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July 4, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Bus sign

BusstandCindy Roche submits a picture taken in London, England:

I saw this bus sign in London.

So where do the buses pick up passengers?


They pick them up here here here here here here here here--ANYWHERE!


Posted by: gamekid at July 4, 2006 12:20 AM

That's probably what we call a layover point. The bus waits there till its time to start the next trip. The first bus stop is probably the next intersection or posted stop. Not broken. Just funny due to the difference between European English and North American English. I laugh when seeing their "to let" signs. I always put an i in there.

Posted by: Paul at July 4, 2006 12:42 AM

I regret that I cannot find the link anymore, but this reminds me of the bus stop shelter that got installed in the wrong place and now has large signs indicating that busses do not stop there.

Posted by: bex at July 4, 2006 12:48 AM

> "European English"

It's English. English English.

Posted by: root at July 4, 2006 05:09 AM

This isn't broken. It's a bus stand where the buses can wait. Buses pick up passengers at a bus stop.

Sorry for being pedantic!

Posted by: Mark at July 4, 2006 06:10 AM

What Mark said. Not broken; it's a bus stand, not a bus stop.

Posted by: Philip at July 4, 2006 06:43 AM

It is interesting, though, because we in North America claim to speak English, yet the English have enough of a different dialect of the language to cause much confusion.

A few years back, I traveled to England on business with one co-worker, who had never been out of the US, and had no prior exposure to anything but American culture (whereas I watched a lot of British TV and listened to the BBC World Service on a shortwave radio for many many years).

So this unsuspecting co-worker of mine couldn't quite get the hang of getting what in the US are called "potato chips" with his sandwich orders, because "chips" to the British are what we call "french fries" in North America, and the word "potato" was viewed as redundant. If you wanted potato chips, you had to ask for "crisps". Personally, I think this makes more sense than the words we use in the US, but that's just me.

Anyway, the winning stroke was when we hit a snag in our work, and the customer was trying to propose that it was time to take a smoke break. In his thick cockney accent, he said, "Right. Well. Wanna step out an' 'ave a fag then?"

I so wish I had a camera at that second, because the look on my co-worker's face was absolutely priceless.

Posted by: Glenn Lasher at July 4, 2006 08:23 AM


This post is not to be read here.

Posted by: Galen D. W. at July 4, 2006 08:54 AM

That's actually a very helpful innovation - you'd only see it in London though.

Anywhere else in the UK, the bus would wait about 25 yards from the stop, and if you dared to approach it the driver would scowl, point at the bus stop, and go back to reading the Daily Mirror.


Posted by: Michael Batey at July 4, 2006 09:14 AM

There are quite a few similarly marked bus stops in Montreal, which serve a double purpose as a debarking zone at the end of the route and a parking zone while the driver waits to start their next run.

By the way for those in the USA have a good Independence Day.

Posted by: Sean P at July 4, 2006 10:04 AM

Thanks Sean, I am.

True story #1: Quite a while back, an American manager was rotated by an American company to Scotland for career development, where he ran a semiconductor wafer plant. One day it came to his attention that a certain lady had repeatedly misprocessed batches of wafers, generating many thousand dollars of scrap. He opined in front of a group, "She needs a smack in the fanny." Inappropriate enough, but even more so when one realizes that the "fanny" refers to something on the front side of a woman, not the back side. He got some really shocked looks.

True story #2: They are remarkably tolerant of this kind of mistake. Manager in question is now CEO of Advanced Micro Devices.

Posted by: Pat at July 4, 2006 03:20 PM

Thanks Sean. I hope you had a good Canada Day (making an assumption based on your comments).

Posted by: Glenn Lasher at July 5, 2006 07:03 AM

I was curious about the spelling of the word buses - someone wrote in the Wikipedia the following:

The usual plural of bus is "buses". "Busses" is sometimes used, but is also the plural of "buss", a dialectal word for "kiss" or a type of boat.

Posted by: WillF at July 5, 2006 03:15 PM

I think that this is half-broken. If you understand the London bus system this sign makes perfect sense. However, since many people from other places will be visiting it, the sign should by modified thus:


Buses do not pick up passengers here. This is an area where the buses can wait. Passengers should go to the BUS STOP.

It's only half-broken, as I said, because if you understand the distinction between a stand and a stop the sign needs no clarification.

Posted by: Alcas at July 5, 2006 03:33 PM

It is used here in USA also, (but still in a broken way) Notice the street parking regulation signs in most cities, there is a distinction between 'No Parking', 'No Standing', and 'No Stopping'. You better know what they are so you dont do it.

Posted by: Emily. Lattella at July 5, 2006 03:48 PM

I'd say the bus doesn't stop there and they could've saved money on the sign.

