You there… Back of the Bus!

What’s the deal with people on public transit who crowd around the entrances of the vehicle? Instead of moving further inside, they clump and prevent people from getting past. It particularly bothers me when this occurs on the newer model “low rider” (aka low floor) buses. Due to the internal configuration, a newer low floor bus has about 1/3 less capacity than an older model. These new buses lend themselves to the clumping, as no one seems particularly interested in climbing the two small steps required to access the seating at the back of the bus.

Come on people! Is it really that hard to get up there? I’ve been particularly annoyed with these lazy bones riders through the winter. We’ve had some bitter cold weather, and the bus driver will leave people standing outside rather than make any attempt to corral them to the back by shouting.

To make matters worse, the automated stop announcement system has also provisioned drivers with a button to push which plays a recorded announcement asking riders to ‘please move back’. Unfortunately there are some problems with this.

  1. When the bus is sufficiently crowded to warrant playing the message, the message cannot be heard over the speakers.
  2. The message lacks proper enunciation. I’m still not sure what the entire message says. It needs to be replaced with a clearer recording. Use a female voice this time, to match the stop announcements. The male voice is too monotone.
  3. It’s too quick! Not only can you not hear the message, the text version that gets displayed only flashes for a quick moment, and then it’s gone. You need to be paying attention to catch it.
  4. The message is too polite.

People only care about themselves; they certainly don’t give a shit about pre-recorded messages. We’re bombarded with recorded messages all day long to buy products, return overdue movies and stand back from the yellow line until the train has come to a complete stop. The most effective messages are personalized; this can’t be more true of the relationship between rider and transit vehicle operator.

The masses need to be shamed into action sometimes. One of my favourite demonstrations of this is when a dumbass on the subway holds the doors open; then the Guard who operates the doors unleashes an oral tirade over the PA system on the train to an audience of over 1,000 people during rush hour. The Guard purposely doesn’t allow the train to drive forward until he’s finished. If the perpetrator has any decency, they should feel like shit for delaying everyone because they were a selfish ass.

7 Responses to You there… Back of the Bus!

  1. DV says:

    Are you sure you don’t mean “enunciation”?

    I think the best solution is not to move the vehicle until people shuffle to the back. However, this conflicts with the bus operator’s interest of arriving on time.

  2. Saturn V says:

    Yes, you are correct. Although ‘annunciate’ is an actual word (it simply means ‘to announce somthing’), in the context of point #2, I did intend to say ‘enunciate’, meaning ‘to state something clearly.’

    I also agree with your second point, however, this requires that the bus operator cares about the passengers. Now that they’ve got the magic ‘move back’ button, they only thing they need to do is lift a finger. If nobody listens or hears the message, then that’s too bad.

  3. Proc says:

    Generally I think it comes down to the feeling that on a crowded bus, someone near the back or far from the door will miss their stop. So they crowd the exits. I also think there is a general lack of people just willing to take action. A couple of times now, the subway has been shut down north of Bloor. Upon reaching Yonge & Bloor and seeing the massive crowds that were all over the platform and up at street level waiting in vain for the shuttle-bus, I just start walking. Granted, perhaps many of those people had much farther to go, but I made it home in pretty good time.

  4. DV says:

    Any idea how usernames are carried across wordpress sites that are hosted on different servers?

  5. Saturn V says:

    Best guess? Blogs hosted on, such as this one, share a common infrastructure. Your comments are linked via your centralized account. I’m not sure if or how private servers are impacted.

  6. DV says:

    Oh. is hosting your content here? I thought you just used an app of theirs or something.

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