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July 8, 2004

All your bws are belong to us

Posted by dogpossum on July 8, 2004 2:57 AM in the category

I’ve been in the UK for 13 days now, traveled on at least 24 individual buses, with six different bus companies in two countries.

Thursday 8 july 2004
I’ve traveled on tiny 31-seaters up into the welsh mountains, and top-heavy double deckers through narrow English country roads. I’ve caught flash coaches with on-board toilets, and been ignored by the every-two-hour bus at the station at least twice. My tickets have ranged from 90p to 10 pounds. I have a National Express student travel card that gets me 10% off my travel (for longer, inter-city journeys), but figured getting discount cards for all the other lines was a waste of time and money.

Buses are my preferred form of public transport in Australia, and abroad: you have a driver who’ll answer questions, make sure you get off at the right stop, and quite often quiz you not only on your country-of-residence, but also your reasons for being in the UK, your family’s history and the football code of preference.

I have had most of my conversations with strangers at bus stations or on buses, most of whom have been over 70 or under 15.

I have become obsessive about carrying loose change, and have managed to produce the exact faire 99% of the time. Caerdyff Bws has taught me well.

I am well versed in the superior value of a day explorer, which can be used with either Wilts and Dorset or Stagecoach buses. I have learnt that a return ticket, while ostensibly a marked saving, is only really worth anything if you catch buses home with the same company which carried you in to town.

‘Town’ is a mutable term, and may apply to Cardiff, Swindon, Salisbury, Marlborough, Bath, Bristol, Swansea or Brecon, but never Chiseldon or Pontrebane. It is always best to specify.

The most valuable quality in public transporting round Britain’s privatised bus services is patience, and the most useful item is an umbrella.

Posted by dogpossum on July 8, 2004 2:57 AM in the category