RANT: Why I Hate Public Transport

23 February 2008

by Simon Burdus

Public transport is a fantastic idea. It’s cheap, it’s accessible, it’s safe, it’s quick and it’s better for the environment. If this is the case, then why is it that it’s still vastly underutilised by the general public? Well, the description above is wrong. All of these positive statements have actually turned public transport into a nightmare. Whilst on public transport, all I feel is misery and anguish at the prospect of the journey continuing and wondering why I left my car at home.

The worst thing about public transport is that anyone can use it-a prospect I don’t wish to face. As soon as I step on a bus I can guarantee that I will end up sitting next to something not from this planet. The heavy breathing, humped figure in the distance, screeching something inaudible to the bus driver as it holds up a bit of plastic to the driver’s window. It limps forward and sits down next to me as I frantically look for something to do rather than acknowledge the arrival of this creature.

This goes for all forms of transport. On the tube very rarely does a journey go by where I don’t end up next to someone who has no respect for the concept of deodorant and no balance and therefore will fall into you for the entire journey. And why are people on public transport always so ill? On one journey I have encountered Scarlet Fever, a Whooping Cough and Leprosy, and not one of them knew how to cover their mouths mid-whoop.

It’s not just the people that make public transport horrific; it’s the actual transport itself. Whilst on a train recently I had a sudden call of nature. Now, I’m never a fan of public toilets, especially not on trains, but in this instance I had to bite the bullet and go. In true public transport style, the door refused to lock because instead of a standard bolt it had a wave-your-hand-over-the-sensor lock-clearly a first-class use of taxpayers’ money. Would this sensor pick up my hand? Of course not! By this point I was so desperate I just had to do my business with the door opening and closing, while I shouted “don’t come in, I’m busy”.

The Government harps on about making public transport cheap and affordable. It’s not. I can make over 100 trips from the centre of town to Girton College for about £15 worth of petrol. On a bus, 100 trips would cost me £150.

If you want to be assaulted, infected with disease or just made uncomfortable, then by all means, take public transport. Meanwhile, I’m going to keep driving my car and polluting the environment, as it’s cheaper, safer and easier–and best of all, it’s not public. If I wanted to travel with strangers I’d be a taxi driver.