Evidence that signs on buses are an endless source of amusement ... to the easily amused

Okay, so the days of PING are over.  But there is still fun to be had.  Did I write all of the signs I saw on the bus today in my diary as I rode home (in very wobbly writing)?  Yes, I did.

Does this say something about my immature and puerile sense of humour?  Yes, it does.

Do I care?  Nope.


Here's the sign at the front of the G1 bus about the bus's capacity, exactly as it's set out.

Seating         26         up to        29
Standing       16         up to        12
1 wheelchair for 5 standees

I have some questions.

1. Standing ... 16 up to 12?  Can someone explain?

2. What is a standee when it's at home?  Who's getting paid fifty grand a year to make up silly words to put on bus signs just to sound official?  I hope the summer flowers in their extensive landscaped garden wilt.

3. Whatever a standee is, why would five of them want get into a wheelchair anyway?  We've got papers to read when we get on the bus, people to text, books to flick through ... we're not looking to play party games.


Again - exactly as it's set out -

when the bus is moving you must not stand forward of this point or distract the driver without good reason or ....

leave luggage in any gangway

I have questions about this one, too.

1. Why the lower case throughout?  Have they done a survey which revealed that '80% of British bus passengers would prefer to be patronised with infant school presentation'?  It's almost like the PING thing - I'm wondering whether they've missed the beginning of the sentence off and it started with 'We would like you to know that ....'  But there's no full stop either.  This is a sentence which just HANGS IN MID-AIR LIKE A SOUL IN LIMBO.

2. Why the 'or ...' and then the new line?  What's this Big Pause before they mention the luggage thing?  Is it a threat (leaving luggage in the gangway is the WORST possible offence and means thirty years in jail)?  Is it a 'we can't remember what we wanted to say at this point ... oh yes, that was it!'? Or is it a little game we're being invited to play called Guess the Offence (we know you're probably very bored so see if you can guess what's coming next)?

3. What do they mean - any gangway?  There's not a great choice in terms of gangway.  There's THE gangway and then there's .... nope ... that's it.  There's just the one.  Is this a general application, such as in, 'Look, sunshine, if you're likely to misbehave on this bus and leave your dirty great sports bag where it will kill people, then you're likely to do this on other buses.  Take note.'

4. Has no one told them that, on leaving Junior School, you should stop using 'or' more than once in a sentence?  You should have progressed to complex sentences by now.  It's like those Junior School diary entries kids write on Mondays entitled 'Wot I did at the weakend' ... which entertain teachers worldwide.  'We went to the park AND we bort an eyescream AND it was a luvely day AND we had a nice time AND then we got hoame AND then Mummy through the cat at Daddy AND Daddy corled Mummy a barsterd AND then we got putt to bed.'


Directly underneath the previous sign is one saying, cheerily, 'EVERYTHING OK?' and there are some numbers you can ring if you have any comments or complaints.  (Just don't get me started, my friends.)  Well, no, 'not everything's OK', obviously, because your signs are rubbish and you think you have more than one gangway and you call people standees and use Big Pauses just to confuse people.

Underneath the 'Everything OK?' message are two little faces.  One is a smiley face ('Yes, everything's fine and dandy') which has a wavy line on its head signifying bouncy, happy hair.  The other one is a grumpy face ('I'd rather eat my own ear wax than come on this bus again') and this one's hair is all flat and hanging down one side of its face.  So, presumably, if you are happy with your bus service, your hair will be all springy and fun, and if you're not, suddenly it will go all lank and rats-taily.  I guess at least if you're not in touch with your feelings it's a helpful way of finding out whether you're enjoying your bus journey or not.


This one says, 'Passengers must not stand rearwards of this notice.'

1. Oh, we're 'passengers' now, are we, and not 'standees' when we're doing something we shouldn't?

2. And what the hell is 'rearwards of'.  Do you mean ... could you mean ... is it possible that you mean ... BEHIND?

3.  And, how come THIS one gets a capital P and a full stop, eh, eh, eh?  Listen, honeybun sign-writer person whoever you are.  At least, show some consistency.

