put their feet up. The first thing that runs through my mind is 'your not in your house love'. The second thing that runs through my mind is 'clippers and cream is way to cheap for your feet to look like that'. I'm not a fan of feet and the cringe when someone sits next to you and puts crusty feet on the chair next to you is beyond horrendous.

      Another experience I had that was unpleasant is someone taking a dump of the bus and it was so vile I had to get off the bus. On the same day coming home from that night a man that was drunk and had vomited on the bus threw up all over the back seats and wow that's all I need to say really.

      The bus definitely brings some experiences that you can't imagine you will ever see happen.

      ----------Upside of getting the bus---------
      To be fair I have met some nice people on buses and had some good conversations on buses with strangers. There was on time I was on the bus talking about Desperate Housewives to a friend that had never watched it and then a women next to me joined in and me and her just talked for the whole journey and we actually had alot in common. Now we are friends on Facebook and regularly update each other on good shows to watch it's quite weird actually lol.

      I guess the upside is having someone drive you around and you have time to sit and read and listen to music and not have the stress of the roads and not being able to just relax to your destination. I guess this isn't really just a perk of the bus because you can do this on a train or tram a bus is a fraction of the price.

      I guess you could say it's more environmentally friendly carrying loads of people around at once. It also helps those who can't drive or use any other travel for whatever reason. There really isn't many perks to getting the bus to be honest this section was so hard to write about.

      ----------Overall-----------
      The bus can bring out a range of emotions for me and can sometimes be pleasant and sometimes be a nightmare. In this day and age the main thing I have to do is save as much money as possible because of planning to go to uni. For the time being the bus is a helpful way to save money and generally OK to travel on most of the time. I don't mind getting the bus and people think I'm weird for saying this lol.

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        10.02.2010 13:29
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        I preffer them to the tube and i actually dont really mind busses (apart from the price)

        As I live in North London and rarely travel past the river I cannot account for all London but I regularly travel around the North East to West spectrum on buses.

        It can be really hit and misses with buses in London. They are either going to arrive just as you are too and your journey will be floorless OR the more likely (or at least the one you are more likely to remember) is you get there, wait for 15 minutes, get on the over crowed bus and realise a minute behind is another one , completely empty, not stopping at any stops so you could of got to your destination in half the time!

        Where I live there are lots of buses coming through and as a result it is very lucky because I can pretty much get anywhere in London without too much haste. The 135 to Tottenham Court Road and the 43 to Angle are the most useful around my area because not only are they very regular, but they are regular all night long.

        They have never let me down as of yet and they are the real buses you expect to do you no wrong. When they do however, you get very angry. A couple of times though it has said a bus is coming in a minute, only to find it is not in service, or even worse they drive right pass you!

        But on a whole they are great. Other buses such as the 263 and 143 make me sick. They are so irregular; I can usually walk the 20 minute walk to the train station without seeing one going in either direction. Other buses such as the 102, 234 are slightly less annoying but still take their time. They are useful and are more often than not going to take around5-7 minutes. The 102 was changed to an all night bus about 2 years ago which is very useful but it only come twice an hour like many of the all night buses to be ready for some long waiting times!

        Although people complain lots about the buses what would we do without them? The trains would be even more packed and smelly, the buses also have a great vibe when your on your way out out. You also get the most insane people on buses, talking to themselves and some times to you without a clue in the world where they are.

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        17.08.2009 18:33

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        See review.

        Buses in London, especially Central London are extremely inefficient and slow. The reason for this is excessive traffic and too many bus stops. Buses in central London literally stop every 100 metres. This so buses can be elderly and disabled people friendly.

        While not too expensive at £1 to go one way, often it is quicker to walk than to take the bus. The only time the bus is useful is after midnight. At this time buses only arrive every 15 minutes or so however buses move very fast and you can be sure to get to your destination without being held up.

        I recommend London buses for tourists. Anyone visiting London and not in a rush to get anywhere and wants to take their time and see the sites. Riding the bus throughout the day using an Oyster card it shouldn't come to more than a few pounds. However for anyone who has an appointment or needs to be at a location at a specific time, walking would be better.

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        24.07.2009 20:37
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        3/10

        Firstly let's start with the price, if you remember the time when buses where 20p for a ride say I. It is now £1 with an oyster card (which is now £3) or a shocking £2 without.

        Night buses. Something like a nightmare (just that your awake), they come every 30-45mintues if your lucky (they seem to be more frequent in central london). From my experience the driver couldn't care less if someone comes on with alcohol, but in their defence who really wants to address a drunken person. However you may have to face the stench of vomit, the jolly cheers of songs and the odd conversation with someone who is way over the limit.

        Travelling at peek time...good luck during the morning you'll have the hustle of suits (if there is ever a tube strike STAY AT HOME) and the afternoon kids!!! Most of them are loud and rude.

        On a brighter note most of the buses have been installed with voice operators that inform you of each passing road and stop. Which can be considered useful after a tiring day at work. If your lucky they do have buses with screens installed which show you cctv, adverts or both.

        There is a good number of bells apart from the 222 in uxbridge (zone 6). On this bus (single decker) there is approx four on the whole thing, sit or stand in thge wrong place at peek time and you could potentially miss your stop!!

        For those who don't know it is expected for you to offer your seat to a pregnant woman or old age person.

