Do you ever use buses? I don’t use them much – there just aren’t many around where I live.
You have to be careful – for example if you like in Kirkby you can get a bus to Millom, but you can’t get one back again because there’s only one a day and it’s before the one into Millom.
I use them when we’re away sometimes, though and a week or two ago we were in Leeds for the weekend. We went to see a Cowboy stunt horse riding show at the Armouries, which was amazing (even though it rained so they couldn’t set the “flaming bar” on fire to jump over it).
Leeds, it turns out, is a bit less rural than the west coast of Cumbria… and we ended up using buses quite a bit to get about.
I’ve always found using buses a bit confusing when I’m in a city I don’t know. It’s not too bad finding the right stop – you can always ask someone. And they usually have the timetables up on the bus stop wall, so you can check when the next bus is and make sure it does go where you want to go.
No, what I find difficult is knowing when to get off.
If you don’t know the area, how can you recognise when you’re at the right stop? OK, if you’re getting the bus to a big museum, say, or back to your hotel, you might recognise it. But what if the bus stops in a different street – it’s often not obvious.
But I found something I didn’t know before. We were using the google maps app on my phone to find the bus stop and to find out which bus to use.
If you’ve ever used it as a sat nav in your car, it works in much the same way. You just put in where you want to get to and tap the little symbol of a train at the top, just to the right of the symbol of the car. I know it seems confusing to tap on a train to get bus times, but it’s the symbol for all public transport.
Then it’ll give you the best route to wherever you want to go using public transport. It’ll tell you how to walk to the bus stop, then what bus number to get.
That was handy – I knew it could do it but I hadn’t really tried it out before.
Then when we got to the stop it told me how long we had to wait for the next bus to arrive – handy.
But I didn’t know that once I was on the bus it would tell me how many stops we had to go before we should get off… or that it would count it down as we went and warn me when we got to the stop before, so we were ready to get off… and it would even vibrate to warn me when we needed to get off.
That’s really handy – it just solves the problem of not knowing when to get off.
Unfortunately I was so busy marvelling at how clever it was that I missed actually getting off at the stop and we had to get off at the next one and walk back.
Still, I’ll know for next time… and it is a handy feature. If you want to use it and you have an Android phone you probably already have it on your phone – look for the Maps app. If you have an iPhone then you might need to go to the App Store and download the Google Maps app.