Posted by: Janet at July 5, 2006 06:18 PM

Janet missed the point. The bus =does= stop there. It just doesn't allow passengers to board there.In Phoenix (where I live) the busses accomplish the same function (schedule syncronization) by not =leaving= the stop until they've wasted enough time.

Posted by: Chad at July 5, 2006 08:53 PM

If the bus is going to stop, why doesn't the driver just open the door and pick up the people running after the bus. These people are doubtlessly late for work, so they run after the bus, the bus stops, and then they are told by a wierd sign that the bus does not pick people up!

Posted by: Gabriel Hurley at July 5, 2006 10:47 PM

What's more annoying in London is the existence of "hail and ride" portions of bus routes. These are long stretches where there are no bus stops, but if you see a bus, you can stop it by flagging it down.

Good idea in theory, but there's nothing to tell you you're on a hail and ride route when you're trying to catch a bus, so unless you already know the area you end up walking for ages to find a bus stop while they all happily drive straight past you.

Posted by: Mark at July 6, 2006 09:57 AM

Gabriel Hurley said : "If the bus is going to stop, why doesn't the driver just open the door and pick up the people running after the bus."

Because the bus waits there until it is their turn to start their run. There is probably a bus at the correct stop which will be leaving sooner. I don't know about London, but here the bus driver sometimes, if they are early enough, locks up the bus and goes for a cup of coffee.

Posted by: Sean P at July 6, 2006 02:19 PM

Odd to Americans, but not broken. The sign simply states that a bus may be waiting there to begin a run, but boarding is prohibited. However, an arrow or directions to the next actual bus stop where boarding is permitted would be helpful and less confuzing

Posted by: freedomlunux at July 6, 2006 05:12 PM

Sure, it's strange to me, but it gets the point across.


Posted by: Another guy named Alex B at July 6, 2006 07:16 PM

So the general gist of this posting and discussion is that anything that an American doesn't immediately understand is Broken?


Is it possible that other countries do things differently?


Posted by: Brizza at July 6, 2006 08:21 PM

I say it is broken, albeit only moderately, because "Bus Stand" is confusingly similar to "Bus Stop." (And because the "Bus Stand" portion is in bigger text than the latter, important half of the sign.) I'm willing to bet that the majority of people seeing this sign think, however briefly, that they're at a bus stop.

Why not say something like, "Bus Parking. Buses do not pick up passengers here." Not many people are going to interpret, "Bus Parking" as a bus stop.

(And, as freedomlunux says, why not include directions to a 'real' bus stop?)

Just because something makes sense when it's explained doesn't mean that it's not broken if the majority of people using it are confused.

Posted by: Matt at July 7, 2006 01:50 AM

or even more simple...

replace the BUS STAND with BUFFER ZONE!!!

Posted by: alexanderpas at July 7, 2006 05:06 PM

Okay, so maybe it's not COMPLETELY broken, but you know what would make it even less not-broken? Directions to where busses DO pick up passengers.

Posted by: mattymatt at July 8, 2006 03:52 AM

"replace the BUS STAND with BUFFER ZONE!!!"

Buffer what?

Please, it's not broken. Anyone with half a brain can read it properly. If you're in London and trying to catch a bus you're retarded if you confuse a bus stop sign on a pole with a Bus Stand sign which looks nothing like a bus stop. Ever. Stop complaining about changing it. Dumb Americans. The world is not all the USA, remember.

Posted by: Daniel C at July 8, 2006 08:02 AM

reminds me of in Chicago, America:

the bus will pick you up at the "bus stop" sign.

BUT if you are even 2 feet away from the sign the f***ing bus will pass you up!

EXCUSE ME A**HOLES! YOUR F***ING BUS IS MUCH LONGER THAN THAT TWO F***ING FEET !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Posted by: dumb american at July 8, 2006 12:49 PM

"Please, it's not broken. Anyone with half a brain can read it properly. If you're in London and trying to catch a bus you're retarded if you confuse a bus stop sign on a pole with a Bus Stand sign which looks nothing like a bus stop. Ever. Stop complaining about changing it. Dumb Americans. The world is not all the USA, remember."

Not everyone lives in London and would know how a bus stand differs in appearance from a bus stop. Stop complaining about people's inability to know each and every foreign colloquialisms. Dumb elitist Euro trash. The world is not all London, remember.

Posted by: BACON at July 11, 2006 05:28 PM

Or maybe a bus stop, where buses only LEAVE passengers....

Here in sweden, in "saltholmen" we have a sign telling that trams only leave passengers there.

Posted by: sebastian at October 22, 2006 04:20 PM

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