        Bendy buses have seemed to gain the title 'the free bus'. Hop on at any entrance and YOU MUST tap in with an oyster. There are signs all around informing you to pay before you board. If you are planing to live on he dangerous side you have been warned ticket inspectors operate at all hours on theses buses and they come in full force (police and all)!! Its not worth the now £50 fine (which lowers to £25 if you pay quick).

        On a higher note you'll be giving aid to our dying environment and saving on congestion charge (if you plan on going into these areas during operation).

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          14.07.2009 17:54
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          If we could just get proper school buses...

          The bus is my friend, the passengers are my foe!

          I've used buses incredibly regularly throughout the last two years as I've had to use them twice a day to get to and from Sixth form, and the fact that it's an hour each way means that I spend plenty of time travelling on them.

          My personal experience of buses has been great and although the journey are much longer than going in a car I've never minded it. The drivers tend to always be polite and extremely helpful and the bus ride problem free. And probably contrary to a lot of people's experience I've never really had to put up with constant late buses.

          By experience of the other people that get on the bus, however, massively differs. When I get the 2:30 bus back I end up having to experience half my bus ride with really rowdy high school kids who are not properly controlled and their behaviour is far beyond the line of just impolite. This has been pretty much continous for the two years and both the schools and the bus company have yet to do anything about it. It really makes my journey atrocious and I have to purposely take a bus an hour later just to have some peace. Not what I want from a respectable bus company.



          I have had one annoying problem with a bus journey though and I really wish I'd reported it now. On one journey when travelling on a company and bus route I usually did, about half way through, my driver lit a cigarette and smoked it while driving. This is dangerous has he can be easily distracted by it and lose focus. And it was incredibly disgusting as the smell filled the entire bus. It certainly wasn't the professional service I'd come to expect.

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          26.11.2008 23:30
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          Depends where you live

          As I've lived in the north west, the east midlands and now the south west, I've had a lot of experience of public transport, especially trains and buses.

          I don't have a car, so I rely on trains and buses to travel long distances, particularly when I need to go to Nottingham to visit my friends or Manchester to visit my family.

          In Manchester and Nottingham, I was spoilt for buses. Nottingham in particular is an easy city to get around, but particularly by bus, as there are buses every 10-15 minutes, which run until the early hours of the morning, up until around 3am I think, and then start back up again at 5 or 6am. They also run to Derby and Leicestershire and places like that.

          The town I live in now however, whilst very large and should really be a city, has terrible buses. They only run until 6pm, and there are about every half hour or one hour on Sundays. This makes my journey very difficult when coming off the train from a 4 or 5 hour journey home, because it means I have to leave very early to get a bus back or pay another £15 for a taxi (almost half the cost of my train fare to travel 200 miles!).

          Not many people use the buses here, though I'm not sure if it's because the public transport is so rubbish, or because the lack of people makes it rubbish? I know now how lucky I was before though - wish I could drive!

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            14.09.2005 00:12
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            Travel in Edinburgh then this is for you

            Should you find that you ever need to commute in or around Edinburgh then you will more than likely end up on one of these buses. Who am I talking about? I am referring to the biggest bus company in Edinburgh Lothian Buses (LRT)

            **About the company**

            Previously known as Lothian region transport the largest bus company in Edinburgh claims to have the biggest fleet of buses on Edinburgh roads along with the most passengers on a daily basis. LRT now has fleet of over 650 buses and currently has over 85 different bus routes. Employs in excess of 1000 staff to operate there unique service to the public. They have a 24 help line that will provide you with any information regarding the service of any bus in or around Edinburgh


            **The bus**

            Well most of LRT fleet is made up of double decker buses that are maroon and white in colour (older buses). The newer buses tend to be a red and white colour. They also have single decker buses and buses that are bendy in the middle. Full descriptions below

            *Standard double decker~ this is the most common bus that you will see when travelling in Edinburgh. The buses are enormous to say the lease and they are very basic. They seat about 95-105 passengers over the 2 decks, LRT also allow up to 12 passengers to stand on the lower deck. There are seats that are particularly for the elderly or disabled, they have a sign on them asking you to give them up if someone elderly/disabled comes on the bus. These seats are situated in the middle of the bus just beside the exit door. Passengers that have luggage or push chairs are asked to place them in the designated hold. If you decide to venture upstairs then you may be in for a little shock as the buses tend to be rather untidy and when I say untidy what I mean is that you likely to find used newspapers on the floor, cans of juice rolling about the bus, not to mention used chip shop wrappers.

            Single decker buses~ these buses tend to me less busy and certainly a lot cleaner compared to other buses in the fleet. Passenger numbers on these buses are only about 49 at the max with a few more standing. I believe the reason they are a lot cleaner is that they do not have upstairs deck. Unfortunately due to the size these buses get full very quickly therefore if you could often be standing for the whole journey.

            Bendy Buses~ not sure what the correct name for these particular buses is so I will call them the bendy buses. They basically are two buses joined together that bend in the middle when going round corners. These are the newest arrival to the LRT fleet and by far they are the best buses that LRT offer. These buses will seat about 100 passengers. These buses all have the ability to lower to ground level to allow buggies and wheelchairs easy access.

            **Safety on board**

            Its LRT top priority to ensure that there staff and passengers are safe whilst on there buses. To help maintain a safe environment all buses are equipped with close circuit television that records whilst the bus is in operation. Locals believe that only the upper deck has CCTV I can confirm that most LRT buses are equipped with at least 5 cameras that cover ever angle of the bus. To protect the driver most buses are equipped with a reinforced plastic shield over the driver’s cabin. This plastic is strong enough to stop people from assaulting the driver. All buses have a direct link to the bus control via the onboard radio system should they need to get the police or of course get an ambulance.

