Andy Prest: Bus driver told me to make 'eye contact' to get him to stop. Was he right? (2024)

A recent bus stop surprise has this columnist questioning everything he thought he knew about catching a bus

Can you please help settle an argument between me and my bus driver?

I reckon he doesn’t know we’re still in an argument, but I can’t let it go until I get some kind of resolution. He doesn’t even need to know the outcome. In fact it’s probably better he doesn’t know, as I don’t want to get him more riled up – he’s kind of a big wheel out there.

But I need a verdict.

Here’s the crux. Before this incident, I was under the impression that bus drivers stop at things called bus stops. This seems like a slam dunk argument for me – it’s right there in the name. Bus STOP. You’ve got to think that when a bus comes to such a place, particularly when that place is crowded with people who very much appear to be waiting for a bus to stop and let them on, then it is, in fact, going to stop.

My bus driver disagrees.

Here’s what happened. On a recent rainy morning I was waiting under a shelter for my bus to approach with about a half a dozen other people there beside me. As the bus pulled up I waited, like a gentleman, to see if any of the folks who were there before me wanted to step up and get on the bus first. No one did, so I made my way out of the shelter and into the rain, walking towards the sign where the bus usually ends up.

Now here’s where it gets weird for me. I’m not a frequent flyer bus guy, but I’ve waited for this bus at this bus stop dozens of times. And I’ve waited for different buses in different locations hundreds of times over the years. In every one of those instances – bus pulling up to a crowded bus stop – the bus driver has done the very same thing: they’ve stopped the bus. Then they’ve opened the door, and the people that wanted to get on that bus have done just that, and the people who didn’t want to get on that bus have not gotten on the bus. Then the doors close, and we’re on to the next one.

But not this time. This time no one got on this bus, because the bus driver did not stop. Sure he slowed down a bit and pulled near the curb but – and here’s where it got confusing for me – he did not stop. He kept on rolling and pulled away down the road.

I was momentarily stunned by this bus behaviour, watching my early start to the day slipping away as the bus picked up speed with me looking extremely puzzled standing in his rearview mirror.

This was, coincidentally, the day of the big North Van school track meet at Swangard Stadium, and maybe I was inspired: I ran. I caught the bus at the next stop, cruising up behind him just in time to … watch him pull away again.

Off I went again and caught up at a red light down the road, where I took my closed umbrella and gently tapped on the door like I was Hermione Granger casting Alohom*ora. The spell worked, as the door magically opened. The enchantment didn’t last long though.

“Oh, you’re going to give me grief?!” the driver bellowed as I stepped in without saying a word.

“Can I get on this bus?” I asked, a little heated from the sprinting. “Don’t buses stop at bus stops?!”

“You have to make eye contact!” he yelled back. “Just go sit down!”

As I sat down, I came to realize by his comments that he had watched me chase the bus all the way down. Was I being taught a lesson here?

A Monty Python cartoon came to mind, one where an old lady watches several buses fly by before she gets fed up, sticks her leg across the road and trips the next bus.

This, however, doesn’t seem like the wisest way to catch a real human bus. I’m not sold either on the idea of sprinting up to the curb at a crowded bus stop to stare through the glare of a rainy windshield to make sure the driver sees the whites of your eyes.

So tell me, folks who know their way around a pull cord – who is wrong here? Was this driver correct in taking me on an unscheduled trip to the school of hard knocks? Should I be making myself big and staring these buses down to prove that I’m the Alpha Bus? Or should I continue to act under the belief that most buses will in fact stop when they arrive at a crowded bus stop.

I don’t want to get anybody in trouble – I know bus drivers deal with a lot of stuff every day – but I just really want to know the right answer. That’s why I’m pulling out all the stops.

Andy Prest is the editor of the North Shore News. His humour/lifestyle column runs biweekly.

Andy Prest: Bus driver told me to make 'eye contact' to get him to stop. Was he right? (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Kelle Weber

Last Updated:

Views: 5782

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (53 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Kelle Weber

Birthday: 2000-08-05

Address: 6796 Juan Square, Markfort, MN 58988

Phone: +8215934114615

Job: Hospitality Director

Hobby: tabletop games, Foreign language learning, Leather crafting, Horseback riding, Swimming, Knapping, Handball

Introduction: My name is Kelle Weber, I am a magnificent, enchanting, fair, joyous, light, determined, joyous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.