I noticed, as I left the bus, that there were at least forty-five other signs I hadn't written down.  Either deselect yourself off my followers list right now, or get ready for Bus Signs Part III, Part IV ... possibly up to Part MCMXIII (whatever that means, but it's bound to be a big number).


  1. Yes indeed. Do you think that the problem is that they don't employ English teachers to write the signs? Maybe that could be a wee retirement job for me...

    The "-ee" ending often annoys me, used when "-er" is really meant. Well, it doesn't actually ANNOY me. I'm not that easily annoyed. Just causes me to grind my teeth somewhat.

    What WOULD be a good reason to distract the driver, I wonder? Heart attack? Imminent childbirth? Good joke? Offering him/her a sweetie?

    Anyway, chortle chortle. Most enjoyable post as usual. Must go and pull out weeds and stop reading blogs.

  2. Just as that vanished into clickdom, I realised that I should have said:

    Must stop reading blogs and go and pull out weeds (in that order. But that's probably too many "and"s, isn't it? Or: those are probably too many "and"s).

    Must stop reading blogs so that I can go to pull out weeds. Better?

  3. You should get a Government grant for this type of research - mind you they would probably cut the grant as soon as they gave it you.

  4. That is brilliant... if I am not mistaken, you have gone off on a proper rant! But good on you..there is nothing more irritating than poor grammar combined with nonsensical rules. Looking forward to installment III

  5. I blame the teachers, Fran, education is not what it was in my day and the modern day sign writer and bus regulations composer and rule book compiler have been allowed to 'express' themselves instead of doing their 7 x table and learning proper English like what you and I have.
    Anyway, take it or leave it.

  6. I hope you send a copy of this post to the bus company! LOL :)

  7. I'm chortling again Fran. You just let it all out girl but I can't guarantee I read more than Part III. I have my limits on bus sign rantings you know.

  8. Please accept for your collection the one that I spotted the other day (can't remember the exact wording) that instructed us not to leave our seats until the bus had stopped. Now, not every seat has a bell push, so do we ask another sittee passenger to press the bell for us? And if the bus has lots of standees (!) we will slow the timetable down considerably by struggling down the (or any) gangway past all those people texting, reading papers, flicking through books, looking anxiously around them in case they've strayed inadvertently into Rearwards territory. And you know the driver would get fed up and just move off again before we reached the doors.....

  9. As one pedant to another, pedantry rules. For one thing, it is funny. I think I love you.

  10. Isabelle - is it just me, or did you really NOT want to pull those weeds?

    Alan - and I would only spend it on chocolate, and then claim on expenses.

    Annie - you may be in the minority there, looking forward to instalment III.

    Friko - You're right. As soon as people were allowed to express themselves, the world started going mad. I'm all for suppression and Freudian forms of denial, myself.

    Jinksy - I think I could be blacklisted, then how would I get home?

    Maggie - I will try to indicate in the title of the post if it's Part III, then you can cover your eyes.

    Rachel - this made me giggle a lot. I love the word 'sittee'. If I sit on my settee, am I a settee sittee? If my settee is in a city, am I a city settee sittee? I will stop now ...

    Elizabethm - You're right. Pedantry rules KO! Oops. OK. And, by the way, love me, love my bus. Be warned.

  11. 'We went to the park AND we bort an eyescream AND it was a luvely day AND we had a nice time AND then we got hoame AND then Mummy through the cat at Daddy AND Daddy corled Mummy a barsterd AND then we got putt to bed.' - could you just clarify whether or not this describes your own home life? I want to establish whether or not your blog is suitable for standees.

  12. Love it! I needed the laugh too.

  13. Oh Fran...I'm off to bed. It's late. I saw your post but haven't got time to read. Is it really stupid to say things like this in a comment? I mean, why comment if you haven't read the bloody thing?? But I just felt bad because I hadn't read it and promise that I WILL SOON but am off on a trip to the Canadian equivalent of Tenby. Much wilder, though. I'll read you when I get there!!!

