Busy Buses

When I was lying on the couch having biopsies taken, the doctor said ‘Do you want to be treated at Bournemouth or Poole hospital?’ My immediate response was Poole, to her surprise. I explained that though I lived in Bournemouth and the hospital is nearer as the crow flies, my local buses both stop right outside Poole hospital, while Bournemouth hospital involves two buses, waiting and stress or perhaps one that only goes once an hour. After this discussion on buses it dawned on me she must have been certain, with all the tests I was having that morning at the Dorset Breast Screening Unit ( at Poole hospital ) , that I did have breast cancer.

I didn’t actually come back on the bus after my operation, but there were numerous routine visits and breast cancer patients are under the hospital for five years, so my decision was wise. Perhaps I should add that this bus journey does take an hour, which would horrify car drivers, but you can relax and catch up with blogs on your phone or people/passenger  watch/eavesdrop. The hospital is also a short walk from the main town with shops? – well modern shopping is for another blog – museum, eateries and Poole Harbour, so if you have only been to the hospital for a quick blood test you can at least make an outing out of it.

I have been using buses since before I was born, everywhere I have lived, except for an Australian country town; so I have earned my bus pass. If you don’t drive, walking, cycling, buses and trains are essential and we non drivers are good for the environment, not that anyone thanks us. But I totally understand that lots of people have no reliable public transport or just think we are insane. The typical new bus passenger gets on board explaining to everyone that he doesn’t normally go on buses, but his car is at the garage getting fixed. He then looks round for an empty seat or the least weird looking person to sit next to. If, when you go on a bus for the first time, you have waited a long time at the bus stop, the driver is rude, there are some very odd people on board plus the local drunk, the bus is packed with noisy school children and you are squashed standing in the aisle I can understand that you would vow never to go on a bus again.

But part of the fun of buses is you can never be sure what will happen! Sometimes something worse happens, such as hearing that your local bus company has suddenly gone into liquidation… That happened to our yellow buses, just as they were celebrating their 120th birthday. Luckily for me we have another bus company, suitably called More Buses, already running my favourite blue bus, M2, going frequently back and forth between Southbourne and Poole bus station with heating, on board Wi Fi, phone chargers and electronic boards and speaker messages telling you which bus stop is coming up. They stepped into the breach within days ( far more efficiently than governments run countries ) offering jobs to yellow bus drivers and bringing in More buses from all over the place. This has made local trips interesting as buses of all colours and ages have turned up, so you have to be very careful to check the numbers. Don’t get on the green bus covered in pictures of trees and ponies and highlighting the delights of the New Forest and expect to go to this fantastic National Park if it says 1a on the front. There have also been drivers who have to ask the passengers which way they are supposed to be going.

Hey Ho, all part of the fun of buses and then there are the passengers, can you even be a writer if you don’t take buses? Hearing people’s life stories, missing your stop because you have got so involved in the phone conversation going on behind you. One early evening I got on the bus at Poole and a chap at the front had a homemade guitar, literally made of bits of wood nailed together and string tied on. It did actually make notes and he was telling everyone about it, in fact he talked non stop till he got off in Bournemouth, at times like these I love buses.

Do you go by bus? If so, have you had any strange trips?

18 thoughts on “Busy Buses

  1. I’m sure I remember yellow double-decker buses inBournemouth; but perhaps I don’t. I’m a driver, I love the freedom of setting off when you want, taking a different route, getting to obscure places – and turning the music up when alone. I used my car for work all over Britain. That said, growing up, buses are what we used. School buses were part of your education. The trouble is, they are a dying breed and the communities that don’t have them will die too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Mike there are many interesting places that may as well be on another continent for non drivers, impossible to get to without a car, so I am the first to appreciate the freedom drivers enjoy – except for traffic gridlocks or motorway breakdowns!


  2. I rode the bus to work for many years. When they work properly, with no delays or missed connections, busing is great. When things go wrong, it’s the opposite. Overall, I quite enjoyed my bus rides, especially when double-decker buses were added.
    You’re right about people-watching (and overhearing) opportunities. Now that I’m retired I hardly ever take a bus, but maybe I should, to gather writing ideas!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not particularly eager to ride the bus on long trips; otherwise, I think they’re great. I don’t use them in the city very often, but there are times when that’s the best option. My favorite way to utilize buses is on bus tours when exploring a new city to get an overall sense of a place.

    As you mentioned, there is no shortage of interesting characters on buses.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. From 2001-2012, I used buses almost every day in Central London. They ran for 24 hours 7 days a week, and I had three choices of buses to and from my flat in Camden. I would walk to work (near Trafalgar Square) if the weather was good, as it only took 35 minutes, but took the bus on wet or cold days, or when I was tired after night shifts. We also used buses to go out to shows, restaurants, etc.
    The main issue was getting on one late at night to find it contained a gang of very dodgy-looking young men, or having to sit next to a drunk person who wanted to have a conversation with you.
    I always had two rules. Never sit on the top deck unless you had no alternative, (no quick escape) and never sit next to a young woman or teenage schoolgirl in case I was accused of ‘staring’. (Or worse)
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Pete, yes it’s great having 24 hour buses. I often got on the 140 night bus on the Bath Road to go into Heathrow for early shift and wondered if some of the sleeping passengers intended to go to the airport!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Using buses regullarly doesn’t work here – the nearest runs one day a week to carmarthen and back, the next nearest is a 4 mile walk away. But I do have a bus pass and have occasionally gone on a n outing by driving to one of the towns and catching the bus from there. Now a friend has got hers too we are hoping to do more.

    Liked by 1 person

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