Monday, 11 May 2009

Chapter 1: at the bus stop

05:45PM: "spring" has arrived in full power in London: 6-7 degrees, freezing gusts of wind coming from every possible direction, pouring rain, people miserably waiting at the bus stop for the f*****g 44 bus.

06:00PM: still no sign of the bus, but we notice an anonymous bus parking behind another one, in the spaces reserved to the "not in service" double-deckers. We can't see the bus number, but we are confident that it can't be a 44 (!)

06:10PM: still no sign of the bus, dozens of people are now crammed at the bus stop: wet, impatient, resigned, but still quiet, passive and submissive. Not a surprise. They're English. We see a constant stream of other empty or half empty buses (82, 8, 11, 211, 52, 2, and so on...) passing by. All of them, except the 44.

06:15PM: I start to wonder who actually planned the bus routes and times in London. Did they ever bother to make simulations before releasing the bus schedule? My impression is that they didn't even take the hassle of drawing a bus scheme on the back of a f*****g napkin.

06:20PM: I can't take it anymore, so I start walking towards the taxis in Victoria: I come close to the anonymous bus described before... and guess what? It's a 44! Its driver is happily talking with a friend/colleague, relaxed, laid-back and comfortable in his seat, while dozens of people have been waiting for 35 minutes under the implacable rain. At this point, my Italian blood takes the lead and I throw at him all the possible insults I know in English. He doesn't even reply, but he obediently starts the bus and pick us up at the bus stop.

Now I understand why, on every bus stop, a little signpost says: "Don't take it out on our staff: we press for the strongest penalty on assault". Not sure if an English could ever react as I did, but for sure Transport for London has had few problems in the past because of assaults to TFL staff. And, noting the way TFL staff behave, I am not surprised at all. YOU press for the strongest penalty on assault... what should WE, commuters, press for because of your ineptitude, uselessness  and incompetence? 

We are not travelling for free, public transport in London is almost the most expensive in the world. What about a little re-thinking of your glorious bus-schedules? What about at least make the bus drivers respect your flawed schedule? 

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