Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Yep, it's official. I'm a bus snob.
Until recently, the only bus I ever caught was the Castle Hill to City bus because it's cheaper than parking. They're on time, clean and the clientele are usually either suits heading to work, Uni students, the odd tradie or on the weekend, families and shoppers going into the big smoke. But lately . . .
I'm working in a town called Parramatta which outside peak hour traffic is about 20 minutes clear drive. I get a lift in with my SIL at 7am but often, I don't need to wait until she finishes at 5:30 and leave work at about 4pm on the dreaded Parramatta to Rouse Hill bus.
Now this isn't the nice clean soapy smelling bus that frequents the city. It's a little 'nipper' of a bus trawling along the Windsor road, packed with school kids, shift workers, mums with strollers and lost souls who are trying to connect with the Hills District for a variety of reasons. By the time I reach my stop, it's all but empty apart from a few well-behaved schoolies who use it as a connection to get home - but there's something about the Parramatta to Baulkham Hills leg that attracts the crazys - it is bloody woeful.
There's always the screaming baby of a mother who looks like she's only just out of nappies herself and I just want to tap her on the shoulder and tell her to breastfeed the starving tyke NOW! Then there's the scruffy school kid with overly long streaked hair brushed across his eyebrows swearing like a trooper on his mobile phone and refusing to get up for the old lady with the X-Rays neatly tucked in her yellow envelope (and he's only about 12). There's the odd tradie in the hi viz sweater and man he's been sweating on the job all day - 24 hour deodorant man! Please! There's the garlic ridden Vietnamese or Chinese bus driver who drives like he's still negotiating his way around Ho Chi Min city so anyone who's standing is ricocheted to the front of the bus . . and he doesn't understand the words "Green Road please". I get charged something different every time I embark. Then there's the overly loud, grammatically grating, mobile phone girl up the back describing how much commission she made on her last Tupperware party and the man she . . .well trust me she didn't do things that a 'nice' girl would do . .
I hate it. I'm in there, pay my $4.20, $3.80 or $5.20 fare depending on the driver's mood and today, I was sat next to a rather plump, pale and freckly girl who had such bad eczema that her hands were bleeding. Ok she can't help that but . . she was biting her fingernails to the quick, picking her nose and I swear, fluffed a good half dozen times between Lennox Bridge and the Dick Smith Electronics Warehouse before another seat became available and I could move. You just don't fart on a bus babe!
I'm not even sure why I bother . . .it's a 'green' alternative, it's only marginally cheaper than actually finding a parking space . .but it's awful.
I can't put my finger on why the 601 from Parra is so disgusting. The city bus is a pleasure to ride, other buses from Parramatta at different times are also quite welcoming but this one . . it's filthy and small and smelly and an assault on the senses. Makes it almost worth hanging around with the junkies and homeless in Prince Alfred Park waiting for Steph to pick me up . .at least they're polite even if they are bumming cigarettes and asking for small change and trust me, they don't smell as bad!
I sound like a brat don't I?