How To Catch Buses and Alienate Yourself

I’m a very experienced bus-catcher. For proof of this, see my tweets and then imagine me communicating all of them from a bus. As many of you can attest, catching the bus is about as enjoyable as catching the flu. But, never fear, the many hours I’ve spent ridin’ ‘round town in a yellow double decker have taught me a few tricks…

  1. Always check for late risers! This one has caught out many public transport novices over the years. I get it. It’s cold and you’ve been on your feet all day; you’re eager to get on that bus. But wait. The 82 year old in the second row’s decided to wait a good 10 seconds after the bus has completely stopped before indicating she’s getting off, and you’re already trying to pay the driver. Rookie mistake. You must survey the bus for late risers before stepping on (basic bus etiquette).
  2. Bring iPod. Obvious but effective. If you’ve got headphones in, it drastically reduces the number of people who will attempt to talk to you. Pro tip: it doesn’t matter if your iPod is charged.
  3. The upstairs, downstairs trick. Imagine it: you’re sat upstairs and some drunken youths (you’re younger than them but they’re drinking on public transport so all bets are off) sit very close to you. You sense they may heckle you, or worse, try to initiate conversation. My solution: pretend it’s your stop and get your ass downstairs.
  4. The stinky food solution. Friends, Romans, countrymen, this is a timeless classic. Effective on any form of public transport (most useful on coaches, FYI), stinky food is your solution to company. Sick of people trying to sit next to you? Buy yourself some Frazzles or an egg sandwich and Bob’s your uncle*, no one wants to come within a good double seat of you.
  5. Bags need seats too. Another obvious one for avoiding company. When you take your window seat, dump your bag in the aisle seat to put off any prospective seat-sharers. It is effective up until the point where the only seats left are the bag seats, and then it’s anyone’s guess who the over-perfumed Avon lady’s going to sit next to. Obviously, move the bag when things fill up – you’re not an asshole. Pro tip: when seats are running low, move your bag early if you see a non-creepy-looking person. Don’t leave it to chance (CHANCE IS NOT YOUR FRIEND).
  6. NEVER make eye contact. I cannot stress this enough. Eye contact is the cardinal sin of catching the bus. Once done, it cannot be undone. If you want to stare at strangers on the bus (and let’s face it, you do), just watch via their reflection in the window. They think you’re gazing out of the window, you know different.
  7. Invisibility cloak. This is particularly effective when travelling with riotous schoolchildren behaving like pack animals. They will approach. They will annoy. The best solution is to whip out your invisibility cloak and disappear. Warning: they may sit on you.
  8. Speed dial a friend. Much like Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, repeat bus travel requires a ‘Phone A Friend’ option. Use only in the case of an emergency (e.g. you haven’t even got headphones that you can pretend are plugged into something).

Follow these simple steps and you’re guaranteed to a safe, interaction-free journey home. Good luck friends.

*DNA test proven

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  1. Brings back memories of London. Hilarious. So that’s why all those people were looking out the window!

  2. I wish I could use the upstairs/downstairs trick on the buses in my city!


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