Tag Archives: commute

Bus etiquette

This post was inspired by a Tweet from one of my favourite sources of British customs, VeryBritishProblems (@SoVeryBritish). 


I found this particular Tweet very funny, only because it’s so true! If the person before me forgets to thank the driver, I say my ‘THANK YOU!’ louder than I normally would, so the driver knows he or she is especially appreciated. I hope this post will help make every part of your bus journey more pleasant.

Where I live, the buses are colour coded based on their routes. Photo from http://www.reading-travelinfo.co.uk

The Driver
I am very lucky, where I live, there is a good bus service and the drivers are always so nice. Have your money or bus pass ready before you get on. This would avoid unnecessary waiting with the driver awkwardly staring at you.
Smile and greet your driver with a kind ‘Hello’. Of course, give a cheerful ‘Cheers!’ as you alight.

Other Passengers
Don’t sit next to other passengers if there are empty seats available; 
it is very strange to do so. There are exceptions to this, for instance, if sitting on the back of the bus gives you motion sickness.
If it’s busy, do take the seat furthest from the aisle, thus sparing other passengers from having to ask you to move. Avoid placing your handbag or shopping on the seat next to you when the bus is very busy.

Imagine sitting next to her on the bus! Clip from Taylor Swift’s ‘Ours’.

Giving up your seat
Do give your seat to those less able to stand, the elderly, very young children and pregnant women.
My friend Raúl believes it’s impolite to let a lady stand. On a recent holiday to Seoul, he  gave his seat to a lady, who then repeatedly bowed to him in thanks, as per their custom. It was a little sweet to see how people from different cultures respond.

London buses. Photo from iamtracyhumphreys.com

Double-decker buses and the stairs
I love how ubiquitous double-decker buses are to the UK. ‘Ladies first,’ said a kindly man as we wait to go down the stairs. Going down the stairs is one of the very rare times when it is NOT “ladies first”. A gentleman always goes down the stairs before a lady. This is so if the lady misses a step, the gentleman can lightly hold her by the elbow and prevent her from falling. Gentlemen, it is important to note, only do this if you know the girl. It’s more acceptable nowadays to help a lady after a fall than to stand guard just in case she does.