It occurs to me that I have not yet related the tale of The Most Awesome Thing Seen On Public Transport Ever.
This was not on a train. It was on a bus. A bendy-bus. Some people hate these but I am not one of them and used to use them fairly regularly. And typing that has just reminded me of The Most Awesome Thing To Happen To Me On Public Transport Ever. I’ll get to that in a minute.
So I was on a very full bus trundling away. Now once bendy-buses were introduced they quickly became notorious as a means of free transport. With three doors through which to enter and exit the driver cannot possibly keep track of all the fares and so customers are ‘trusted’ to buy tickets before they board. Which is bollocks and even though I no longer do so, even I once had the odd free ride or ninety when I was a broke student. Actually I still sometimes do faredodge since I decide to get some exercise, walk into town and then when the heavens open decide to catch a bus back. This is the point at which I think ‘Bollocks, I’ve left my staff card at home. I wonder how much a bus ticket back is….HOW much???? Fuck that, I’ll just wait for the bendy’.
Sorry, I’m prerambling. The Most Awesome Thing Seen On Public Transport Ever took place at a bus stop where revenue staff regularly waited to blitz the bus. Many a fine was issued at this particular stop and on this occasion, sure enough, a bloke in a navy blue anorak stuck his head in the middle door and was heard to proclaim “Tickets please, this is a full ticket inspection, please have your tickets ready”. At which point around 8 people suddenly realised they had meant to get off there and disappeared into the distance at speed. No doubt they were late for an appointment. The rest of the passengers muttered and fumbled in bags and pockets for their tickets as our friend in the navy blue anorak got on the bus. And then he sat down in one of the recently vacated seats, got out his book and quietly read for the rest of the journey.
Such foresight and devious thinking naturally brings me to the second tale. The Most Awesome Thing To Happen To Me On Public Transport Ever. I was – again – on a bendy-bus. I was – again – fare dodging. This is a terribly bad thing to do and not something I regularly did but I was broke, did need to go places and 8 miles is a long walk. /self defence
We arrived at a stop just prior to the one that got regularly checked and horrors! A large number of revenue staff accompanied by an even larger number of police. Things were not looking good and I slipped off my seat in the middle of the bus and watched uncertainly wondering if it was worth trying to leg it. I decided not to given the number of police but continued to hover uncertainly in the aisle. This proved to be a fortunate moment of indecision though it didn’t feel like it at the time as two revenue inspectors boarded at the door where I was standing. And now a short artistic interlude:
So there I was in my green jacket with the exit blocked by a revenue inspector, hapless customers and a large group of rozzers. Woe is me. Double woe in fact because the second revenue inspector has just come up on my right and asked for my non-existant ticket. I looked at him. I wondered what to say. You know that thing we all do when we are trying to work out the answer to a tricky question and we reflexively glance to the side? I did that thing. It so happened that my glance was towards the first revenue inspector. I opened my mouth to confess that I had no ticket but was interrupted. “Oh sorry. I won’t need to see it again if my colleague has already seen it. Could I just get past you to the back of the bus please?”.
At this point I silently stepped aside wondering what had just happened and he walked off to continue collecting tickets and fines. The Most Awesome Thing To Happen To Me On Public Transport Ever. Seriously.