What To Do When The Bus Is Overfull And Doesn't Open Its Doors

What To Do When The Bus Is Overfull And Doesn't Open Its Doors
Photo: Andrea Vail

It's 8am. The rain beats down as you huddle up uncomfortably close to five other people under the inadequate shelter. You check Citymapper one more time — your bus still says due, as it has done for the past five minutes. Then you see it. Off in the distance. Your own bright red Noah's Ark.

Slowly the bus pulls into the stop. You and your fellow commuters shuffle in one conglomerate blob, out of the safety of the shelter and stand in front on the doors expectantly. But what's this? The front doors don't open. The back doors open for a split second so one passenger can squeeze off, but now they're shut again. That's when it hits you. The bus is overcrowded. The driver's not going to let you on.

Here's what to do next:

Photo: Shutterstock

1. Ditch any concept of etiquette

Britishness be damned, it's every man for himself. It doesn't matter if you recognise that three people you're next to were at the bus stop before you, do your best to jostle/weave your way to the front of the pack — on the off chance that the driver takes pity and lets a few of you on.

If that fails, see if the back doors are open long enough for you to illicitly hop on there. No, you won't have paid your fare, but no one should have to pay for the right to squeeze onto a double decker like sardines.

2. Stare longingly into the doors

If step one fails (it probably will), just stare. Make your eyes look as empty and unmoving as possible. Make it appear like you're not even looking at the bus' doors but through them. Try to catch the bus driver's eyes, without appearing to look like that's what you're doing. This one takes practice.

Photo: Javier Ayala

3. Curse whoever got rid of the old fashioned Routemasters

Back in the 'good old days'™, bus doors were a myth. Anyone who wanted could hop on and hop off whenever, health and safety be damned. If there wasn't enough space on the bus, you could always imitate that famed Routemaster pose where you hang onto the pole and out the doorway. Only cool people do that.

4. Draft an angry tweet to TfL

How dare TfL cut buses! Clearly, there already aren't enough. You end up thinking better of it, don't want to come across as one of those overly-impassioned people on social media who you like to mock with your mates. So you choose inaction. Much better.

Citymapper, please don't fail me now. Photo: Shutterstock

5. Frantically search for an alternative route

While you have your phone out, now's the time to start looking for another way to get to work. All these apps you have on your phone calculate everything in realtime, taking in the traffic conditions, engineering works, and other variables to provide you with the best possible route. Maybe there's one of those Citymapper buses to come and rescue you. Anything is possible with the power of technology.

And the fastest route is... still the bog standard red bus. Even including the 10 minute wait for the next one.

6. Grudgingly wait for the next bus

Well there's nothing else left to do is there. Just moan under your breath, and wait for the next one. Better pray that one isn't too full either.

Last Updated 18 September 2018