Viva La Difference . . . No. 6

19 March 2009

I’m really enjoying these posts and have found it interesting that a lot of my commenters are comparing notes with each other.  New friendships are being formed on my blog.  That’s great.

A rather lovely change in Sydney from the sometimes surly passengers in London is that people thank the bus driver when they get off the bus.  Of course, until fairly recently, it was impossible to do that in London because the driver was in a separate compartment not accessible from the rest of the bus.  But with the new buses, we can do that now so next time I’m in London, I’ll make sure I thank the driver and see what sort of response I get.

In London, men and women who roam the streets looking for parking infringements and issuing tickets to offenders are called Traffic Wardens.  In Sydney, they’re Rangers.





  1. I tell my students to remember to thank anyone that ‘helps’ them, the bus driver, the checkout operator, the bank teller, the volunteer tutors. They are from a culture where it’s not necessary to thank people who are doing their job and so are often labelled as rude; they’re not, they just haven’t understood what we consider to be good manners.

  2. I think we’re quite good at thanking drivers when we have access to them. In Harrogate it’s commonplace and I found the same in Edibnburgh, which is a large city.

    Speaking of cars – in Tangiers there are lots of very old men who wear brown jelabyahs and have an armband with a council badge on. They’re called Gardiens des Voitures (car minders???), don’t seem to give out tickets or have any real function so I can’t guess what this obviously prestigious position involves. Perhaps they’re making sure your hubcaps don’t go missing?

  3. My mom was born in London, and when we would visit NYC from where we lived in Long Island, she would thank bus drivers. I don’t take the bus often, but I always thank the driver (if I leave from the front door). I don’t think I’m the only person who does it, but I’m likely in the minority. I also thank crossing guards (or police officers) if they assist in stopping traffic for me.

  4. I ddn’t know they were called traffic rangers – I’ve always called them “the parking police”.

  5. I do thank bus drivers in London if they re-open the doors to let me on or wait if they see me running for the bus.
    A few months ago I was going home to Willesden on the no 52, when it was turned back by police in Kensington as they were blocking the road because of a demo outside the Israeli embassy. At first I thought the bus was going to return to Victoria, but then one of the passengers started giving directions to the driver and we took an impromptu diversion all around Kensington and Shepherd’s Bush,including a U turn in the middle of a busy road, finally rejoining the route in Notting Hill. Definitely the most memorable journey I’ve ever had on a London bus. I certainly thanked the driver when I got off.

  6. I always ‘thank you’ and ‘goodbye’ the driver, most folk seem to. Don’t London buses have conductors any more? Must be a long time since I travelled on a London bus – yes, now I think about it, probably around ten years.

    England doesn’t begin and end with London, as I’m sure you know, and London is very full of ‘foreigners’ of all sorts. Maybe they bring their own culture?

  7. I know you’re a Londoner (and Yorkshire-woman) Sally, but I do agree this is normal in lots of the UK – it is in Birmingham and Nottingham, anyway (and I like it).

  8. “Rangers”, no,no,no, only in Official-speak. They used to be Brown Bombers, and then the uniform was changed and they became Grey Ghosts.

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