  14. See, all these signs are why the Metro's readership is falling.

  15. northernknickerwoman11/6/10 01:29

    Methinks there is a book in this !

  16. Signs of the times? Possibly even the Educational Supplement. Seems to be that junior deputy assistant communications executives start with something that works ok(ish) then a bureaucrat gets hold of it.

  17. The Campaign for Plain English should be notified of this post and pay you a lot of money to work for them.

    *Short. Brunette. Plump* - snap.

  18. p.s. You've made me want to re-read Behind the Scenes at the Museum now.

  19. Fran, you have obviously spent too much time on buses and it has turned your mind.


    Give me more Tenby!

  20. Mise - we never bort the kids eyescream. Apart from that ... well ...

    JJ - thank you. Glad I made you laugh. It's my life's work.

    Deborah - That's the first ever 'I'm commenting on your blog which I haven't read' comment I've had. Take a prize. What do you mean, wilder than Tenby? Is this POSSIBLE?

    Steve - you are SO right! Sometimes I only get to read the front page before I'm off on one reading notices about rises in bus fares.

    NK Woman - yes, perhaps with about 3 pages in it. I shall have to graduate to trains and planes and automobiles to have enough signs to write about.

  21. Granmo - Thanks for dropping in! I'm not a granmo yet, but maybe one day. I've asked the kids to hold off until I'm at least 50.

    French Fancy - thanks for signing up and playing Snap. I love your profile picture!

    Talli - you keep asking for more Tenby! Maybe soon, maybe soon. I still have my detailed diaries from the holiday ...

  22. French Fancy - yes, do read Behind the Scenes. It's the best. Set aside a time when you will be able to just read, read, read. And laugh, laugh, laugh. She is dead witty.

  23. I actually like weeding. Just saying.

  24. Oh I love it. Yes more parts!

    Wouldn't you just love to get these 'writees' in a locked room and teach them.

    In my town they spell buses - busses.

  25. Isabelle - in which case, you are one of life's very special people. I bet you have a lot of friends who invite you to their gardens.

    Lane - I would get them in a room and bedazzle them with so many signs on the walls, they wouldn't know what'd hit them. Er .. busses? 'Scuse me?

  26. Sign 1 is quite simple , really .
    Up to 26 people under the age of 29 can sit . As we all know , once we reach our third decade , we start to develop spare tyres and bulgy bits that mean we take up more space .
    For the same reason those standing must be under the age of 12 .
    The driver will be happy to advise passengers of their age-related seating/standing positions .

  27. Anonymous12/6/10 01:03

    You are scaring me... I can actually see you sitting on that bus, notepad in hand, scribbling whilst thinking "tut, tut, tut, idiots!!... I'll show you and your 'rearwards', yes, yes, yes I will..."

    So, when is the next bus and is there room for me? I don't mind being a standee...

  28. SmitAndSon - if you weren't here to explain these things, where would I be?

    Eternally Distracted - if YOU'RE finding it scary, what do you think it's like actually Being Me?

  29. Guffawing here.
    The "Look Sunshine..." started me off and I was helpless by the end of the post.

  30. suppose you had been born in Dublin, married a Hindu, moved your furniture to his home, became a Hindu yourself and then your Hindu husband died?

    Would you be an Irish settee sittee suttee?

  31. June - thanks for coming along! Yes, I think, in that case, you would be an Irish sitt ... sutt ... sett ... oh, whatever you said!

  32. Okay, so I was in a totally FOUL mood and you have marginally lifted it. Actually I laughed. So thank you. You have saved me from having to drink large amounts of alcohol to achieve the same, slightly cheered, effect.
    btw, ignore punctuation - I follow different rules on blogs/twitter etc. Just because.
    re yours on mine - yup, pasty it will be again. I am way too lazy to keep up any kind of grooming ritual once the initial excitement has worn off. jx

  33. Exmoorjane - a) Glad I made you laugh b) Glad I saved you pounds on wine c) Glad you ignore punctuation - I'm the same with texting and am a disgrace to my profession, but, hey.


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