In which The Author takes a bus journey
Tonight, after a very long (and rather boring) day in work, I arrived in Aberdare in the midst of a torrential downpour. It was far too wet to walk home, so I took refuge in the pub until the next Rail-Linc [sic] bus, about an hour later. The Rail-Linc service is only open to rail passengers, and you have to produce a valid train ticket in order to travel on it. I’ve got a monthly ticket, so I knew I could just walk onto the bus. It was worth wasting an hour just so I could get home without getting soaked through.
I returned to the station as the bus pulled in, and a few minutes before the incoming train arrived. A minute later, a young lad dressed in the typical chav uniform came to the door of the bus. He asked the driver how much it was to travel to his stop. The driver told him it was fifty pence, and the lad called his mates over. Now, there were nine of these teenage chavs giving various excuses to the driver about ‘losing their tickets’ and ‘missing the bus’ and so forth. In fairness to the driver, he just sat and pretended to read his paper while they boarded the vehicle. He told them that they wouldn’t be going anywhere, but they continued to barrack him.
The train arrived, and soon afterwards a couple of fare-paying passengers boarded. When the driver was sure that he had picked up all his regulars, he told the youngsters to leave the vehicle. When they stayed put, he got out his phone and – whether in actuality, or for effect – dialled the police.
If it was a bluff, it worked. After a minute’s discussion amongst themselves, the chavs left the bus and gathered in a small group near the bus stop instead – except one. He was the one who’d initially spoken to the driver, and was clearly seen as a hero/clown by his mates. The bus pulled off, with this young lad still on board.
But the driver can’t turn his vehicle near the station. He has to drive to the far end of the car park and swing round near the entrance to the Sports Centre before driving back out. We knew this, and the driver knew this – but I don’t think the young lad did.
When he reached the far end of the car park, the driver stopped the bus and told the boy to get off. By this time, the car park was like a small pond. The lad eventually left the vehicle, giving the driver the anticipated mouthful of abuse as he did so, and had to walk back to his mates in the pissing rain.
And the moral of the story, boys and girls, is this: Never argue with the designated driver. After all, you never know what the weather will be like when you have to walk home …