Monday evening, I was a little late getting out of work, as I’d had to finish a last-minute rush job. I usually have about ten minutes wait at the bus stop, so I still thought I had time to nip across the road to the Co-op and pick up some bread and a pint of milk. And I would have, except that I got stuck in the queue to pay, behind an elderly gentleman arguing about his paper bill. As I got to the door, the bus was starting to pull away from the stop.

Now the traffic on Mount Pleasant Road was at a near standstill, as it often is in the evening, so I thought I might make it to the next stop ahead of the bus. I was really a bit too tired to want to make the effort, but I got across the road and down to the roundabout by the Steam Wagon, ready to cross Lancaster Road and make my dash.

The bus was inching across the roundabout, stopping and starting, when there was a very loud, very sudden bang. I no longer needed to run to catch the bus because a car had already caught it. Just a little ding on the back corner, and the car appeared virtually unscathed, but the bus had to stop and the bus driver had to go out and get the car driver’s details and take photos of the (very minor) damage.

I wasn’t sure of the etiquette of getting onto a stationary bus in the middle of a roundabout while the driver was out of the vehicle, but I didn’t hesitate long, and he seemed happy enough about it – especially as I was the only person (now) on the bus who had seen what happened. He took my details.

The car driver seemed remarkably casual about it all — put his head around the door, saw a passenger he knew and chirped “I hit the bus!” as if it was a great joke. The bus driver, on the other hand, was very shaken, and nervous. I did my best to be a Calming Influence. After a long delay, we got going. The driver said he was going to call into the bus garage on the way to town to report the damage, but I think he sensed that the passengers were getting restive, and changed his mind.

I was very relieved when I finally got to my front door. And very glad I’d already bought the milk, as Marks and Spencer, my usual last-minute shopping place, was now closed for the night.

No moral to this story, except that public transport often lends a little extra colour to my day. I wonder what this morning’s journey to work will bring?


3 Responses to “Bus”

  1. Actually, I got a sense of relief from this snapshot. I thought it was going to become one of those instances when you knock on the door of a stationary bus between stops only to have the driver gesture in the direction of the next stop, wherever it may be… ‘ahead’.
    I also once missed a train to a charity event in London because the driver of a bus becalmed in traffic a three-minute trot from the station refused to open the doors on the grounds of Health & Safety rules. He claimed that I might be hit by another vehicle. I pointed out that we were stationary beside the curb. He told me not to argue with him, he didn’t make the rules.
    If you’re a student of such things, the proper study of Mankind is Public Transport.

  2. Sorry – to clarify, in the second instance I was detained *in* the bus.

  3. suetortoise Says:

    I’ve occasionally been left frustrated by bus drivers refusing to let me out except at the Proper Stop. But to be honest, most of the Shrewsbury Arriva drivers are pretty obliging if the traffic allows them to be. (And the drivers on the country bus services are even more friendly and helpful.) Tonight I just missed the bus I usually miss, which was running a little later than normal. I saw it in the snarl at the roundabout, and ran towards the next stop – hoping to overtake it. I didn’t quite beat it to the stop, but the driver stopped when she got there, as she’d seen me coming. And this time nobody ran into the back of it, or into me, in the process.

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