Bus anger

People get unreasonably angry about ridiculously small things and it amuses and frustrates me.

Last week, when we were still in the low transport volume “twixtmas” season (I hate that word by the way), I was taking the bus to the station in the morning instead of walking. Partly because it was nice to be on an uncrowded bus and partly because I was transporting plants into the office and they are awkward to carry in the cold for 25 minutes.

There is a bus stop outside the bus station, and most times the bus driver will stop there. I usually get out there because it saves me a little time – if I stay on the bus until it goes into the bus station, it will sit atthe traffic lights for a couple of minutes and then take another minute or two to cruise around to its allocated stop in the bus station. And those minutes can be crucial if you’re catching a train.

(If you’re catching the Tube, that runs every 100 seconds at rush hour so it makes no difference, but overland trains are only every 15 minutes, so it can be the difference between being on time or late.)

On this particular day, people started moving to the bus door as we approached the pre-bus-station stop. But the bus didn’t stop, it continued to the traffic lights and into the station. Annoying, a bit, but on this particular morning I wasn’t late for my train so no stress.

Except for the passenger who felt so angered about being on the bus for – what – four extra minutes at the maximum? that she stormed up to the driver to harangue him.

“Why didn’t you stop outside the station?” she shouted. “You’re supposed to stop there.”

I didn’t hear all the driver’s reply, but it was something about not knowing there was a stop there. The woman replied with shouting again (I forget what she said) and the bus driver shouted back at her. It was a lot of angry feelings for first thing in the morning.

I thought, is a missed stop really worth all the anger and bitterness the two of you have generated? Shouting won’t take the bus back in time so you can get off at your stop. Shouting at this angry woman will only make her more angry.

A lot of bad feeling that achieved nothing apart from maybe some embarrassment for those of us on the bus (at least I was embarrassed to see grown ups behaving like 5 year olds) and creating a lot of bad feeling between two people – one of whom was doing his job and one who was mildly inconvenienced.

Today on the bus the driver also didn’t stop at the stop outside the station.

But today no one said anything.

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