            LRT will prosecute anyone that verbally or physically assaults there staff.


            **Services/Routes**

            With over 85 different bus routes that you can take you are guaranteed that LRT will take you to your destination. They cover all major attraction in Edinburgh including Edinburgh castle, Butterfly farm (Dalkeith), Edinburgh Zoo, Holyrood Palace, The new Scottish parliament and many more attractions that Edinburgh has to offer.

            Now in addition to the attractions of the capital LRT can also deliver you to 1 of Edinburgh’s 15 hospitals and yes that is taking every hospital in to account.

            Here to study then don’t worry LRT will deliver you direct to any one of the 19 colleges/campus.

            There is not one place of interest within Edinburgh that I can think of that LRT will not be able to deliver you too. Even if you plan to go out in the middle of the night you can be guaranteed to get a bus.


            **Times** (Normal Buses)

            As there are so many different buses on the go at any point you are always guaranteed to have a bus arrive fairly soon. Most of the busy routes I.e. in to the city centre run every 12/15minutes meaning that you will not have to wait all that long on the bus.

            Monday to Friday buses run from 06.00am to 12.00midnight

            Saturday most buses start at 0.700am and finish at 23.00hrs approx

            Sunday is a very limited timetable buses run from about 0.800am till about 22.00hrs

            *During these times the buses that are running as the last bus will often be part route meaning that they will stop at a certain place.

            **Special services** (Air Link)

            If you need to get to Edinburgh airport then you do not need to worry about getting a taxi and paying through the nose for it as LRT offer a great service. Yes they run a service from the city centre of Edinburgh to Edinburgh airport during the journey it will stop at about 6 stops to collect additional passengers. This bus tends to be very quiet on most journeys. Journey time from the centre to the airport is approximately 25minutes. These buses are very frequent during the day they are every 10 minutes and after 00.45hrs they are every hour. Air link buses are blue in colour and only stop at selected bus stops.

            **Night Buses**

            LRT offer about 12 different night service buses that cover most of Edinburgh in the wee small hours. These buses mostly run from the city centre to the out skirts of Edinburgh. Most of the N buses run every hour from midnight and run up until the wee small hours of the morning being 6am. Whilst on these buses you can expect for drunks to be on them on a Friday and Saturday as this is so much cheaper way of travelling around Edinburgh after a good night out. The way to spot the night bus is that it will have a big red N followed by the number on the front of the bus. Night buses tend to be single decker buses unless it’s a busy route.

            **Sightseeing Buses**

            Yes they also offer a sightseeing tour of Edinburgh onboard there great open top bus. Bus leave city centre every ten minuets and last for about 1hr. When you buy the 24hr ticket you are able to jump on and off the sightseeing buses for that period. They will take you around Edinburgh and of course you are provided with a guide.

            ** There are options on these buses to have the guides talk translated in to different languages.


            **Fares**

            Now this is the great part with LRT are there are so many ways that you can pay for your fare.

            *Normal Buses*

            *Ridacard~ a electronic card that will give you unlimited travel on LRT normal buses, all you need to do is swipe you card on the machine on the bus, the light will go green to indicate that you have credit on the card. Costs are below

            Paying by direct debit
            Child £21.00 per month £288 Anually
            Student £26.00 £360 Anually
            Adult £31.00 £432 Anually


            Now the great thing about these cards is if you lose it LRT will replace it within 4 weeks for £5.00

            *day saver ticket~ If your travelling on LRT buses for the day only then this is certainly the best option for you. £2.30 for adult and £2.00 for child this will give you unlimited travel on the normal service.

            *Cash onboard~ you can still pay with cash onboard all the LRT buses but please be aware that they do not offer change so either have the exact change available or you will pay more.

            This is easy to work out its done in stages

            Adults
            Stages 1-8 Green bands would cost you 80p
            Stages 9+ red bands would cost £1.00

            Children will pay 60p regardless where they are travelling too.

            **OAP**

            If you’re lucky enough to be an OAP then you will have the following fares to pay

            Monday to Friday before 9.30am then you pay a flat fare of 40p and anytime after 9.30am and at the weekends you pay nothing. Correct you can travel across the city for nothing.


            **Air Link**

            From any point on the route to the airport you pay the same fare.

            Adult £3.00 single or £5.00 open return
            Child £2.00 Single or £3.00 open return

            **Night Buses**

            One flat fare is all you pay on the night service buses.

            £2.00 for every passenger child or adult
            £1.00 if you have a ridacard

            There is no way at all you will get a Edinburgh taxi for as little as £2 it would cost you that just to book it.


            **Sightseeing buses**

            When you buy a ticket it lasts you for 24 hrs so you are able to jump on and off the sightseeing buses all day.

            Adult £8.50
            Child £2.50
            OAP £7.50
            Student £7.50
            Family £19.50

            Now when you buy this ticket you will automatically qualify for 10% discount of the admission charge at Edinburgh castle.


            **Drivers**

            Most of the time driver of LRT are very pleasant when you board there buses they will greet you with a friendly smile and of course a “Hello”. The drivers are always willing to help you, so if your not sure where you going just ask the driver to let you know when you arrive at your destination. An idea would be so sit close to the driver if you are not sure of where you’re going that way he will not forget about you. All drivers have a LRT uniform on whilst in duty and there appearance is normally very clean and tidy.

