Wednesday, May 20, 2009
On my bus from the station, I’ve noticed that older passengers tend to call out their thanks to the bus driver. This is all well and good; I do the same when I leave by the front door. It would seem rude to pass the guy and say nothing. A simple “cheers” costs nothing.
The only time I don’t do that is if the driver has driven around like a complete maniac and I feel like I am a limp sock that’s just been through the spin cycle.
Older passengers are a different breed and will call out from the back door. Again, this is fine but I wouldn’t do it and I doubt that the driver expects it. Most of the time he isn’t looking and is only just watching the door to make sure we all get off.
There is a schoolgirl on the morning bus who shouts out “Thank you!” as she gets off. Her sister (possibly her [evil] twin) says nothing - just like the rest of us.
What rubs me up the wrong way, however, with shouting thanks to the driver, is that the older passengers seem to have to do it in some sort of awful distracted pseudo-posh accent, as if the bus-driver were their personal chauffeur. “Thenk you, Drivah,” they will call out.
Why put on airs and graces? He isn’t their chauffeur. They don’t employ him. They don’t own him. They most certainly don’t know him in any way at all or they would use his name. Anyone else would be addressed by the same people as “mate” or “luv” but the bus driver is “Drivah”.
I’m not saying that the bus driver shouldn’t be acknowledged. It is all the more important to do that now that we have Oyster cards to slap on the yellow circle and not make eye-contact with the driver at all. There is no need, however, to be patronising or condescending or make ourselves out to be better than someone just because he or she happens to be driving a bus. Not only are they stuck with the vagaries of traffic all day long but they have to cope with kids, chavs, the elderly, the rude, the mentally unhinged and all the other assorted bits and pieces of humanity that choose to get that particular bus.