Thursday, July 21, 2005

A question of buses

Save Preston Bus Station!

If you come from Preston you inevitably know a thing or two about buses. Home to the longest bus station in Europe (I've waited so long to get that into this blog), I've been travelling about on their blue and white double deckers since it cost 30p to get into town. Apparently it's over one pound now - but you almost always give your (exact) money to a less-than-cheerful driver. Edinburgh too - the maroon buses there are the pride of the city as they drive from one side to the other and try to clog Princes Street as much as possible. Again, in my experience (something I should stress here) the drivers can be pretty grumpy. They do get shot from time to time, so maybe that's it. Or it could be the lack of length of their bus station, who knows.

But come to Sydney - and what a difference! Bus drivers that say hello when you get on, that say goodbye when you get off - I even had one ask me how my day had gone once. On more than one occasion the driver of a different bus has stopped and told me the one I'm waiting for is a few minutes behind him. Just the other week two came at once (they are buses, after all) and due to a mix-up one left a few people behind who wanted to get on. So the driver of my bus told them to get on ours, refused to take their money, then drove up behind the other bus at some traffic lights and ran across to tell him he'd missed some passengers. The other driver apologised and waited for the people to walk over to his bus. And you know what? Sydney doesn't even have a bus station! As my American readers would say - go figure.