            **Bus Stops**

            There are now without a lie of a word there are over 1000 bus stops within Edinburgh. Now these are very basic in most areas, they consist of metal shelters that will protect you from the wind and rain. At all bus stops there is a timetable that will tell you when the next bus is due and it will also provide you with information on bus routes too. Just a point here make sure your standing at the correct bus stop as in many areas especially the city centre there are about 4/5 bus stops in a row.

            LRT and the city of Edinburgh council are currently running trials with new bus stops, if these bus stops get the go ahead then you will be told by a voice what bus is arriving next and where it goes.


            **LRT Shops**

            There are 3 LRT travel shops in Edinburgh that will give you all the information you will ever need about any aspect of LRT services. You can also buy bus tickets there to and of course pick up timetables

            These are situated at the following locations~

            Waverly bridge~ Just outside the train station

            Hanover Street~ is just off princess St

            Shandwick Pl~ is situated at the west end of Edinburgh

            All shops are open from 0815hrs to 1800 Monday to Saturday

            *Waverly bridge is the only store open on a Sunday from 0930 till 1700hrs


            **My conclusion**

            I think I should be delighted to have such a good bus service here in Edinburgh. The fares are very cheap in comparison to other means of transport and any time that I have travelled on there buses I have always been happy with the service. As I live on the out skirts of Edinburgh I find that the frequency of the buses in my area is super. I still find it hard to believe that LRT can charge us such a low fare and still provide an excellent bus service. I would definitely like to see all the new buses introduced in to there fleet as some of there buses are now getting a bit old. Even there night service bus has to be given the thumbs up as I feel that it is a service that many people would be lost without. Overall I would say to anyone try these buses I am confident that you will delighted with the service.

            **You can also pay online at http://www.lothianbuses.co.uk/ for any of the services

            **Further information~

            Believe it or not there is still more information available.

            0131 555 6363 is a 24hr line that will provide times and fares

            mail@flybybus.com Email address for the bus to the airport

            mail@lothianbuses.co.uk Email address for normal buses

            Head Office
            Lothian Buses plc,
            Annandale Street,
            Edinburgh,
            EH7 4AZ

            Lost property~ 0131 558 8858

            Sightseeing tours~ 0131 220 0770

            Main LRT website~ http://www.lothianbuses.co.uk/



            Hope you find this helpful and should you ever visit Edinburgh I hope you find the time to ride on one of these buses

            © Robert Aka Marcellep 13/09/05

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              03.02.2002 08:16
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              • "Unreliable but you have to use it if you are not a car owner!"

