If you were on a bus or anywhere near social media this weekend, you might have noticed there’s been a bit of a tizzy over the latest addition to Transport for London’s canon of bus announcements. ‘Please hold on – the bus is about to move’: nine simple words that have enraged thousands of Londoners. Why? Because the ubiquitous new message often plays a good few seconds after the bus has started rolling.
Here’s what you had to say about it:
*two minutes after the bus has started to move*
‘please hold on this bus is about to move’
really helpful thanks xxx
– kirsty (@kirstyharragan) 15 January 2018
This ‘bus is about to move’ stuff when the bus is already moving is going to push me over the edge 😡
– Leila Morris (@leilajanem) 15 January 2018
Please please @TfLBusAlerts this ‘bus is about to move’ is doing my head in and it’s not even accurate. Only once on my E2 journey of 14 stops has it been accurate, it’s either ages before or after the bus is already moving.
– Katy Grove (@clockendkaty) 15 January 2018
Is it a new thing on all buses in London ‘this bus is about to move’ when the bus is moving already?
– vita (@vvvit) 15 January 2018
A few days in and TfL’s ‘Please hold on, this bus is about to move’ announcement already rivals ‘Unexpected item in the bagging area’.
– Mark Pullinger (@larkingrumple) 15 January 2018
What’s with these new bus announcements that say ‘Please hold on, this bus is about to move’ when it’s already fucked off at breakneck speed?
– Tom Hagues (@trhagues) 14 January 2018
‘Please hold on, this bus is about to move’ ... Nah what’s that?
– rasheeda (@Sheedamelesse) 13 January 2018
Since when did buses start saying ‘Hold on, this bus is about to move’? 😭😭😭 cba for this nonsense
– tanisha (@TanishaChloe_x) 15 January 2018
This ‘bus is about to move’ announcement is doing my head in: not only does it come on after the event but people get on a bus in the hope that it is about to move. Kinda the point. @TfL
– Lloyd Sampson (@LloydSampson) 15 January 2018
You get the picture. So what’s going on? Well, there’s a sensible idea in there somewhere. TfL wants to reduce the number of people injured when buses move off unexpectedly or suddenly. According to its own data, there were more than 4,000 injuries on board London buses in 2016. The ‘please hold on’ announcement is supposed to help cut that number in future years.
But with bus announcements, as with stand-up comedy, timing is everything. From what we’ve been able to gather, the ‘Please hold on…’ warning is triggered 20 seconds after the doors have opened at a bus stop. Twenty seconds is the average amount of time a London bus spends at a stop (aren’t you glad you asked?) – so in theory, the announcement should play when the bus is just about to pull away. However, when buses spend less than 20 seconds at a stop (as lots of them do), the announcement comes in late, the bus is already moving and everyone on board is rolling their eyes.
The good news is that this is a trial period and that TfL is listening to passenger feedback:
Safety is our number one priority. The PA announcement is a trial to improve customer safety on the bus network. Thank you for your comments.
– TfL Bus Alerts (@TfLBusAlerts) 13 January 2018
So the new announcements might be here to stay, they might end up timed differently or they might disappear altogether. For now, let’s celebrate the fact that even in a city as divided as ours, there’s something that brings us all together. Look, you can even buy a T-shirt!
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In response to the new audible warning on London Buses, and with a little prompting from @geofftech, I came up with a new T-shirt today! https://t.co/vgS1EbG5cU pic.twitter.com/0GdKFAs5BN
– dztzdesigns (@dztzdesigns) 14 January 2018