Wednesday, 18 June 2008

The London bus seating situation...

Let me start by saying I'm fairly tall, over six foot, and this exacerbates the problem...but it's not just me who suffers from the idiocy of the designers who have perpetrated this mess.

Let's take the bus experience, as thats where I really have the issue. Firstly you arrive at the bus-stop. This being London there could be quite a wait for the bus, 15 minutes would not be too surprising, neither would the best part of an hour. I'll rant about the little lit signs that tell you how long the wait will be soon...thats another whole rant entirely. So as you're waiting you decide to take a perch on the convenient seat in the convenient shelter that TfL have so thoughtfully provided. Sorry. I should have said attempt to take a seat on the red thing that a parrot would recognize as a perch. Yes, when I was young bus stops had benches four slats of wooden lovliness that cradled you buttocks in a comfortable manner, so long as you didn't sit on the rivets, being wood they were not to cold in winter and being slatted they let circulate to your over heated bum in the summer. Now what do we get? A four inch wide strip of unyielding plastic  finished in an exciting, and bus matching red hue, it's top surface rakishly angled to about 30 degrees off the horizontal. So what does that do for us, well four inches is not enough to take the whole of my butt (pun intended, double intendre fans!) let alone anyone else who has a bum bigger than say... oh... Nicole Ritchie, the plastic surface is like mounting an iceberg in winter, and in summer, well there's no airflow and if the sun's been on it it's like sitting on lava, that's if you can sit on it. What is the purpose of that rakish camber? Well as far as I can tell it's to ensure you slide off towards the floor, risking embarrassment and injury, and providing amusement for any employees of the shelter manufacturers who may be passing.

Does it get any better when you get on the bus? Nope. Hopefully the bus is not so full as to prevent you from finding a seat, in fact hopefully it's totally empty, because if that's the case you have a chance of finding a seat into which you have a chance of folding your legs without resembling a pretzel that has been squashed in the oven, then folded to make it fit on the shelf, placed at the bottom of a full shopping bag and then put into a seat on the bus. You may get the gist that I'm implying that the space provided for you to sit on the bus is small. You're wrong. I'm implying that it's miniscule. You know those spy satellites that you read about? The ones that can read the newspaper in your hand just as you read it, so far below on the surface of our planet? They'd have trouble spotting something the size of the average london bus seat. There are in fact, on the average number 33, six seats which give me enough leg room. Thing is though, they are the ones that are helpfully labeled with the DON'T SIT HERE UNLESS YOUR OLD, INFIRM, PREGNANT OR A BASTARD notices that will invariably make a "normal" person such as my self feel guilty about seating myself there. Thing is, they may have the legroom in those seats, but they sure don't have the width, none of the seats do, it's not so much the bum width, there is just about the exact amount of space that my bum takes up. The problem is, that like most humans my shoulders go out further on the sides than my arse. If I do get a seat on the bus I find myself with my knees somewhere alongside my ears and leaning at an obtuse angle so that both mine and my seatmates shoulders fit.

It's a disheartening experience, taking a bus,  I'm not a sardine, you can tell that by the fact that I'm not dead and slathered in olive oil before I'm crammed into a space somewhat smaller than the actual volume of my body inside a tin can, oh and the fact that I'm not a particularly good source of Omega-3.  

1 comment:

alexjames said...
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