              After reading a highly amusing account of public transport, I decided to jot down my equally dubious experiences. This time on the London bus service. I moved down to London in 1992 to go to University, and happily due to the close proximity of my halls of residence to the campus (bang on the door step!) and the fact that I was very central, I didn't have to encounter the joys of a London bus very often. When I did need to travel, I usually used the tube, which despite the moans, it generally seems to run fairly smoothly, usually on time and seems to be used mainly by sane people! However, all changed when I moved into a flat which was further out and only truly accessible by buses. Wow - what an eye-opener! Now, for the last seven years, my life has been dominated by the trials and tribulations of using the London bus service with all its quirks & foibles. I also hate to think quite how long of those 7 years I have spent at the bus stop waiting - sometimes it feels like half. GUIDE TO THE LONDON BUS SERVICE BUS DRIVERS The bus driver is a very strange breed - occasionally you find a happy, polite one (obviously first day on the job), but more usually it is driven by a psychopath on day release from the local hospital with no social graces or any regard to human life or property. I maintain that the usual bus drivers job interview is on the lines of:- - Do you hate people? - Do you have a problem with society? - Can you be rude to the public consistently? - Can you drive like a maniac - but without actually crashing the bus? - Do you have an attitude problem? (any one will do) An answer of Yes to any or all of these questions ensures sure employment. Occasionally they let a "normal" person drive the buses just to confuse the passengers and to fill the equal opportunities quotas of actually employing some people in full charge of their faculties. DRIVING THE BUS (only
              usually done by the driver ( but if he goes missing on a change over - the passengers start making threats of mutiny.) Driving a bus generally consists of driving at break-neck speed between stops & on reaching (or over-shooting) the next stop involves the slamming off the brakes as hard as possible while watching the passengers go flying. (You may knock one over if you are lucky.) Once at the stop the fun begins, open the doors, shout at passengers to hurry up, then mumble at them, give them their change in 1p pieces, refuse to lower the bus for easy pram access and pick on some poor unsuspecting bloke and demand him to come back 3 times to inspect his (valid) bus pass. Turn a passenger away for having a £5 note (feel the power), take a dislike to someone who says something about your attitude, turn off the engine of the bus & tell the passengers that "we aren't going anywhere until the passenger gets off the bus" (these stand offs can last 5-10+ minutes while the irate passenger who has waited for 40 minutes pleads to be allowed to remain. Tough luck, the driver is really enjoying his 5 minutes of power and it's gone to his head, the passenger eventually has to leave - but not before the whole bus has joined in the argument either supporting the passenger or wanting him off as quickly as possible so they can get moving again. Anyone who stands up for the evicted passenger usually finds that they are threatened with the same fate. This shuts everyone up. Eventually off we go again. The driver is now running very late, so despite frantic waving by would be passengers at the bus stop, he slows down & then speeds off sharply past the stop while the long queue of people salute him with V signals. (The driver is really tripping now.) Unfortunately for the people in the queue, the bus behind, as buses always travel in convoy (they are a naturally gregarious species) also thinks this is a good idea and speeds off past them too, lea
              ving them even more irate, more late and more fuming. I have noted that Driving Past The Bus Stop is a phenomena that particularly occurs when its raining, extra cold or dark. (The drivers now have a manic grin.) And so it goes on from bus stop to bus stop for the entire shift - the passengers getting grumpier and the driver getting more kicks. THE PASSENGERS A strange motley crew of people who would never normally even associate, all tightly packed in together and forced to remain civil to each other (most of the time anyway), all from different countries and some from different planets - all united in their main cause - to get to their destination - hopefully on time. PENSIONERS are usually OK (but tend to moan a lot) or say in extremely loud voices, extremely embarrassing things - such as "She looks like she's going to drop it any minute!" when a heavily pregnant woman walks by! (We all cringe & hide under the seats.) MUMS WITH BUGGIES - The bright ones park in the buggy spaces, the dim ones put the buggy in the middle of the gangway & wonder why noone can get past them. THE TODDLER - a strange beast not even understood by its parents or even itself. Unable to sit still for even half a minute and certainly unable to complete a full journey without a tantrum - followed by rolling about with legs thrashing - all because Mum wouldn't let them eat a dog biscuit covered in fluff off the floor. Unfortunately toddlers are synchronised so that at least one of them is programmed to howl incessantly and inconsolably all journey (I hope it's not mine!), while its mother frantically tries to control it while turning crimson from embarrassment at it's behaviour. Heaven help you if all toddlers present exhibit this trait at the same time. SCHOOL KIDS - arghhhh! Between 3 & 4pm someone turns out the local zoos & they all get on the bus, loud, noisy, showing off, jumping up & down all over t
              he bus & even climbing the poles! "Normality" only starts to return round about 5pm when they have all been rounded up again. THE SHOPPING TROLLEY PUSHER - yes, there is always one and apart from a perfectly sane granny with a bad back, almost invariably, anyone pushing a shopping trolley (especially when young) is truly insane and the bigger the trolley, the loopier the pusher (is this where that famous phrase "off your trolley" comes from ? I wonder?) The biggest rows I have ever seen on buses have been caused by someone let out for the day with a trolley. Take note & avoid. THE MOBILE PHONE USER - we all use them, but then there is the archetypal loud phone user who is louder than Dom Joly from Trigger Happy TV. "Hello" they tell the bus & start to divulge (exciting) details such as "I'm on the bus!", "I had McDonalds for tea" & "I've been shopping". If you listen (you have no choice) you may actually hear something truly embarrassing as my hubby did & was laughing all the way home, which brings me on to the next subject. PEOPLE WHO DISCUSS THEIR SEX LIVES LOUDLY - erm yes, it's true - you know who you are and we are STILL laughing at what we overheard - and don't think that you can get away with saying it in a foreign language either! THE DRUNK - There is always the obligatory drunk, every rush hour bus has one (are they employed by the bus company?) They get on with the maximum fuss and shout in a loud slurred voice for everyone to hear for the whole journey. They ramble at anyone who would care to listen to them (and everyone else who doesn't want to), eventually they get off (by falling out the door usually just before your last stop) - much to the relief of all the other passengers. THESE MUST BE OBSERVED Manners when travelling on a bus (rules) 1) When bus arrives - push to front of the queue, jump over anyone with a pram and
              elbow the pensioners out of the way. It doesn?t matter if you were the last to the bus stop, it just matters that you get on the bus - and first! 2) Ignore anyone who needs help to get on the bus - you don't want to strain yourself do you? Particular ignore mums with arms full of babies & pushchairs & old ladies with shopping. 3) Find a seat, sit in it and for goodness sake don't move from it, if you do, someone more deserving might get it & we can't have that can we? Close your eyes, read your paper, look at your watch, stare out of the window ? do anything to avoid eye contact with the standing pregnant woman, the ninety year old lady and the man holding two children while the bus lurches from stop to stop. 4) If anyone requires the seat next to you - make sure that they can't sit there, by either sitting on the edge on the seat near to the central aisle or by putting an enormous bag on it. If anyone asks you to move your bag, huff & puff, look EXTREMELY PUT OUT (how could anyone be so unreasonable?), move the bag extremely slowly and allow the person to sit on half the free seat. If they ACTUALLY want you to move, swivel your bum sideways and make them squeeze past you even if they are 8 months pregnant. 5) If anyone bumps into you, make sure you cause a massive argument which results in you asking them to "step outside". CATCHING A BUS Easier said than done this one! Firstly allow a good half hour extra to your journey time, this way the bus will be on time & you will arrive early at your chosen destination. Woe betide you if you are running behind, as running behind on a personal level ALWAYS results in at least a 40 minute wait for the bus guaranteed! (Try it if you don't believe me!) Ignore the timetable, I've no idea why these are printed - maybe to give the passengers a false sense of security? To give them something to read & do while waiting? To reassure them that after 30 minutes
              of waiting that the bus will surely turn up as it's supposed to be every 10 minutes or maybe they had too much A4 paper at the depot that just had to be used up? What ever the reason, the timetable doesn't actually bear any resemblance to reality and reading them is a complete waste of effort - unless of course you want to know which direction that the bus is travelling (that is if it actually turns up at all.) What ever you do, don't leave the bus stop and decide that it would be quicker to walk. This may be theoretically true, but one of two things always happens. If you stay at the bus stop, the bus will be another 20 minutes, if you leave, as soon as you get too far to get back - along will come the bus and sail past you. If you started to walk, on no account run towards the next stop to reach the bus, the driver will see you, slow down the bus & appear to wait - then as you approach the bus, he will close the door in your face and drive off - leaving you breathless and him with a manic grin on his face. You made his day, but was it worth it? If by any chance, despite all this, you got on the bus, you actually made it to your destination on time and all was well, don?t worry, they will catch you out next time - you have been warned.

