In order to avoid getting the tube whilst temperatures reach astonishing highs for England (over 15 degrees) I have began to do my entire commute on a bus. Sounds hellish I’m sure, but I always get a seat, I can sit by a window, I can read for two hours a day and, much to my surprise, I’ve learnt some rather surprising lessons. Here are some life lessons from a London Bus:
1. You never quite get over being picked last in P.E lessons
Sitting on a bus enjoying a lovely commute it steadily starts to fill up. In true British character nobody would choose to sit next to somebody they didn’t know if there was a pair of seats available, but of course at some point there comes a time where you have to sit next to someone you don’t know. Now, as a chooser in this position you generally choose the person who looks least interesting (nobody likes to talk on public transport in London). As someone with a free seat next to them you start willing for people to sit somewhere other than next to you, that is until you notice that there are only a few free spaces left and you don’t want to be the person that nobody wants to sit next to. Like secondary school all over again…
2. You become an expert on all things transport
I have never cycled in London, I have never driven a taxi in London or driven a bus – yet after travelling around London from the dizzy heights of the top of a double decker bus I now feel educated enough to tut when I see any of the above doing something remotely dangerous. However, if you see a cyclist that cuts off a bus on a busy roundabout then you can’t help but squirm and hope there’s no blood.
3. You start cheating on your oyster card
My oyster card has been like my best friend since I first moved to London. It gets me places and I can always rely on it. However, London transport has now introduced payment on buses through contactless debit cards – we’re all winners (except anyone who has not yet got one of these contactless cards). You don’t have to top it up AND it costs the same amount. I’m so sorry oyster…
4. London traffic isn’t that bad
In the one month I have been catching the bus I have been stuck in two traffic jams and, no-one jumps in front of buses. Granted, when you are slightly delayed the bus decides it won’t complete the journey but that means I have got see areas of London (Camberwell) that I never would have ever ventured to before…nor will I probably choose to venture to again.
5. Never pay for a tourist bus round London
One of the main reasons I know I am not a Londoner is because as I pass over Waterloo bridge every morning with Big Ben and the London Eye on one side and St Paul’s and the City on the other I still want to take a picture (although I don’t because ‘I am a commuter and not a tourist’). You can see the sights of London, going as far as you want but only paying £1.45 for the privilege – you can’t beat it.
I’ll only say this once – you don’t get that up north.