Airport Bus!

When will I learn? Never ever rely on a bus.

I want to believe in the project to nudge people towards public transport and I dearly want to believe in this city I chose to live in, but today’s attempt to take a bus to the airport was a disaster.

We walked in the rain for ten minutes to our nearest stop only to find it out of service. A sign with a hand-drawn arrow pointed us in the wrong direction so we ended up soaked to the skin and taking a taxi for £29.

“That’s reasonable!” I wanted to say to the driver, “It’s a fifteen-minute drive so you absolutely deserve my weekly grocery budget. Call it a hundred!” It would almost be worth the life threatening beating that would ensue.

It was the worst of all potentialities. If we’d gone directly to the taxi rank we’d have been rinsed but dry.

A system is only as strong as its weakest link and if you’ve got even one bus stop out of service with no way of passengers finding out in advance then your system isn’t trustworthy and is therefore broken.

I threw my lot in with the bus against my better judgement because I want to believe and because the bus company app suggested swishness. You can summon the timetable and track the progress of your actual bus with GPS. You can pay in advance now or by contactless so the nightmare of somehow knowing the price or having exact change is a thing of the past. There’s even a feature where you can see how busy your next bus is going to be, presumably using live data as passengers tap in and tap out. That’s great!

But none of that is worth a damn if we can’t trust the system.

This isn’t an isolated instance of bus bullshit. Things like this happen all the time and I’m sick of it. In this case my £29 is now in car infrastructure instead of my £6 being in public transport infrastructure. And I’m soaking wet and stressed out before an international flight. Sort it out! Rar!

I’m now at the airport, an hour too early and unable even to check in. All I can think to do is vent some impotent rage into my blog. Sorry about that.


  1. Same here in Bristol. Swishy app that you can watch your bus as a little icon gliding along the roads towards you, and then glide right past invisibly and disappear off the app. We call them ghost buses, and they make us angry. Our MP’s on it and everything. Rar, indeed!

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