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                29.11.2001 23:24
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                • "mad people!"

                For two years I travelled to work on the tubes, a journey of about an hour and a half each morning and evening that was absolute hell. For those who aren’t familiar with the District line, it’s the long green one that runs from Upminster to Ealing Broadway via Earls Court, and it's a nightmare – one of the slowest lines on the network, always cramped and smelly, and subject to long delays and cancellations. That was the line I travelled on the most, but I’ve experienced most of the other lines too, and they all have the same problems to varying degrees. In April of this year I moved to Camberwell, a short bus ride from where I work in Vauxhall, and decided to save myself a fortune in tube fares and catch the bus instead. I have been buying the new ‘all zones’ weekly bus ticket that costs £9.50 and allows you to go wherever you like in London by bus. Bus travel has some distinct advantages over tube travel. When you travel by tube, you can’t see where you’re going and could be absolutely anywhere in London, so you never really get a sense of the city above. Travelling by bus really gives you a sense of the different areas that make up London and how they are all connected. The buses never get as crowded as the tubes, even in rush hour, and you’re far more likely to get a seat. If the bus breaks down, you can simply get off, and don’t have to spend hours crouched uncomfortably just below some strangers’ armpit until the ‘signal failure’ that always seems to be the problem with the tube is sorted out. And, of course, it’s cheaper. The disadvantages are that many bus routes are very unreliable. I have had to wait for the No 343 from London Bridge in excess of 45 minutes on occasion, even though it’s supposed to run every eight minutes. There’s little you can do about this apart from complain to the bus company, but I doubt it’d get you a
                nywhere. Another disadvantage is that the seats that are supposed to fit two people are actually only big enough for one medium sized person, so if you or the person sharing your seat is any larger than average, you could be in for a very uncomfortable journey. One final disadvantage I feel worth mentioning is that buses seem to attract far more mad people than the tube – strange but true! Since I’ve switched from tube to bus travel I’ve lost count of the number of times a conductor has had to stop the bus to sling off someone who’s behaving strangely or aggressively, drunk or drugged up. To summarise, I would recommend bus travel over tube travel if you don’t live beyond zone 3 or 4, any further out than that and you won’t be home before midnight of an evening!

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                  16.10.2001 05:11
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                  I hate buses and I hate bus lanes. Why would I want to give up my lovely warm car with it’s lovely loud radio for an horrible cold bus filled with miserable bedraggles poarpers? I can’t think of a reason. You get to your destination slower, your ricochet off the walls when you turn corners, you get to passively smoke an old hag’s cigarettes and have to give up your seat to women carrying babies. Not for me thank you. The more people that use buses they say will conserve the Earth’s natural resources. They are going to run out anyway so we might as well make the most of them by filling our tanks. I drive a car everyday and have no plans to stop doing so. From a more practical point of view I play bass in a band called Starki. I’d love to see people’s faces when I hold the bus up lugging my 250 Watt 9 stone bass amp in and out of the bus along with my guitar amp, my acoustic and my bass guitar. Just for this obvious reason, there will never be a time when the majority of people use buses. Only when petrol really does cost the Earth and the entire country is grid-locked will people start to convert. Buses are only good for two things. One, transporting those that can’t drive or are too poor to afford a car around and two transporting people who like a drink around which I certainly do. I’m well against drink driving above three pints so using the bus on four or more is ideal when your mind doesn’t care what it endures. I often even fall asleep on them when I’m intoxicated. Bus lanes really wind me up when I’m driving. I’m not one of these idiots that use them when they shouldn’t but I get very road raged when I see buses shooting along in the left hand lane whilst me and the rest of Stockport are jammed up along the A6.

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                    02.08.2001 03:59
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                    In the average city, the air outside a car or on a form of public transport is nearly 5 times as cleaner as that behind the steering wheel. And so to keep healthy and enjoy the city, this is the best option. We all know London is no ordinary city, with both good and bad points. the good points well outweigh the bad ones, but one majour problem when your going about your adventure in the jungle of buildings we know as London sporting your very fetching Union Jack hat is the traffic. It just seems to come from nowhere, and move at snail-pase through the city. A good way to avoid this is coach. But these, unless booked with your holiday, are expensive and need to be booked in advance. But this is London - why be sooooo boring and 'touristy' by getting on your air-conditioned coach? Hop on the famous red buses. They're cheap, clean, an experience, famous and sometimes have an open top deck (yay!). You also get to meet the people that make London what it is - the Cockneys! These fun, witty, happy go lucky peeps will kepp you amused through your journey at no extra cost (just don't forget your stop!). They do sometimes get crowded - but your on holiday. Get in there and sharpen your elbows. Or even better wait till the bus is pulling away and jump on the back like they do in films (this is not very advisable at the rush hour though) - actors eat your hearts out! Generally, there are number of special tickets running for different seasons. Check these at any torist info centre or travel centre, as these usually work out cheaper if your going to be travelling around London by bus a lot. My advice though is to site near to the conductor if you don't really know where your going, as they are usually happy to warn you when your stop is approaching. Also, always sit by the conductor late at night in London, on the bottom deck. I'm not saying that it's dangerous, only I find it usually makes me feel more
                    at ease in a strange, big city later at night. Do remember that London, like any other major city, does suffer from crime and drug problems, so always be on your gaurd, and wear bag across you so it's harder to snatch. As London is attractive to tourists all year round, it is an ideal taget for thieves. Don't let careless actions ruin your break. All in all I've always found them to be a good, fun and cheap way to see all the sights, shop 'til you drop and see London as the true crazy place it is.

