As long term readers will be aware I occupy the strange position of living in a society where the crime rate is falling (or the statistics tell us it is), yet due to the petty criminal behaviour of a minority on the buses it seems to increase on a daily basis. Then again as bugger all is ever done about it they don't show up in the crime statistics.
But here's a set of statistics that should give car drivers an indication of just how unpleasant and deeply frightening bus travel can be.
· With a fleet of just under 1,000 buses, First in Glasgow has approximately 8,000 bus windows broken every year - an average of 23 per night.
· In addition, approximately 18,000 seats from our buses are replaced each year due to acts of vandalism.
· First has a fleet of 10,000 buses throughout the UK and Glasgow alone accounts for 40% of the Group's glass usage due to window breakages.
· In addition to the direct cost comes the resulting disruption to services and traffic congestion, fear and risk of injury to those aboard.
What these figures don't tell you about is how unpleasant it is to sit on a bus full of feral teenagers talking about 'stabbing cunts', verbally abusing passengers, throwing food and rubbish about, smoking hash and drinking. I must say I find it ironic that if someone on television says something racist the whole country foams at the mouth but God help anyone with a skin tone darker than sunbed orange who gets on a bus. Or to be accurate God help anyone female, very young or otherwise physically vulnerable with a skin tone darker than sunbed orange who gets on a bus.
There were many highlights on tonight's journey home the mother calling her toddler a 'fuckin arsehole', 'a pain in the arse' and a 'cunt' for crying. Oddly enough her constant stream of abuse and repeated kicking of the pram only seemed to make it worse. Then there were the neds up the back with their obnoxious mobile phone music and usual aggressive behaviour, the dirty Metros, chip wrappers, crisp bags and crap lying about the floor but the undoubted highlight for me was being slapped on the back of the head for no reason and being forced to join in the general disorder by bouncing the book off the culprits head and offering the young lady and her friend off the bus to er... discuss matters.
As I've been saying since last week there is a conspiracy to turn me into a fascist at large in the land. Right now I'm consoling myself with visions of shackled neds in orange boiler suits being forced to clean buses with toothbrushes by midnight I'll be at demanding prison sentences and it won't be my fault because I have low self esteem and have been driven to it by society.