There used to be a comedy series in the UK with the same name as the title of this post. I can’t remember ever really watching it. I wanted to tell you about the experience of using the bus in NZ versus the UK…
Stopping the Bus
In both countries, hold out your thumb in something of a hitching gesture to get the bus to stop (unless of course it is jam-packed in which case it will barrel on past)…but there is usually room for one more! I have seen the driver wait for passengers on numerous occasions too.
When you climb on board a bus in the UK, you generally find a miserable rotund man sat in a cubicle which looks like a prison (to protect him or you?). He communicates in grunts and sees everything as an inconvenience. When you climb on board a bus in NZ, the driver greets you, there is no cubicle but an open seat and he will even give you change. Amazing. Once aboard…you will even hear music sometimes…that you either love or hate I would say…hate being reserved for anyone who would play anything by the talentless wonder that is Rihanna.
In both countries, bus drivers drive like they own the roads (I have said in the past that UK bus drivers are the rudest of motorists). It is almost like they are desperate to get out of there. The addition of dedicated high speed bus lanes in NZ really does make you worry for your safety at times…but so far so good…we all like to get where we are going as fast as we can…well…we do in the UK…
Passengers seem to stand up for older people and ladies in NZ. I assume this still happens in the UK. I do think that these sorts of manners may be diluted by immigration…while I would not see anyone suffer, I have noticed that those who are first to offer their seat seem to be native European-descent Kiwis.
Press the button to stop the bus and thank the driver as you get off. I have always done this when on a bus and it seems quite common here. The drivers generally say thank you back cheerfully too. Not everyone is smiling all the time though…that would be weird and just a touch unnerving!
At the end of the day, you could ask whether any of these things really matter if you get from A to B safely…I would say though that it all feels that bit better over here because people are that bit more civil…and perhaps a little less uptight.