Thursday, June 11, 2009

The wheels of the bus

I've always been a bit apprehensive about public transport.
Now don't jump the gun and think I'm being hoity toity, with my nose in the air or I think scandalous things happen on the subway or even that you get robbed on trains.
That's not what I'm saying.
For some reason, travelling alone on buses in particular, has always freaked me out. Especially the ones which have seats facing each other, you know, 2 on either side? Yeah, those. I remember as a kid, some weird lady in the train kept staring at my face as I sat as close to mum as possible. I ventured a smile, but no such luck. She kept glaring at me out of the roundest eyes I had ever seen. I think I even started to cry! Now when I think about it, perhaps she had really bad eyesight or something. NOW, I can make all the excuses for her, but back then when I needed it, I probably thought she'd jump out from under my bed in the dead of night!
Anyway, I think that may be some sort of deep rooted reason for my dislike of buses.

Today, after much thought and discussion (yes, sometimes public transport warrants that for me, thank you very much!), I mustered up the guts to take the bus home. It's about, say, a 45 minute drive. A colleague who stays in my area, stayed back so that she could travel with me, help me learn the ropes, so to speak.
The whole thing was a mini adventure fo me.
We walked to the bus stop, constantly turning back in search of and then craning our necks forward to the traffic ahead, to make sure we hadn't missed it or weren't going to miss it.
Once we saw it approaching, Lux (my colleague) hastened me to a particular spot on the pavement, which she informed me was the exact place in front of which the bus would stop so that the door would be right in front of us. (I made a mental note to carry chalk next time to mark out these all important spots.)

The bus stopped, exactly where Lux said it would and we were the first two in. There was this gadget on the side of the door which Lux slid her bus pass into and charged it. It beeped, rather loudly. I looked quizically at the driver, safe behind his glass door, asking for a buss pass. In the time that it took for me to ask, him to hear me take the money through a tiny hole in the glass and then to actually give me the bus pass (hidden away in some secret location behind aforementioned glass door) at least 9 people charged their cards at the beeping gadget and rushed past me.
I finally got my pass and found Lux who had saved me a seat, bless her. We were in the seats that were opposing the direction of movement and it kinda messed with my head for a few minutes, but as the knowledgeable one on my left said, I got used to it. I marvelled at the bus, my journey, the view, even my handrest for a good 10 minutes! Lux and I spent the rest of the journey getting to know each other. We got home in no time and got off at the same stop. Just before we could get off, Lux reminded me that I needed to get my change back from the driver.
Sheer genius, I tell you. *grin*

After we got off, we walked together for a while before going our seperate paths home.
I quite enjoyed my trip home today and look forward to more. I look forward to reading on the bus, listening to my ipod, collecting my thoughts, perhaps sketching even. (oh, you can't eat on the bus, who would have thought?! The other day, a mum was feeding her son a bag of crisps. The driver played a message on the sound system stating that eating while on the bus was a no-no! Imagine that. Lux told me. I'm convinced she's the all-knowing bus Goddess)
So I'm over my apprehesion. Thanks to situation, circumstance and an unexpected friend.


  1. I think you just never took the bus because Dubai's structure itself hasn't been great with educating people on public transport.
    Here on the Gold Coast I have actually not bought a car simply because I am happy with the bus and train system. And the system itself is simple enough to understand... Although, I think the metro in HK was the best in terms of knowing where you are and how you can get to another point. Very well communicated even to tourists.
    But in Dubai or even India a newcomer would need a friend, like you had Lux, to just give them a bit of understanding on what works where and how. Or, you'd have to be a bit adventurous and try it all by yourself. Gather the courage to annoy a few commuters as you ask the bus driver questions...

    I think the reason I rarely ever take the bus in Dubai is because in a structural society, where time is money, people have minimal patience.... Everyone needs to get somewhere fast -- even the bus drivers themselves don't want a newbie coming and asking questions about how much money is needed, what about my change, can you tell me when the closest stop is approaching...

    But otherwise the buses in Dubai are quality ones... I don't understand why that community has had such a "my car my car!" culture...

  2. I so agree... by culture Dubai doesnt allow us to use the bus. Saying that... the public transport system has improved considerably now!!! I remember Sunil took me to Citi Center by bus.. and it was like a mini adventure.. I felt like a little kid again!!

    Oh.. Rose.. I'm pleased.. I'll drop the girls off to your office and you can take the home on the bus... and they will be ever so excited.

    I tell you.. I cannot wait for the metro to start.. to finally venture into my metro life.. with a spare set of shoes in my bag.. Just the thougth is so exciting!!

    Well... circumstances.. make us to such things... and its great when you come out a winner!!

  3. this is funny......i always had the crazy person sit next to me on the train. i just attracted them i guess!

  4. ha ha :) nice journey ! i love to travel in bus.. but till my schooling i hated to go in a bus.. but after college i was comfortable with it.. i dunno why!..

    your experience is thrilling! :)

  5. Woah.. Lux. Maybe ull get dove and pears too soon enuff for company. Lol.

    U seen Delhi buses?? Oh man...the men there have no respect on women. Even for men, It has to be the worst experience.

    And damn..ur rite...wotever the age..STARING is EVIL. Period !!