Friday, February 11, 2011

On The Buses I – A Brief History of Time

Like most places Brighton is crap in the rain in February and today it is raining and it is February so it is crap and I have shopping to do.

I have a list of things to take back to France most of which can be obtained from the costermongers lining the London Road. Usually I drive there, park in the Open Market or some other suitable (i.e. free) car park and forage. I buy the stuff, making occasional visits back to the car to stash it.

Today’s crap is courtesy of my car being in the vets having stones removed from its hooves. Deprived of a car, I am limited to buying only as much as I can carry.

However, armed with a little knowledge, maps and a few quid the world of The Brighton and Hove Bus Company is opened up and one gets a chance to see how the other half struggles.

A bewildering selection of multi-layered travel
deals are on offerif you can understand them.

I bought a Day Super Saver City Go Anywhere All Day In The Rain special.

£3.70 on the bus, £.30 at one of the special
inaccessible Travel Shops or £3 online
(requires more planning than most of us can muster)
Having done the first lot of shopping and laden with bags I stagger to a bus stop...

Some of the booty waiting for a bus.

The bus arrives...


...and I take the booty back to Pete’s house where I drop it off and sally forth for the next lot.  No wonder poor people are unemployed, it takes all day just getting the shopping done… [I feel you are missing the point. Ed.]

One of several bus journeys (I forget which)
Brighton has a rather good system of displays telling you exactly how late the buses are. It may be mendacious, but it is kind of comforting as it is just possible that it is true. For instance it may say ‘5B 3 Minutes’, this changes to ‘2 minutes’ after a period not entirely related to time as we know it. Trying to work out how long a B&HBC minute is on planet earth helps pass the time.
Not all bus stops have a display, but never fear. The stops are all named and coded. You can text the code of the bus stop to B&HBC and they will text back the times of the next bus - and I assume lighten you bank account by a suitably annoying amount – you know not enogh to complain about, but close to the amount you saved by getting a Day Super Saver City Go Anywhere All Day In The Rain special.

This bus stop did not have a display so I had to take a picture of the one on the stop across the road.

Living by bus is a deadeningly slow process. But today I have no other pressing engagements and need a break from sitting in front of the computer.

Slowly the hidden advantages become apparent. Once one has faced the horror of car-withdrawal and the only pressure on one’s time is waiting for the garage to call and say it’s ready, the bus opens up new opportunities. I do not worry about parking places or tickets, or steering, or having a second pint at lunchtime. In fact a couple of pints and a spin along the coast is almost like having a holiday. I might even go the whole hog and buy an Argus…

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