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                    28.07.2001 22:41
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                    To be honest red buses in London are getting a little rusty and we don’t see too many new buses around but I have to say still they are one of the best means of transport in London. I have been using them for many years now. Although now a days I don’t use them very often as compared to my college days but still there are times when I prefer taking a bus rather than using my car as finding a place to park the car can be very difficult at times and at some places in London you may have to pay up to £4 per hour for parking. With the passage of time I have seen so many changes, some good and some bad. While the service has become worse in some aspects, There have been some new developments proven to be very useful. I’ll divide my op in three sections, the Good, the Bad and the Fares. GOOD ----- Ø They are cheaper than tubes. Ø They are available nearly 22 hours a day as compared to the underground service, which seizes after midnight. Ø They are great for sightseeing. Ø Due to the development of bus only lanes they can move faster through the traffic while cars are stuck in traffic jam. Ø The new fares are very simple and convenient. Ø There are a lot of passes and discount fares available for students, senior citizens and children. Ø The new low floor buses are great for Mums with buggies. BAD ---- Ø They are not very reliable. Ø Not always on time and sometime you have to wait for ages. Ø During peak hours you can be stuck for hours. Ø Not all drivers are very helpful and friendly Ø The quality of service differs in different areas of London. Ø Many buses needs to be replaced and new buses are required. FARES ------ The new fares are very convenient and there are many passes and discounts available. Ø There are two standard fares, £1 in central London (zone 1) for a single ticket and 70p for any other zone. (Zone
                    2-6). 40p for children age 5-15. Ø A special pass for only £2 is also available for a single day. You can have as many rides as you want. Ø You can buy one day, weekly, monthly or even an annual pass for any zone, for discount prices. Very useful for regular users like students, not only saves money but time as well. Ø Special concession passes for students (33% off), children and senior citizens. Ø Saver tickets is a pack of six tickets for £3.90 which you can use anywhere, anytime. Ø All tickets and passes are available from most of the newsagents, main stations and underground stations as well. NIGHT BUSES ------------ Night buses run from midnight to 7 am, not as frequent as regular day buses but are very useful means of transport at the time when no other transport is available. MOBILITY BUSES --------------- These are special buses for handicap and people with physical disabilities. Not too many around but you can find their route and timings from the guidebook. LEAFLETS --------- Leaflets and maps are available from all stations and are very useful. You can find general bus guide, night bus guide or guides and routes for local areas. You can also get information from 24 hour phone line service by dialling number 0207 222 1234. With all the problems that the London bus service is facing at the moment it’s still one of the best and most economical means of transport. By using the information line and leaflets you can plan your journey in advance and can avoid most of the problems.

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                      21.07.2001 07:04
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                      If you are looking to travel in to the University from York or Monks Cross this is the way to do it. They run an hourly service which runs from the university circular to Monks cross shopping precinct, via the town centre. The service is subsidised by the university so you will find cheap prices, ranging from 90p for a single from town, to 1.60ish for a return from University to Monks Corss. The drivers will greet you with a smile and a cheery hello at the very least, and you will often have the pleasure of a friendly chat along the way. More regular customers may well find themselves becoming known very quickly, and I have even had one of them helping me in a house search. It is by far the pleasnatest way to travel to the uni, even if it does mean an extra 2 minute walk from the centre of town out to Monk bar where the town stop is. I n that respect it is not as convenient as buses which go from Clifford Street but I guarantee you a pleasanter journey.

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                        21.07.2001 00:43
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                        When i go in to wembley then i will walk because it is not very far for me to walk If i want to go to southend with my mum then she will drive her car and take us there If i want to go into the town of london then i will go on a tube train But then sometime i like to go on the bus which is really good my favourtie bus is the number 18 and it goes from sudbury along the harrow road to wembley and then to willsden and then to neasden and then to edgware road and then to baker street and to euston and it runs every 5 minutes past my house and then it runs all the way back again which is really good Buses normally have scratched windows and graffiti on them and normally have old people and children on them I like the look of really good graffiti when it is done really good but when it is just a scribble on the back of a seat or a window then i think the it looks rubbish and should be cleaned of Everytime i go on the number 18 bus me and my freind sit up on the top right at the back and we watch everyboddy get on and of and see if any of the ladys are pretty sometimes the driving man will pull away before the people have sat down and then they fall over and that is mean One day i sat into some chewing gum and when i got home my mum put my farrahs in to the freezer and froze them and then later she just picked of the chewing gum because she is clever I do like the bus as it is really good and easy to use you get on and tell the driver wehre you want to go and he makes you pay either 70p or 1£ or 1£50p at night and then takes you there as long as it is part of the journey that he has to go on by the map and then you can sit down and wait until the bus arrives at where you want to be and then get of and be there Sometimes a man comes along called a conductor and checks to make sure that you have got a correct ticket but my freind calls them blood claat babylon for a joke but one time a conductor heard him and he was asked to get of
                        the bus Somenights my freind gets on a nightbus after he has been to clubbing and he said to me quentin donot ever get on a nightbus beacause they are full of weirdos and freaks and then he told me that a wino did some sick on his wu wear trousers and that made me laugh so he hit me on the shoulder and called me a loon When i learn to drive and buy a car i will not need to get a bus anymore which will be really good

