Public buses on both sides of the Channel
I have been traveling regularly to Paris since I moved to London 2.5 years ago. I rely almost exclusively on buses to move around London, much less in Paris where I often use ride sharing (Uber and Djump). I took the bus yesterday in Paris, and it reminded me how differently Parisians and Londoners behave in public transportation.
Free bus riders seem not the exception in Paris. Drivers do not have to check tickets and most of the time do not care about it at all. In London, drivers won’t move off if a passenger does not touch in. I have often seen ladies, out of respect for us waiting, get off the bus because they couldn’t find their Oyster card in their handbags… Never seen such a thing in Paris during my 5 years there.
On the bus, Londoners seem more respectful to each other. For instance, most leave their seats to elderly passengers and pregnant women or move away from buggy slots when needed. In Paris, I’ve seen passengers putting rubbish on buggies, get on the bus and claim the buggy space. I’ve seen pregnant women ask youngsters for a seat.
Not all Parisians are to blame, not all Londoners are exemplary. Each city has its own sense of public goods, and I’ve always thought that our behaviour in public transportation gives a feel of it. Maybe I’m just halfway to a good and fair view, so let’s see how it goes in my next 2.5 years in London.