Monday, 14 March 2016

Bus etiquette

Read before you travel  
   In Monmouthshire there is a subtle but important code of conduct for bus travel. No-one will be offended if you do not adhere to it but it is always better to blend in. It has 5 parts:

   1) When waiting at the bus stop you may talk to fellow passengers about the weather and the recent punctuality or otherwise of the buses. After a while you can discuss the personalities of the various drivers and who is likely to be on duty that day.  If you become friendly with someone, you can risk stating a preference for a particular driver.

   2) When the bus appears, you should look astonished (even if it is on time) but pleased and offer all the others the chance to board ahead of you. Even if there are 2 of you and an empty bus you should still spend time on this courtesy with the appropriate hand gestures. With several people the ritual can last many minutes and come to resemble a stately minuet.

   3) When on the bus you do not need to sit next to the people you have been talking to: you can spread your bags and look absorbed in the views - which are beautiful. Avoid digital devices; those are for trains.

   4) On arrival, do not hasten to descend. Again, look surprised that you have reached your destination and progress slowly down the aisle in bridal fashion. Bend to put your used ticket in the little box specially for it as this is a votive bow and not to be omitted.

   5) As you descend the steps you should express your deep gratitude to the driver. Here there is a gender divide (even if the driver is female): women should say, "Thank you, driver" in a carefully modulated voice; men use the expression, "Thanks drive!" in a low but matey tone as if male bonding has occurred en route. Why the final "r" has vanished here is a mystery that has puzzled local linguists for decades.

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