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                          18.07.2001 19:53
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                          You might have noticed that Londoners love to moan about their public transport (and everything else, for that matter), but I think our buses kick ass. And before the accusations come flying, I’m not a bus-spotter and I don’t go out in I LOVE BUSES tee-shirts. I do however belong to one of those fantastic charities that let you sponsor a disused bus from as little as £2 per week, and I wait by the letterbox every morning to see if I have received a new photo of my bus, or a letter from my bus telling me how its dull existence has been brightened by my couple of quid (family pack of Maltesers last week, the cheeky blighter, I am thinking of cancelling my subscription). Of course, that was all lies. I’m just saying that amongst the general chaos of London Transport, buses can actually be quite a pleasant (and inexpensive) way to get around. These bullet points are not terribly interesting, but uncommonly useful. I don’t mind if you skip them. * London has four bus zones. Central London is zone 1, and then the others go outwards in concentric circles (well blobs) with zone 4 being the outside lane. * A one-day, all zone-bus pass costs £2. A one-week, all-zone bus pass costs £9.50. * A ‘travelcard’ allows you to use buses, tubes and trains and costs £4 per day (zones 1-2). * Single journeys in or through zone 1 cost £1. In zones 2-4 they cost 70p. * Single journeys on a night bus are £1.50 in zone 1, and £1 outside. Night bus routes run approximately every half an hour, but it generally seems much longer because you’re freezing your ass off and you’ve forgotten your mittens etc. * www.londontransport.co.uk/buses is a well designed and genuinely useful website with loads of information on fares, timetables and so on. Here endeth the bullet points. WHY BUSES ARE BETTER THAN A WARM CROISSANT 1. You can’t take a croissant to work. Well you can, o
                          f course, but they don’t keep out the rain nearly so well. But then buses with jam aren’t very tasty. One-all then. 2. Buses are the best way of getting to know London. If you become reliant on the tube you never get to see how the places fit together, or realise how small the city actually is (honest). 3. The childhood thrill of sitting upstairs on the front seat / ringing the bell never really goes away. 4. It’s much cheaper than any other form of transport in the city (apart from walking and cycling of course, but you take your life in your hands doing either). 5. When you’ve been waiting in the cold for half an hour, a bus is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen. The relief when you get on board is even better than finally going for a wee when you’ve been waiting for ages, if you see what I mean. WHEN BUSES GO BAD (TONIGHT, CHANNEL 5, 10PM) 1. That old ‘joke’ about buses, where you wait forever for one and then three come along at once, is absolutely true. Especially when you’re running late. I don’t know why this should be. 2. That old ‘joke’ about buses being full of weirdos is also absolutely true. You can easily find yourself sitting next to a Maker of Strange Noises or Carrier of Bizarre and Smelly Objects. 3. Occasionally they can be kind of grimy, but they carry hundreds of thousands of people every day, so give them a break. 4. The congestion in zone 1 is so great that, even with bus lanes provided, it can take you the best part of an hour to cross the city. A similar tube journey would probably take about 20 minutes. 5. Someone invariably spews in the aisle of the night bus. HOP ON, HOP OFF There are two types of London bus these days. In bygone days, we only had the ‘hop on, hop off’ buses with the platforms at the back. These are all double-deckers, and a conductor comes round to check your passes or s
                          ell you a ticket from one of those old winding and whirring machines. The beauty of these is that you don’t have to wait for a bus stop, you can just leap out into the road when the bus comes to a standstill, which makes you feel very cool indeed. The conductor quite often shouts or gives you a parental, despairing look through the window, but it’s worth it. They are trying to phase these old style buses out on the grounds that they’re not terribly safe, which I think is a great loss indeed. On the new buses you have to show your pass to the driver as you board, and wait to be let off at a designated stop. Zzzzzzz. You can shove safety up your ass. I want danger. I want elderly ladies to tut-tut as I hurl myself from a not-quite-stationary bus and survive. MY FAVOURITE BUS ROUTE This is not, strictly speaking, my favourite bus route (although I am quite fond of it), but the one that I would recommend to any visitors to the city. Route number 12 shows a really interesting cross-section of London, while taking in a lot of the big tourist sights. It starts in Peckham, which is considered a ghetto and is one of the most impoverished and crime-ridden parts of London. It has a fabulous Salvation Army shop though (if you like that kind of thing) and is definitely worth visiting, if only for the contrast between that and your final destination – Notting Hill Gate. This is the home of most of London’s rich and famous, as well as the excellent Portobello market and Notting Hill Arts Club (one of London’s nicest – in my opinion – venues). In between you pass through Westminster, right past Big Ben, through Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus and along Oxford Street. What more do you want? Blood? AND FINALLY… I would of course be delighted to hear other readers’ favourite bus routes (and reasons why). The best answer will win a ‘Drivers do it on buses’ keyring. I thank you.

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