The Indygo busses in Indianapolis are so different to the buses in England for many reasons. The first main one is that the Indygos are actually punctual. I don’t want to be a traitor to the English busses but I was very surprised when the Indygo bus arrived when it was meant to. After getting over this initial shock, more surprises kept coming. The bus drivers are very friendly and actually helped me work out the different method of paying by using a self-service ticket machine that is at the front of the bus. Although if you are the last one onto the bus you need a good stance whilst operating this machine as the driver will begin to move before you are sat down and if you’re not careful you will move to but in the opposite direction that the bus is heading in.
Then when you do go to sit down you sometimes have a struggle to find a seat. The buses are always full with an assortment of people from children to the slightly more elderly person who, in the US, are affectionately refered to as senior citizens, which has a nicer ring to it than OAP. Once you locate a seat, or if some of the other people move as there seems to be a trend for people who sit over two seats, you can sit down. Unfortunately the buses aren’t made for the shorter person and my feet don’t touch the ground when I am sitting properly so I spend most of the time swinging my legs, feeling a bit like a small child, until my stop.
I spend most of the time people watching and this is fascinating. The bus driver seems to know everyone and a lot of the passengers treat the bus as a social outing. It’s amazing how many passengers get on the bus and have conversations with more than a couple of people on various rows as they clamber to their seat. It also seems to be the same people every day. I have even had a few conversations with people now which is nice and makes me feel like a real regular on the buses. It also helps to take my mind off some of the huge bumps that appear sporadically in the road.
However, the passengers are not as fortunate as the driver when it comes to tackling these bumps. The driver has a spring-loaded seat the moves and wobbles around as the bus goes over the bumps. Then there is the temperature inside the bus, which can be stifling. Again the bus driver, and rightly so, is better off than the passengers because they also have their own personal fan. Although they are constantly having to straighten the fan to have the cool air blowing on them as it has an annoying habit of continuously creeping left and not doing its job properly. There is no point of having a fan which is cooling the window. Especially when this window is open.
Once you get to near to your stop you have to make the bell ring. This took me a long time to figure out. My first time on the Indygo I got a bit panicky as I couldn’t see any of the buttons that are on the English busses. How was I meant to make the bus stop if I can’t find any buttons? Luckily, before I embarrassed myself, I spotted some people reaching behind them and pulling on a raggedy rope that runs the length of the bus, just above the windows. When this rope was pulled the bus announced that a stop has been requested. AhHa, I thought, this was how you can make the bus stop. I pulled the rope with a sense of relief, especially when the bus actually stopped.
With the bus stopped you have to hustle your way out as people get on. You then are waved goodbye from the driver and told to have a nice day. Well I am waved off the bus but it may be because they think im off to school somewhere? I hope not although it always make me feel that I should be wearing a rucksack and carrying a cartoon lunch box.