Wednesday, 3 January 2007

The Joys of Public Transport

Today I had the dubious pleasure of using public transport to get to morning Mass.

My first shock was that the fares had escalated: not being a regular user, I hadn't bothered to get a travelcard... and so I enraged the first bus driver by having to root around for the remainder of my fare. I didn't bother to offer him the £20 note I had, as I knew that would earn me a sardonic laugh (at best) or £18 in twenty pence pieces!

So I popped into a chemist's shop which was by the stop for my second bus. I knew they wouldn't just "give" me change, so I picked up some dental floss (I need some anyway) and went over to the counter. It was at this point that my morning started to get surreal.

The assistant told me that it was her first day, and she didn't have a till number yet, so she had to get someone else to serve me. And then the second assistant explained that the till wouldn't open, because they didn't know how to activate it... apparently the shop had opened only the day before, and someone had demonstrated how to close up the till at the end of the day, but no-one had thought to ask what to do at the beginning. So they needed to ring someone at Head Office...

They were all terribly embarassed and apologetic, and I felt that, if I just turned round and walked out, they would feel that they had "lost" a customer... added to which, I really needed some change... and I wanted to know what would happen next...

Bless them! They got given some instructions over the phone (which were duly written down) and then the chap in charge had to go upstairs to activate something (it's all computerised) and then they could start up the till...

...the till drawer finally opened... but there wasn't anything in it! That had to be obtained from the safe!!

I could see the bus stop, and there was no sign of the bus I needed, so I just grinned!! Anyway, I finally managed to buy my dental floss, and got some change. I then went to wait for the bus. Which didn't arrive for another half hour...

I managed to get to Mass on time, but only just. The return journey was of a similar length (without the chemist shop interlude) but one of the bus drivers thought he was in training for Brands Hatch and kept accelerating off at high speed, only to screech to a halt at the next bus stop about two minutes later. There was also a diversion because of roadworks, which meant that the bus driver had to negotiate "proper" speedbumps (the type that go across the whole road.) Needless to say, he didn't bother slowing down, and so the bus see-sawed in quite an impressive fashion!

A journey which usually takes me 10-15 minutes by car took an hour and a half (this was the return journey, so not including my chemist shop experience) Cars may contribute to pollution and global warming, but I think that I will continue to make frequent use of mine for the forseeable future!

4 comments:

Histor the Wise said...

Dear Mrs. McLernon, there is a reason every American owns a car if he can possibly afford it.

You have now discovered it.

;)

Histor

Mac McLernon said...

Dear Mr. Histor... yep, I'm pretty keen on them myself!!

BTW, I'm a Miss, not a Mrs. !!
;-)

Anonymous said...

I hope Ken Livingstone is reading this!!!

Mac McLernon said...

LOL anonymous!

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