|Queues at Victoria Coach Station, London. Geograph|
One by one by one we shall proceed. And if you were there first, heaven help the person who approaches from a different direction or attempts to push in. You must go to the back of the queue, wait patiently for your turn. While the buggy-totin' mama in front argues with the trolley-wielding elderly about who exactly gets the prime seat in the front of the bus and the rest stand outside in the pouring rain instead of being able to take their seats and watch the drama unfold without getting wet.
A quintessentially British trait.
And one ignored by many other nationalities, and increasingly, the younger generation of Brits too.
Should Queuing be Stopped?
Is it time therefore, for the Brits to stop all this orderly queuing malarkey and rush an open train door, mob a bus driver, vault railings to get to the best seat in the house for the free Olympic event viewing?
After all, on London Underground trains, this behavior is already ingrained. Passengers are so keen to board as quickly as possible that pushing, shoving, elbows, trolley wheels, luggage and walking canes are all used as weapons in order to ensure a speedy entry through the doors. No matter that someone might be wanting to get off, they might find themselves pushed out of the way. And if anyone has the chutzpah to bring a large pram or be greedy of space, they are promptly stood on top of, squashed, pushed and otherwise boxed in.
|Wikimedia image of the New York Port Authority Bus Terminal|
However, at the bus station in Cambridge, such shenanigans can be frowned upon. Sure, the hordes converge in the same way, but the old one by one boarding protocol is still expected to apply, age before anything else. Feel the wrath of the wronged older passenger if you dare to board before them when they consider a queue was formed. The trouble is, as many have found out, the design of the bus station is not clear on the necessity for queuing. Unlike the New York Port Authority Bus Terminal, where the notion of queuing is rigorously enforced by the presence of steel railings and there is still plenty space for free movement. Unfortunately Cambridge history takes precedent over sensible transport provision, with the result that standard size buses still try and squeeze into an area which really should have been pedestrianised years ago, or at least restricted to small vehicles only. (Um, this is Cambridge - pedestrianised but still open to cyclists wobbling dangerously in every direction known to man, woman, child and bicycle!)
How Not to Design a Street Suitable for Queuing
So, in your average historic town centre street, there are bicycles everywhere, lost tourists travelling in packs, mamas with buggies, elderlies with canes and bags. And a one way street with buses all over it and taxis haring round as if up against Lewis Hamilton at Silverstone. And people are expected to queue neatly in this melee?! When there isn't even enough space to stand safely and still avoid the smokers? Humph. I don't think so...
Major design fail there. Modern transport requirements shoehorned into historic city centres don't generally work, UK planners. What is needed is a total redesign to allow for organised boarding. Yes, I know, organised and historic city centres don't tend to mix, but as more and more people cram onto this island, with both people and their buggies growing bigger by the day, the more need for organisation there will be.
I do give a damn about all of this, and I'm glad I don't live in London...
/rant. Grumps off into the kitchen for a chocolate muffin and another cuppa tea.