Friday, May 18, 2007

Stops and starts

Madeiran buses are so humane.

We've already covered imaginary bus stops, which take the pressure off getting to a real stop if you see the bus hurtling down the road.

However, the very best thing about buses here is their pulling-away practice. This morning a little old lady got on the bus, and she had real trouble walking. The driver watched her in the mirror, waited until she had made her way to the back of the bus to find a seat. Only then did he pull away (and drive around corkscrew bends at high speed). So humane. And that's the normal practice - not just for the elderly and infirm.

You can always spot tourists because after the 'next stop please' button has been pressed, they cling to the poles by the doors, hoping the driver slows down enough for them to be able to fling themselves off. Madeirans, they stay seated until the bus comes to a full stop.

So very civilised.

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