Public transport - it's a jungle out there...

"If you wanna push th' bell, get oan the 28" was the driver's warning bark to a man who had happily pushed the bell to get off buses all his life in Glasgow, but on this day, on a new bus route, found himself an outsider in his home city.

I don't know you...but I...HATE you...

We must all realise - for the sake of our own health and safety - how much the politics and etiquette of a public transport system varies from place to place.

With the Edinburgh Festival starting soon and the city limits strained to bursting point with tourists and travellers, it's important to be aware that if you are new to a city, do not - under any circumstances - try and assert yourself with some kind of power when it comes to their transport system. You will not be thanked for your efforts.

Opening or closing windows, for example, can be an area rife with local political undertone. People have been knifed for less. The mere action of opening of a window can, in extreme circumstances, leave a fellow passenger, a complete stranger, rippling with feelings of absolute loathing for you, despite them probably being quite a nice person once off the bus and safely back in control of their own temperature.

This all stems from our culture's habit of not speaking up, preferring to actually avoid interacting with any fellow human beings whatsoever. Well it's more polite, not so awkward, eh? The opening of said window then also leaves room for someone who fancies himself as a bit of a nutter to slam it shut thirty seconds later. This is either an assertion of this person’s 'locality' or someone trying to pick a fight. In reality, it'll usually be a mixture of both...a local looking for a fight.

If you find yourself in this predicament do not, under any circumstances, make eye contact. You may think you can get away with being smart because you will never see this person again? Wrong! People who have the time and inclination to go around slamming bus windows shut also have the time and inclination to get off at the same stop as you, follow you round the Tesco Express, tail you until you reach your front door and then kick you about like a dog on the street.

If you do find yourself attracting the attention of a/many hooligan/s act casually and make a swift exit. Not too swift mind, as if you get off at the first available stop, this brandishes you a chicken and also deems you worthy of a hunt and a kick. Three to four stops is the perfect timing, long enough that your potential pursuer will have mostly lost interest, short enough that you don't find yourself left on the bus alone with them - a situation which will almost certainly rekindle their attentions.

A very important part of the exit process, one worth practice, is keeping your balance. People who can walk up and down some kind of moving vessel without holding on always carry an air of slight smugness, despite their nonchalant expressions. If you calmly slide off the vehicle at your chosen stop (extra points for doing it whilst wearing headphones) you will have narrowly escaped your social catastrophe, leaving with at worst a weak jibe from your enemies and at best a feeling of silent superiority as you gleefully realise you may have clawed back a little self respect.

If, however, you stumble whilst making your way to the exit I surely don't have to point out that you will receive one hell of a ribbing and quite frankly you deserve it because you have made a huge tit up of this entire journey from start to finish.

One social group the above does not apply to, of course, is the old people. They have entirely got their own set of rules, and don't get me wrong, they annoy me as well, but to be fair they've paid their dues so just leave them to it, they'll be out your way soon enough.

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