Signs in Hong Kong

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Stuck to the railing behind the driver of the mini bus I caught this morning was an A4 sheet with the following message printed on it:

[b]TELL YOUR DE
STINATION BEFORE
GETTING OFF BUS[/b]

I've never seen this sign before, but it mirrors my sentiments exactly.

For those not familiar with Hong Kong, regular buses stop at designated bus stops when a passenger rings the bell. Mini buses, however, only stop when passengers reqeust them to (you have to yell out to the driver to stop at the next bus stop, outside your apartment block, or wherever you want to get off). So telling the bus driver to stop before you get off is - I would have thought - pretty much [i]de rigueur[/i]. But then I remebered a scene my wife and I once witnessed.

We were waiting for a mini bus on Bonham Road (over near Hong Kong University). As one careened around the corner it started to decelerate rapidly, which is par for the course (rapid braking and acceleration enlivens the ride appreciably). But about 10 metres before it reached us - and where it eventually halted - the door opened and a young guy leapt out. The bus was still travelling at a fair speed, as evidenced by the youngster's rapid trajectory into the sidewalk (missing my then pregnant wife by only a foot or two). This was some time ago (our daughter is now 2 1/2), but I wonder if the bus company has finally decided that passangers should really let the driver know before they launch themselves back into the pedestrian sphere.

For readers concerned about the health of our intrepid alighter of buses, I can only inform you that he picked himself up off the pavement and sped off for his appointment as though such exits were a regular occurance on Hong Kong's public conveyances.

Re:Signs in Hong Kong

I haven't noticed this in particular, however, I have witnessed the door being opened before the bus actually coming to a halt.

I really enjoy the "rapid braking" and "rapid acceleration" - however, with some of the drivers, I cannot stand some of the clunky gear changes.

Re:Signs in Hong Kong

We've got friends who've lived in HK for years but never take the minibuses - I think out of embarassment of shouting to get off. It's a shame that they miss out on all sorts of funny goings ons, and also a really convenient way to get around. In any case, any loud noise from a gweilo and the driver usually stops just to be on the safe side.

The drivers all have their own styles too. Regular drivers on the route home include :
- Twitchy : It's painful to watch, as there are more nervous tics and mannerisms than you can count. Fortunately, the spasms that work through his body don't seem to make it out through the steering wheel.
- Sleepy : Only saw this guy once, but it was a nerve-wracking ride. He had one of those bug mirrors at the front of the bus, so you could see him clearly - and you'd swear he was driving asleep with his eyes closed. Maybe he was a kung-fu master being guided by his chi, but I was happy to get off that one alive.
- No clutch required : Kangaroos in the gas tank, and grinding those gears make you want to say "No, really, just sit in the back and I'll take it from here."
- Grumpy : This one has taken bearing a grudge to an art form. If someone cuts him up, or a passenger makes a mistake, you know you'll be listening to him mutter and curse his way through the rest of the route.
- Boy-racer : As he pulls up to let you onboard, you notice that the whole bus seems to be expanding and contracting to a rythm. All becomes clear as you climb on board and see a bass speaker taking up most of the front of the bus. You know this is going to be a quick ride home.

MrB